When looking for a sport sedan under $15,000, take a look at the Kia Cadenza and the Dodge Charger. Both offer a great combo of equipment and spaciousness.
We’ve already gone over some of the best sedans of 2021, but if you’re searching for a full-sized sedan that offers a mix of space and amenities, plus an affordable price under $15,000, a used Kia Cadenza or Dodge Charger are worth a look. Both of these sedans offer similar interior space, but have rather different personalities that appeal to different types of customers. For this comparison, we’ll focus on the 2014 model years for both which can be found for less than $15,000 on Carsforsale.com. Let’s take a look at both and see how they stack up.
In terms of size, the 2014 Dodge Charger is a little bit longer than the 2014 Kia Cadenza. The Charger has a wheelbase measuring 120.2 inches compared to the Cadenza’s 112.0 inches and the Dodge Charger is a little over 4 inches longer than the Cadenza overall. You might think that the Dodge Charger would offer the more spacious interior then, but the Cadenza has it beat with 122.7 cubic feet of overall compared to the Charger’s 120.1 cu-ft of interior space. The Cadenza also provides slightly better front leg room and head room than the Charger. Where the Charger’s larger size wins is trunk space with 16.5 cu-ft to the Cadenza’s 15.9 cu-ft. In terms of weight, the Cadenza undercuts the Charger by about 300 pounds.
A major difference between the two sedans comes under the hood. The used Kia Cadenza can be found with a single engine and transmission option, a 3.3 V6 that produces 293 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. The engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission and powers the front wheels. Fuel economy is rated at 19 mpg for the city, 28 mpg on the highway, with 22 mpg combined.
The used Dodge Charger, on the other hand, offers several engines. The most affordable engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that delivered 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The V6 fuel economy ratings come in at 18 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. So, if you stick with the V6 engines, the two cars are very similar in terms of power and efficiency. The Charger further differentiates itself from the Cadenza by sending the power to the rear wheels, rather than the front, through a five-speed automatic or eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Charger was even offered with all-wheel on some models, something not offered on the Cadenza. The 2014 Dodge Charger also can be found with two V8 engine options. The first is the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 which produced 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. If you want the true four-door muscle car experience, you could choose an even larger 6.4-liter HEMI that chucked out 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Although, you’re not likely to find those V8 options under our $15,000 budget. If you want to learn more about the various engines offered in the Charger, be sure to read our Through the Years on it.
The different personalities of the Dodge Charger and Kia Cadenza are obvious when you start driving. The Dodge Charger fashions itself as a modern four-door muscle car. The rear-wheel drivetrain configuration immediately gives the Charger a more performance orientated feel. You can feel the power going to the rear wheels and the sporty feeling handling that just can’t be matched by a front-wheel drive car.
If you live where the weather conditions can be tricky, the all-wheel drive equipped Chargers can help you find more traction to power through. If you really enjoy spirited driving, the Charger was also offered with high-performance suspension, including sporty shock absorbers, larger anti-roll bars for reduced lean in the corners, and 20-inch wheels wrapped in summer performance tires.
Of course, not everyone is looking to set their hair on fire while driving to the office. Instead, if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing, a used Kia Cadenza may be for you. As mentioned, it comes with a single powertrain option which still delivers solid performance when you need it. The front-wheel drive configuration allows for that larger interior, superior fuel economy, and is a trusty companion in tricky weather. When you’re commuting, the Cadenza offers a softer ride that is less taxing and more comfortable.
That brings us nicely to the comfort provided by each. A used Kia Cadenza certainly feels a bit more luxurious than a used Dodge Charger, thanks to its focus on comfort rather than sportiness. The Cadenza was offered with premium Nappa leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof to let in natural light and fresh air, and a heated steering wheel with audio control buttons keeps your hands toasty on chilly mornings.
The 2014 Kia Cadenza also has an infotainment system with Bluetooth, CD player, and satellite radio. There is ample seating for five people as the Cadenza provides a bit more interior space than the Charger. The Cadenza was even offered with an Advanced Smart Cruise Control system that would automatically slow the car down when approaching slower moving traffic, accelerate back to your set speed when the road opened up again, and could even set off again in certain stop and go traffic situations.
The 2014 Dodge Charger prioritizes a sporty experience more than the Cadenza, which is reflected in its slightly tighter, but still entirely hospitable, interior. A used Charger can still seat five comfortably, has sporty front bucket seats, comes available in leather, and the thick-rimmed leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great in your hands. The Charger has a powerful touchscreen entertainment system with the requisites like navigation, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. If you think that sounds good though, make sure to learn more about the latest Dodge Charger and its improvements since 2014.
The used Dodge Charger we’re looking at was offered in a variety of trims, starting with the SE and SXT which both came equipped with the V6 engine. The biggest difference between these two base level trims was that the SXT came with more interior tech and nicer materials. If you step up to the R/T models, the biggest difference is the presence of the 5.7-liter V8 under the hood. The top trim 2014 Charger model was the performance focused SRT8 which came with the big 6.4-liter HEMI, performance suspension, and a more extroverted exterior design.
The Cadenza, on the other hand, came in just two trim levels, the Premium and the more expensive Limited. Both came with the same powertrain, with the Limited trim getting things like the advanced smart cruise control, panoramic sunroof, and an available white interior package for a fancier look. Both the Charger and Cadenza offered similar infotainment systems with larger screens, available navigation, and Bluetooth connectivity for streaming your favorite music or podcasts.
It might be hard to choose between a used 2014 Dodge Charger or used 2014 Kia Cadenza. The decision really comes down to your preference and priorities. Both are handsome looking sedans offering spacious interiors that can comfortably seat five. The Kia Cadenza focuses on delivering a more luxurious experience with a smoother ride and unobtrusive, but entirely adequate, powertrain.
The dodge Charger prioritizes sportiness, offering a rowdier lineup of engines, and sportier suspension. So, when the time comes to choose between the two, do you want the more relaxing Cadenza or the thrill and performance of the Charger? Feel like you’re leaning more towards a used Dodge Charger? Make sure to read our new vs used comparison that looks at the newer model first!