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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Cadenza doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
Both the S60 and Cadenza have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 Polestar has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Cadenza’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The S60 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
The S60 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S60’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the S60 and the Cadenza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The S60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Cadenza’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).
Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Cadenza.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Cadenza’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
The S60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6. The S60 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 12 more horsepower (302 vs. 290) and 42 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6. The S60 Polestar’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 72 more horsepower (362 vs. 290) and 94 lbs.-ft. more torque (347 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.
On the EPA test cycle the S60 T5 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza (25 city/36 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the S60’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S60’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The S60 Polestar’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Cadenza doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the S60 Polestar’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cadenza:
The S60 Polestar’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Cadenza are solid, not vented.
The S60 stops shorter than the Cadenza:
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cadenza Premium’s standard 45 series tires. The S60 Polestar’s tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Cadenza Technology/Limited’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 Polestar has standard 20-inch wheels. The Cadenza’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the S60 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Cadenza doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The S60 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Cadenza’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The S60 is 1 foot, 1.2 inches shorter than the Cadenza, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces. The S60 Inscription is 10.1 inches shorter than the Cadenza.
A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S60 easier. The S60’s trunk lift-over height is 25.8 inches, while the Cadenza’s liftover is 28.8 inches.
The S60’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.
The S60 has a 3300 lbs. towing capacity. The Cadenza has no towing capacity.
The S60 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The S60’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Cadenza’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The S60’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Cadenza’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cadenza doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Cadenza doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the S60 has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Cadenza doesn’t offer cornering lights.
The S60 T6/Platinum/Polestar has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Cadenza has an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.
The S60 Inscription’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Cadenza doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Insurance will cost less for the S60 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S60 will cost $85 to $4532 less than the Cadenza over a five-year period.
The S60 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S60 will retain 37.82% to 42.82% of its original price after five years, while the Cadenza only retains 32.17% to 36.26%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the Cadenza because it costs $63 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the Cadenza, including $211 less for an alternator and $32 less for a power steering pump.
The S60 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2011. The Cadenza has never been an “All Star.”
The Volvo 60 Series outsold the Kia Cadenza by over two to one during 2017.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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