Full 2015 Kia K900 Review
What's New for 2015
The 2015 Kia K900 is an all-new full-size luxury sedan.
Exclusivity is historically a big part of the full-size luxury sedan ownership experience. The steep prices for elite European luxury sedans exclude a wide swath of shoppers and ensure that these cars remain an indulgence for a select few. With the introduction of the comparatively affordable 2015 Kia K900, though, exclusivity is put to the test.
The K900 certainly has the means to join the executive sedan ranks. It's Kia's largest sedan to date, and it's about the same size nose to tail as those established large luxury sedans. The interior and trunk are correspondingly palatial. For power, there's a 420-horsepower V8 as standard equipment initially, while a more fuel-efficient V6 will become available later on. Features? Oh, so glad you asked. The K900 comes with so much kit that it could have its own booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Value, however, is where Kia steps on the gas and puts everybody else in the rearview mirror. Even fully loaded, the K900 typically undercuts those Euro sedans' base prices by tens of thousands of dollars. Those savings, along with Kia's generous warranty coverage and three years of free scheduled maintenance, make the K900 a model of fiscal responsibility. As Kia accurately says in its tagline for this car: "Challenge the luxury you know."
When you take a deeper look, though, you'll likely notice some minor sacrifices made in the name of affordability. The Kia K900 lacks a perfectly resolved feel on the inside, though, to be fair, these demerits are generally limited to nitpicky details. The switchgear is of merely average quality, and the infotainment interface is a little unintuitive and complicated to use compared to the slicker interfaces in more expensive sedans. Further, the K900's ride quality, while generally agreeable, falls just short of the standards set by other premium sedans.
However, the Kia K900 is simply too good of a bargain to ignore, and it's certainly worth considering alongside established large luxury sedans like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Lexus LS 460. Compared with the similarly priced and mechanically related Hyundai Equus, the K900 doesn't offer a smooth-riding air suspension option, but otherwise, they're effectively equals. As with the Hyundai, though, the biggest issue for some people will just be the Kia badge. But if you can see past the non-premium label, the 2015 Kia K900 is an impressive premium sedan with a far more inclusive price of admission.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Kia K900 is a large, five-passenger luxury sedan offered in V6 (late availability) and V8 trim levels.
Standard features for the K900 V6 include 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a power trunk lid, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors and keyless ignition and entry.
On the inside, you get full power accessories, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with driver four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a ski pass-through opening in the rear seats, a power rear sunshade, Kia's Uvo voice command system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 9.2-inch display screen, a navigation system, front and rearview cameras and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system with a CD player, an iPod/USB interface and satellite and HD radio.
Besides an eight-cylinder engine upgrade, Kia K900 V8 models add 19-inch wheels, LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert system, a lane departure warning system, a heated steering wheel, a different gear selector design, a credit card-sized smart key and upgraded leather upholstery. Some of these items are available as options on the V6 trim.
Adding the VIP package to the V8 model will net you soft-closing doors, a 12-way power-adjustable driver seat, power front headrest adjustments, ventilated and reclining outboard rear seats with lumbar support, a virtual instrument panel, a driver head-up display, a 360-degree top-down parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system and additional pre-collision safety features.
Powertrains and Performance
Initially, the 2015 Kia K900 will only be available with a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 420 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg combined (15 city/23 highway), which trails other V8-powered luxury sedans in this class.
Later in its inaugural year, the K900 will also be offered with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that makes 311 hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel economy estimates for this engine are 21 mpg combined (18 city/27 highway).
Standard safety features for the 2015 Kia K900 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rearview cameras, and Uvo eServices that includes emergency assistance and teen-oriented monitoring features such as curfew, speed and geo-fencing. The V8-powered K900 models also have a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and a lane departure warning system. These features are optional on V6 models.
Opting for the VIP package adds a 360-degree top-down camera system and a frontal collision warning system that tightens the seatbelts and primes the brakes for maximum stopping power if a collision is imminent.
Interior Design and Special Features
On the whole, the 2015 Kia K900 comes tantalizingly close to matching the quality and heft of the German luxury sedans it has in its sights. The interior design is pleasingly up to date with a large 9.2-inch multifunction display mounted in the middle of the dash and cues lifted directly from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Opting for the VIP package provides even more comforts, including soft-close doors and reclining rear seats.
Upon closer inspection, though, the K900 comes up a little short compared with established luxury sedans. Even though the Kia's wood interior trim is genuine, its heavily lacquered and glittered finish gives it the look and feel of plastic. And while the infotainment controller is similar to BMW's iDrive interface, its complicated and unintuitive menus can be a source of frustration. The numerous buttons scattered throughout the cabin also feel a bit less substantial than we'd expect. Notably absent from the options list are amenities like a rear entertainment system, redundant audio controls for backseat passengers and seatback trays.
Getting past these missteps is easy, however, when you consider the K900's long list of standard equipment and its comfortable accommodations. Spending an entire day touring the highways and byways is easy and fatigue-free for four full-size adults thanks to well-shaped seats that are heated and ventilated. Helping to click off the miles is the powerful Lexicon sound system that offers impressive performance, regardless of your taste in music.
Cargo capacity for the K900 maxes out at 15.9 cubic feet, which is about average for the class.
In spite of the V8 engine's impressive power output, stepping on the gas in the 2015 Kia K900 doesn't deliver the rush that you might expect in an elite luxury sedan. Instead, speed gathers quietly and effortlessly, and before you know it you're already matching other cars on the interstate. Passing slower traffic requires a more aggressive stab at the pedal to prompt the transmission to drop down a few gears, though. At cruising speed, the cabin is nearly devoid of road noise, though a faint whistling of wind noise is detectable by the mirrors.
The ride quality is comfortable, and most bumps and ruts are absorbed with ease. On choppy pavement, however, the ride is on the busy side compared to other large luxury sedans. Unlike with most other full-size luxury sedans, there's no option to order an adaptive suspension to smooth out the ride.
Around turns, the 2015 Kia K900 feels heavy and out of its element. Thankfully, the big sedan remains composed on all but the twistiest mountain roads, and its brakes are up to the task of slowing the car in a hurry. If you're used to driving sedans with BMW or Mercedes badges, though, the Kia K900's so-so handling might not pass muster.