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Business

May 11, 2014

New Cadenza puts Kia on a higher road

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The auto is powered by a smooth and capable V6 engine, attached to a six-speed automatic transmission. In addition to advanced navigation, standard features even in the base-level Cadenza include an 8-inch touch screen, back-up camera, high-output, 12-speaker Infinity audio system, rain-sensing automatic wipers, leather upholstery, heated front seats and two-zone automatic climate control.

But for all Kia loads into the car, Cadenza’s cabin feels airy and uncluttered. You could even call its interior stately and sedate, despite all the aids and assistants it puts under your command.

A big advantage that a popular brand like Kia has over upper-crust luxury brands is that the luxury nameplates have to make the advanced technology inside their autos look obvious and extravagant. Car makers like Audi, BMW and Lexus charge so much for their vehicles that they must make their customers feel that they’re getting something more for all the extra dollars they spend. Therefore the driving aids and cabin comforts inside showy luxury cruisers appear so dense, so complicated and so over-engineered that they can become cumbersome, difficult to operate, even annoying. Cadenza avoids that by keeping its high tech accessible, understandable and inviting to operate. The slick, glitzy systems you find in striving luxury cars are still there, but in Cadenza they don’t overwhelm you.

A little less than a year into its launch of Cadenza, Kia is already out with another new-concept car. The 2015 Kia K900, just arriving now, is a bona fide rear-wheel drive luxury sedan priced around $60,000. It brings Kia to a higher level of the automotive atmosphere, just as Cadenza did at this time last year.

Can Kia sell a car in that class?

“We asked the same question about Cadenza, and it proved that it could,” Daher said.

Jeffrey Zygmont is an author of fiction and non-fiction books, and a long-time auto writer. Contact him at www.jeffreyzygmont.com.

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