2015 KIA K 900

Kia K900
It's n honest-to-goodness luxury car-from Kia.
The all-new Kia K900 challenges common notions of luxury and elegance. Its graceful silhouette and commanding proportions exude prestige, while an available 5.0-litre V8 engine places 420 horsepower at your beck and call. Inside, you'll enjoy opulent accommodations and advanced driving technology that distinguish the K900 as a serious entry in the world of premium, full-size automobiles.


2015 KIA K900 REVIEW

 An up-and-coming brand introduces a larger and more luxurious model, and prices it somewhat below the traditional competitors. The goal is acquire buyers on the basis of good value for less money. 

 As the K900 arrives today, it's a good first effort that falls somewhere between a premium model and genuine luxury. Kia executives called it "a stake in the ground" during the first media drive. It's the first truly high-end effort from Kia after some success with the Optima Limited mid-size sedan, and more recently the Cadenza and Cadenza Limited, which are somewhat larger.



2015 KIA K900 REVIEW

 Must a full-size luxury sedan wear a familiar luxury badge to be successful in the market? Kia intends to find out with the new 2015 K900, a big, rear-drive luxury car that's offered with a choice between a V-6 and a V-8 engine, and which offers numerous convenience, comfort, and technology features that are often reserved for models from BMW, Lexus, or Mercedes-Benz.

 "Kia's rise over the last five years has been fueled by a willingness to challenge the status quo," said Michael Sprague, executive vice president, marketing & communications, Kia Motors America. "The K900 is the next logical progression for Kia. It demonstrates what Kia is capable of and will help redefine what the Kia brand stands for."

 When the car goes on sale during the first quarter of 2014, it will offer a standard 3.8-liter V-6 engine making 311 horsepower and 293 lb.-ft. of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission with Eco, Normal, Sport, and Snow driving modes delivers the power to the K900 V6 model's rear wheels. The K900 V8 is equipped with that same transmission and drivetrain layout, but the engine is a 5.0-liter V-8 making 420 horsepower and 376 lb.-ft. torque.


2015 KIA K900 REVIEW

 Each model is equipped with a long list of standard features. Selected highlights include genuine wood trim, leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a power rear window sunshade, power-closing trunk lid, and front and rear park-assist sensors and cameras. A Driver Information System (DIS) with a center control knob and primary function buttons is designed to make it easier for the driver to use the standard 9.2-inch color touch-screen infotainment system, which includes navigation, UVO (Your Voice) eServices technology, and a 17-speaker premium audio system with HD Radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth music streaming capability, and more.

 Choose the K900 V8 model and the car adds a heated wood-and-leather steering wheel, extra wood trim for the cabin, a panoramic glass roof, adaptive LED headlights, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot detection, and a lane-departure warning system. This model also rides on larger 19-inch staggered-width wheels finished in chrome.

 A Luxury package adds many of the K900 V8 model's standard features, plus premium leather seats. A Technology package installs 16-way power front seats, soft-close door latches, head-up display, and the K900 V8 model's safety technologies. An Advanced Smart Cruise Control system can bring the car to a complete stop and then accelerate when it is safe without the driver having to touch the brake pedal or accelerator, and an Advanced Vehicle Safety Management system with Pre-Safe Belt, pre-charged braking, and 3-stage collision warning features is included in this package.

 The VIP package is reserved for the K900 V8. It adds elements of the K900 V6 model's Technology package plus reclining outboard rear seats with adjustable head restraints and power lumbar support, ventilated rear seats, a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, and an Around_View Monitor System.


2015 KIA K900 REVIEW

Interior / Exterior

 The K900 is a long car, with the classic proportions of a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan, including a long hood, a shorter and high trunk, and short overhangs. It rides on large 19-inch chrome multi-spoke wheels and tires. Like most new sedans, both the windshield and the rear window are steeply raked. At the front, Kia's signature chrome-ringed grille is low and almost upright above a band of air inlets in the bottom of the front fascia, with a pair of quad-LED headlight arrays swept back under a clear lens in each fender on the V-8 model-perhaps its nicest single detail. A strong shoulder line at the rear leads into a slightly upswept lip on the trunk lid, with wraparound LED lights below it and a pair of chrome-outlined exhaust ports in the lower bodywork.

 From many angles, the K900's styling produces echoes of other vehicles: the front is something like that of a Tesla Model S, which has an oval grille and swept-back lights, and the rear carries distinct echoes of the most recent Lexus sedans. Save one crisp accent line on the flanks, the forms are largely soft and rounded, especially at the front end-as opposed to the mix of rounded and crisply lined design found on the latest German models. It all works fine, but absent the distinctive grille, you might be hard-pressed to identify what brand produced the K900. The K900's one truly dissonant exterior note is a chrome-trimmed "vent" on each front fender between the front wheelwell and door. Not only does it have no function, it's shallow enough to be visibly fake.

 Inside, the Kia K900's cockpit is comfortable and stylish, largely fitted with soft-touch materials and luxury surfaces like wood and matte silver metal. There's quite a lot of glossy piano black plastic in the dashboard, a material we fear is quickly become a cliché. On the high-end V-8 model of the K900, the seats and certainly other surfaces are covered Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping (it's optional on the V-6 model). High-gloss walnut or poplar wood trim are matched to the two colors, respectively. The usual luxury touches-a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control-are all present, as is a console-mounted knob to navigate through the menu options on the large central touchscreen display.



2015 KIA K900 REVIEW


 At its first drive event for the K900, Kia offered only the top-of-the-line VIP model, featuring a 420-horsepower direct-injected V-8 engine-Kia's first-that produces 376 lb-ft of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that drives the rear wheels. This is a similar powertrain to that of the Hyundai Genesis and Equus models, and it provides suitable power to move this relatively heavy car expeditiously.

 A second powertrain, consisting of a 311-hp V-6 engine with the same transmission, will follow shortly after the launch of the V-8 versions. We have not been able to drive that model. We'd also note that all-wheel drive, an option on both medium and large luxury sedans from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz, is not offered at all in the Kia K900.

 The driver can select among Normal, Sport, and Eco drive-mode settings, which remap the transmission's shift points and also change the feel of the electric power steering. The sport setting made the powertrain slightly more responsive, without notably changing the K900's road feel, and the Eco mode downgraded the performance without the wet-blanket effect such settings often induce on smaller cars. In the end, we left the K900 in Normal mode for the bulk of our test drive-as we suspect all but a handful of likely buyers will do.



2015 KIA K900 REVIEW

Comfort and Quality

 The 2015 Kia K900 is easy to enter and exit, with the 16-way power adjustment on the driver's seat of the VIP model offering comfortable positions for two quite differently shaped adults during our day-long test drive. (Standard models have 12-way driver's seat adjustment.) The cabin is fairly bright, with a full-length tinted glass sunroof standard on V-8 models.

 The driver and front passenger accommodations are adequate but not expansive: A tall front-seat passenger found that even with the front seat moved as far back as it could go, the glove-box lid hit his knees when opened. The saving grace is that the Kia K900 provides a lot of space and a very comfortable rear seat for passengers riding in the back. The V-8 VIP model we tested included rear-seat climate control, adjustable heated individual seats with lower cushions that slides forward as the seat backs recline, and adjustable winged headrests. The VIP model also includes the ability to reposition the front passenger seat from a control console built into the wide fold-down armrest.

 From the driver's seat, the dashboard is logically laid out, and we're particularly fond of Kia's crisp, clear digital graphics, which are among the easiest to discern of any car we've tested. Kia also gets credit for providing large rotating knobs for things like audio volume to supplement both steering-wheel controls and the touchscreen/pointer-control knob combination. The Nappa leather feels good, and wood is used on top-end models both on the console and parts of the steering-wheel rim-though not on the dashboard itself.

 The K900 is quiet and comfortable on most road surfaces, courtesy of any number of noise-reduction measures that include underbody trays to reduce air noise (and improve aerodynamics) and laminated front and side windows. Again, it falls in the middle of the segment. It has neither the removed feel of the cushiest luxury sedans nor the sports-car handling of the best German models. It's a comfortable car that toes the line without a hint of passion either for extravagant luxury or high-performance travel. And in that, perhaps it mirrors the taste of many middle-aged Americans who want comfort and quiet along with predictability.



2015 KIA K900 REVIEW


 Not all the details are available just yet on standard and optional features found in the various models of the 2015 Kia K900. At the initial media drive event, Kia had only the highest-spec version, the V-8-engineed VIP model, and the company said it would provide more complete details closer to the time the various models arrive at dealers-with the V-8 models coming first by the end of March 2014.

 But the lineup appears to include a base model with a 311-horsepower V-6 engine, a V-6 Premium trim level above it, and then the 420-hp V-8 model, with a V-8 VIP Package as the very top model in the range-and the only one to be priced so far, with an MSRP of $65,500. There's also a V-6 Technology Package that includes some of the higher-trim features as well.

 All models have a mix of luxury and technology standard features. The technology ranges from LED headlights with 4 LEDs per beam on each side to powered and heated rear-view mirrors with automatic dimming and the indicators for the car's blind-spot monitors. One nice feature is a credit-card-size proximity key that can be kept in a wallet, considerably smaller than the usual bulky fob with multiple buttons on it.

 All models have standard privacy shades on the door, rear-side, and rear windows, and a power trunklid. In the rear compartment-one of the K900's strengths-the outboard seating positions have multi-stage heating built in, along with controls for rear-compartment ventilation and for the position of the front passenger's seat.

 The V-6 Premium and standard V-8 model shave a 12-way power adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support; the V-6 Premium and both V-8 models feature a lane-departure warning system. Adaptive cruise control is offered within the V-6 Technology Package, and as part of the V-8 VIP Package. All V-8 models have a full-length panoramic glass roof with a power retractable sunshade.

 The top-of-the-line VIP Package, fitted to the V-8 cars offered for media testing during the launch drive, includes a driver's seat with 16-way power adjustment, a power adjustable headrest, and a lower cushion extender (it will also be part of the V-6 Technology Package). In the rear, individually reclining seats with multi-stage heating and cooling include power lumbar supports and adjustable headrests. In the dash, a 12.3-inch thin-film touchscreen monitor replaces the standard 9.8-inch display fitted to standard K900 models.