The front-wheel-drive Cadenza is longer and wider than the Optima and essentially shares its platform with cousin Hyundai's Azera. As such, it packs a 3.3-liter V6 with 293 horsepower along with a six-speed automatic. Kia tweaked the steering and suspension to give it a more sporting personality than its relative. But this is still more a luxury cruiser than a sport sedan. And as we'd now expect from Kia, the Cadenza offers a wealth of standard and optional high-end features along with sharp styling that manages to make it stand apart from the crowd without looking strange.
Initially, Kia offered the Cadenza in just one well-equipped trim level but later in the model year it was joined by the even more luxurious Limited version. Unlike some other competitors, the 2014 Kia Cadenza doesn't offer other powertrain choices such as a fuel-sipping four-cylinder turbo or a hybrid. That said, we certainly have no complaint with its V6's smooth and spirited performance.
This segment has a handful of heavy hitters that are also worthy of your scouting report. The Chrysler 300 and Toyota Avalon similarly offer effortless performance, smooth rides and roomy, well-trimmed cabins. The former offers the option of muscular V8 power while the latter also comes as a hybrid. There's also the Buick LaCrosse and Volkswagen Passat that, like the others, offer various powertrain options, even a thrifty turbodiesel in the VW's case. Overall, though, we think Kia's new 2014 Cadenza is an excellent choice for a large sedan.