The 2014 Kia Cadenza definitely isn’t the hottest, most desirable car in our Four Seasons fleet, but it sure does feel like it right now. Within days of arriving, it had already racked up more miles than some new cars get in a month. And within a few weeks, we shipped the sedan off to New York to spend time with senior editor Joe Lorio and east coast bureau chief Jamie Kitman. Lorio had first go in the 2014 Kia Cadenza, which arrived just in time for a long weekend trip to the Catskills.
“We had four passengers, a very full trunk, and three bikes hanging off the back,” said Lorio. “It’s the kind of trip for which people often want an SUV, but the big sedan worked fine.” He noted the spacious trunk and the roomy rear bench with a nearly flat floor. “Because of that, we easily could have brought along a fifth person—had we not filled that space with still more stuff.”
The praise continued once he got the 2014 Kia Cadenza out on the road. “Bump absorption is good and the ride is fairly controlled. The easy but not overboosted steering is more pleasant than overcomplicated systems that wildly vary effort or quickness, and the wood-topped steering wheel feels good.”
One downside he noted was that a full load of passengers exposed a porpoising body motion not present with only a driver on board. He also found the 293-hp V-6 engine, the only engine available in the Cadenza, to be not particularly impressive. “It doesn’t sparkle in its acceleration or in its sound quality—the latter, at least, is well muted most of the time.”
After spending more time with the Kia closer to home, he summed up the big sedan thusly: “The Cadenza is an entirely pleasant, if understated, machine. It’s also the latest evidence that the Lexus paradigm has been cracked. Creating a velvety, quiet, and cosseting sedan apparently is no longer that difficult. Kia has pulled it off here.”
The Cadenza next was delivered into the care of Jamie Kitman, who, in true Kitman fashion, immediately started reminiscing about the olden days. “The Cadenza is perfectly acceptable in the kind of modern Buick way that we of a certain age can't help but notice. I remember driving the new Daewoos of the late ‘90s thinking this can't be good for Pontiac or Buick; that these are the kind of cars they should be building. The creamy smooth Cadenza is another fairly large Korean sedan that reminds us of Buicks at their discount luxury fluffiest. It has that ‘American feeling’ down.”
In preparation for its return trip to Ann Arbor, the 2014 Kia Cadenza went back to Lorio, who added one final thought: “The Super Kia, as we’ve dubbed it, will soon be heading back to Ann Arbor, and I must say I will miss it,” he said. “I’ve been thinking that the Cadenza reminds me of the Bob Benson character on Mad Men. It shows up unannounced and uninvited, but it’s so unfailingly pleasant that you start to forget that it’s an interloper.”
Will the Cadenza similarly ingratiate itself with the staff back in Michigan? Tune in next month.