February 28, 2014
Comparison Test: Kia Cadenza vs M-B CLA 250. Click image to enlarge
Review by Steven Bochenek, photos by Jonathan Yarkony
Welcome to what is either: a) the first in a series of dazzlingly witty if meandering and ongoing arguments for either the practical or the answers-to-prayers, articulated by one driving enthusiast’s internal characters, Misters Head and Heart — in this first case they argue the merits of the Mercedes-Benz CLA 250, the choice of Mr. Heart, and Kia Cadenza, Mr. Head’s; both cars, not incidentally, were shortlisted as the Automobile Association of Canada’s (AJAC) 2014 Best Luxury Car under $50K … or b) cheap therapy for a disturbed personality. Okay boys, go!
Mr. Heart: Why be pragmatic when you can practically own this Mercedes-Benz coupe (so the brochure tells me…) for under $40K? Outside, the CLA 250 is so pretty and aerodynamically sleek, you just want to get inside. Then, from the moment you slip into leathery position, you’re transported. The driver-centric cockpit reminds us that motion and movement can be expressions of personal creativity, not just paths from A to B.
You in? Look down. That’s an actual ignition — imagine that — which you crank lustily, luring the CLA 250 roaring into the land of the living. Don’t buy that bill of goods manufacturers have flaunted regarding on/off buttons. Turning a key then revving are aphrodisiacs.
Mr. Head: Goodness, I may have to loosen my collar after that. Indeed, before our readers get too deep, I remind the rest of Mr. Heart’s and my body just how much trouble he got us all into in our youth.
Mr. Heart: Hold it, I got us into trouble? I seem to recall you were quite the head, yourself.
Mr. Head: Umm… I’m just saying that before jumping into anything rash (or risk getting one — such purple prose you drip) we should all review the important facts. If Mr. Pocket’s spending over $40,000 on anything, it had better be solid on several levels. It’s what we heads, young or old, do.
2014 Kia Cadenza Premium. Click image to enlarge
Fact: Under the stewardship of Peter Schreyer, whose vision has captured both hearts and heads around the world, Kia has been on a winning streak for years, forcing competitors to bring improved quality, increase feature content and drop prices. Witness the success of the Forte, Optima and, of course, Soul, AJAC’s 2014 Best New Family Car under $30K. Those same high standards apply to the Cadenza.
Fact: Not that looks matter but, from the outside, the Cadenza is a gorgeous, aggressively muscular sedan. Inside, however, all is eastern Zen, starting with an enveloping leather seat you quickly attain oneness with. The environment is bright and appealing, inviting you to lose yourself in its spa-like array of luxuries.