Long-Term Review

2014 Kia Cadenza: Road Trip Ride and Handling

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Brian Moody February 2015

Lots of little things go into making a car great or terrible, but none of them really matter if the car is no fun to drive or if it's uncomfortable from behind the wheel. To test the Kia Cadenza's worth, we decided to take the car on a few short road trips.

Road Trip!

From AutoTrader's home base in Atlanta, we ventured north and discovered some of the best roads on this side of the Rockies. Unlike cities such as Los Angeles, New York and Miami, Atlanta is the kind of place where you can travel from the heart of urban life to a rural country road in about 20 minutes.

As we headed away from the city, we left the main highway and opted for medium-sized roads through North Georgia towns including Milton, Free Home, Dawsonville and eventually, Helen.

These roads aren't 70-mile-per-hour freeways, but rather 35 to 55 mph side roads; some are straight, some have lazy turns and a few have very tight turns.

Juuust Right

At the end of all these little day trips we came to one conclusion about the Kia Cadenza: The car feels right in almost every driving situation. The Cadenza's 293-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine is smooth and plentiful. If you stomp hard on the gas pedal, there's a bit of a harsh sound, but the power is delivered so efficiently and the transmission adapts so well that you rarely need to punch the gas pedal to the floor.

The Cadenza doesn't feel like the kind of car where you'd want to punch it at all. Don't get me wrong, the car will go, it's just that it feels more comfortable cruising. I like that there's plenty of power and that the car feels like acceleration is coming from a place of abundance, not that the engine is tapped out whenever you want to pass a huge truck or have fun on an on-ramp.

Handling is decent, too. Again, it's not a sport sedan, but rather a nice blending of comfort and sport with an obvious bias toward comfort.

Cold-Beating Features

No one thinks of Georgia as a cold place, but temperatures can easily dip below freezing in the winter, and the occasional snow storm isn't unheard of. With temps in the high 20s, I fired up the heated steering wheel, a nice feature on any car. It stays on even when you turn the car off and then get back in later and start it up. But what's odd is that the heated seats don't do that. Our managing editor (and avid user of seat warmers) was the first to point out that during a long, cold day of running errands, having to turn the seat warmers on each time you turn the car back on is kind of a pain.

Nevertheless, the Cadenza gets the interior just right. It's a pleasant place to spend time, being both comfortable and constructed from high-quality materials. We're big fans of the large touchscreen, too, which is about as good as Chrysler's excellent Uconnect system.

Getting It Right

These series of road trips taught me that Kia's near-luxury Cadenza gets most everything right. Every year, we put our collective bottoms in a lot of cars. While most are good, there are those few that give us that "this is it" feeling, where you get the car and the car seems to get you. The Acura RLX, Infiniti Q50, Chrysler 200 and Nissan Murano are a few of those. Now, I'm adding the Cadenza to my list of cars that give me the feeling that my search is over.

Next time, we'll get into the Cadenza's real-world highway fuel economy.

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Kia Cadenza Premium
Used 2014 Kia Cadenza
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Used 2014 Kia Cadenza Limited
Used 2014 Kia Cadenza
$15,999
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Used 2014 Kia Cadenza Limited
Used 2014 Kia Cadenza
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Kia Cadenza: Road Trip Ride and Handling - Autotrader