If Kia makes you think of hamsters from past Super Bowl ads, there’s another side of the brand that screams luxury and is well represented in the Kia Cadenza. Last summer I had the opportunity to attend a posh DC dinner event at a gorgeous restaurant featuring fancy food and rides around the block in the Cadenza.
Enveloped in premium details like buttery soft leather, chrome and wood detailing, an incredible sound system, and expansive glass thanks to a moon roof and large windows, my ride was over too soon. It was an event that left me wanting to fully experience the car that could only come with more time- time that came months later during our family’s recent trip to Los Angeles.
What We Liked
In one word- luxury. Having the opportunity to drive a lot of cars has allowed me to realize the difference between supposed and true luxury and to be honest, there is a huge difference. One of the first noticeable luxury features is the quality of the leather that is used in the Cadenza’s interior. Premium Napa leather that is soft to the touch is what you’d want in a fine handbag that you’d expect to age gracefully. Rich details such as the chrome and wood detailing is classy yet not over the top. Music aficionados will appreciate the rich sound and lack of sound distortion that comes from the Infinity sound system.
Luxury also means comfort and in the Cadenza, this translates to spacious and ergonomic seating in the front and back that provided just the right amount of support without being stiff. Heated front seats and the ventilated and adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support provided a comfortable ride, especially when in the car longer than expected because of LA traffic.
Many luxury vehicles are more about the fancy interior stylings rather than the practicality of the trunk space. As a parent, I don’t believe you should have to compromise for one over the other and neither does Kia. Spending just over a week in the Los Angeles for spring break meant plenty of luggage plus gifts from attending the Disney Social Media Moms Conference. We packed 2 large duffel bags, a suitcase, and backpacks in the trunk of our Kia before heading to the airport which means the Kia not only is a comfortable and luxurious ride but the trunk capacity makes it well suited for a variety of different adventures. We also found that there was ample room between each of the back seats to put carry on bags between the kids.
Other features we liked included:
- Panoramic roof with power sunshade provides an additional sense of spaciousness in an already roomy car
- Tilting and telescopic steering column to customize the placement of the steering wheel for each driver
- Heated front seats and even a ventilated seat on the driver’s side for schizophrenic weather or climates where the day starts out cool and ends up hot
- Thoughtful touches like the analog clock face in the center console with chrome accents
The Cadenza that I received featured a technology package that included advanced smart cruise control (ASCC), blind spot detection system (BSD), lane departure warning system (LDWS), and things that didn’t seem truly related to technology like hydrophobic front door windows and 19” alloy wheels. Perhaps the tech package needs to be renamed the safety package because the technological features that a consumer would pay extra for are designed to keep riders safe.
Nevertheless, the safety features that come as part of the technology package are a wise investment. They helped us feel more confident when driving on busy highways in unfamiliar places as we went to Disneyland, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, the beach, Six Flags, and to Long Beach for whale watching. Having the peace of mind that the Cadenza would alert us when another car was in our blind spot or that we were drifting out of our lane was helpful whether traversing the 405 or city streets.
Music geeks will love knowing that there are 12 speakers placed 12 throughout the Cadenza for true surround sound that delivers 555 watts through Infinity Metal Matrix Diaphragms (MMD, a layered composite of very thin ceramic on a lightweight metal base, specifically designed to issue bright, clear high notes and bold, natural low notes with greater accuracy that stays true to the original recording.
Other smart vehicle technology includes:
- A beautiful, bright, and clear 7” LCD display that serves as the vehicle’s command center. Kia likes to call it the Supervision Cluster!
- Push button start with Smart Key proximity control
- Bluetooth pairing with your mobile phone
- Touch screen navigation with a large 8” display
- Option for Sirius XM
Besides the black interior showing every grain of sand that hitchhiked off the beach and on to the floor the Cadenza, the kids had absolutely no complaints about the car. They loved the wide armrest with built in cupholders, found the ride to be incredibly smooth (because they’re quick to tell me if it’s bumpy!), and had plenty of room for their backpacks at their feet without feeling squeezed.
Unfortunately Oliver did not join us on our trip to Los Angeles so he wasn’t able to experience the Cadenza or leave yellow dog hair on the black interior. He probably would have enjoyed sitting on the laps of the kids to stick his head out the window.
I tested the 2014 Kia Cadenza with a metallic bronze exterior and black leather interior with the luxury and technology packages. The MSRP of this vehicle is $41,900.
Kia provided me with the 2014 Kia Cadenza and a full tank of gas to facilitate this review. No additional compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own.