2020 Audi A4 vs. 2020 Kia Cadenza

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

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.

Both the A4 and Cadenza have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The A4 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 A4 has a standard Audi Backguard System, which use 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 a standard Secondary Collision Brake Assist, which automatically applies 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.

Compared to metal, the A4’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Kia Cadenza has a metal gas tank.

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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, collision warning systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the A4 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 202 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cadenza has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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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 23 points higher than the Cadenza.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Audi vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Audi 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The A4 45 TFSI’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder 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

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On the EPA test cycle the A4 40 TFSI FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the Cadenza (27 city/35 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

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

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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’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

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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

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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 Limited’s 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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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

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The A4 is 10.6 inches shorter than the Cadenza, making the A4 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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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 29.6 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.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the A4 offers cargo security. The Cadenza’s non-lockable remote release defeats cargo security.

Towing

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The A4 has a 3968 lbs. towing capacity. The Cadenza has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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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 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 32% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The A4 Prestige has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cadenza doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 standard 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 or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cadenza can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Prestige 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.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the A4 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Cadenza doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The A4’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to 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 A4 Prestige’s Park Steering Assist 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.

Economic Advantages

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The A4 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the A4 will retain 37.24% to 38.04% of its original price after five years, while the Cadenza only retains 30.95% to 34.32%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the A4 is less expensive to operate than the Cadenza because typical repairs cost less on the A4 than the Cadenza, including $188 less for a muffler.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Audi A4 and the Kia Cadenza, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Audi A4/S4 outsold the Kia Cadenza by over 16 to one during 2019.

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

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