2019 Audi A4 vs. 2019 Kia Cadenza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Audi A4 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.

The A4’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cadenza doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System that uses a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Audi Backguard System moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The A4 has standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The A4 45 TFSI has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Cadenza doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the A4 and the Cadenza have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The A4’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Cadenza’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

The Audi A4’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Cadenza’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the A4’s reliability 44 points higher than the Cadenza.

Engine

The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 253) than the Cadenza’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the A4 45 TFSI is faster than the Kia Cadenza:

 

A4

Cadenza

Zero to 60 MPH

5 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.7 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.4 MPH

95.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the A4 gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza:

 

 

A4

Cadenza

 

FWD

40 TFSI/Auto

27 city/34 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

V6/Auto

AWD

45 TFSI/Auto

23 city/34 hwy

n/a

 

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the A4’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.

Transmission

The A4 offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Cadenza doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The A4 Auto’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.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the A4 Quattro’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Cadenza:

 

A4 Quattro

Cadenza

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.8 inches

The A4’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 A4 stops much shorter than the Cadenza:

 

A4

Cadenza

 

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

120 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The A4’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Cadenza Technology/Limited’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The A4 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 A4 Premium Plus Quattro handles at .92 G’s, while the Cadenza Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The A4 Premium Plus Quattro executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the Cadenza Limited (25.3 seconds @ .74 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

The A4 is 9.6 inches shorter than the Cadenza, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the A4 easier. The A4’s trunk lift-over height is 26.9 inches, while the Cadenza’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

The A4’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cadenza doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the A4 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Cadenza. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Audi service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Audi third in service department satisfaction. With a 45% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

The A4’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.

If the windows are left open on the A4 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. The driver of the Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The A4’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Cadenza’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the A4 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 A4 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Cadenza doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the A4 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Cadenza doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The A4 offers optional 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Cadenza because typical repairs cost much less on the A4 than the Cadenza, including $219 less for a muffler.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Audi A4 as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Kia Cadenza isn't recommended.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Kia Cadenza by almost six to one during the 2018 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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