The Cadenza, introduced in the U.S. by KIA in January of this year, is a full-size, front-wheel drive luxury sedan produced in Hwasung, South Korea. Hyundai Motors owns KIA, and produces a version of the Cadenza named the Azera. The Cadenza is KIA’s flagship automobile and is the sedan one model larger than the venerable Optima.
I just finished testing a Cadenza provided by Tom Cooney of STI Drive in Denver. It was painted Smokey Blue metallic and inside it featured the white leather package. Cadenza’s with white leather interiors also have the technology package ($3,000) and luxury package ($3,000), bringing total M.S.R.P. with freight to $41,900. Such a loaded sedan was equipped, as you might expect, with smart cruise control, lane departure warning system, blind spot monitor, hydrophobic front window glass, 19” fancy alloy wheels, dual panoramic moon roof, adaptive headlamps (the best I have tested), and four heated seats. Also on hand was power tilt/telescope steering column, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, memory power seats, power folding outside mirrors with heat elements, Infinity 12 speaker, 550-watt stereo with satellite radio, ventilated driver bucket, rear window power sunshade, and Nappa (full-grain/dyed) leather trim. The navigation system was voice-activated, had an 8” screen, and Bluetooth/USB connectivity was included.
Performance of the Cadenza was good, with power supplied by an all-aluminum 3.3 liter (293hp/255lb.-ft.) V-6 coupled with an electronically-controlled six speed automatic transmission with sport mode. Acceleration is reportedly zero to 60 in 6.2 seconds and top speed is in excess of 150 mph. EPA fuel mileage ratings are 19 city and 28 highway, not too bad for such a fast car. The tank holds 18.5 gallons of gasoline.
Looking at the Smokey blue Cadenza is easy on the eyes, with bold chrome- trimmed lower doors and handles, “tiger-nose” chrome grill, dual chrome exhaust finishers, and a body designed by Peter Schreyer. Schreyer is the German individual that left Audi and now designs cars and trucks for KIA and Hyundai. He’s pretty good at it, too. The 19” alloys were quite attractive and were fitted with P245/40R19 94V Hankook Optimo H426 all-season radial tires.
My driving impression of the Cadenza was fine, with nice ride, minimum wind noise, good visibility, and steady guidance. Interior space is 106.8 cubic feet, which allowed four of us to drive to Loveland in the Cadenza in complete comfort. The weather in Northern Colorado included sub-freezing temperatures on this night, and I pointed out the seat heat switches to all in attendance. The Cadenza trunk holds 15.9 cubic feet of cargo.
KIA is dipping a toe in the water relative to the luxury car market with this Cadenza. Prospective shoppers for such a vehicle would do themselves a favor by including an inspection and test drive of this sedan.