Anyone who doubts that a Korean automaker can produce a model that competes with the established European and Japanese luxury brands needs to spend some quality time with the Kia K900. This full-size sedan manages to deliver most of what luxury sedan shoppers would expect from a top-shelf model, from elegant styling to a plush ride quality. Then there's the first-class passenger cabin filled with a long list of desirable standard features, while options include ultra-high-end items usually reserved for the priciest flagship luxury cars. Essentially, the K900 offers full-size luxury car space and features at the price of a midsize luxury sedan.
Are there shortcomings? Of course. Kia quite simply can't match those established luxury brands in terms of prestige, or more importantly, the sort of interior and mechanical refinement honed over the course of decades. Nevertheless, even if it doesn't quite measure up to much pricier competitors, the Kia K900 is indeed a true luxury sedan that, given fair consideration, has what it takes to cause a good many doubters to reconsider.
Current Kia K900
Introduced for 2015, the Kia K900 is a full-size luxury sedan based on the same underpinnings as the Hyundai Equus. There are two available trim levels, largely differentiated by what's under the hood.
Shoppers have a choice between a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.0-liter V8 that puts out 420 hp and 376 lb-ft. Both engines send power to the rear wheels by way of an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Like any good high-end sedan, the K900's spacious passenger cabin offers comfortable accommodations and a hushed atmosphere. The quality of the materials in general is hard to fault, but when compared to the cabins of large European and Japanese sedans, the plastics are a little harder, the buttons don't move with quite the same solidity and the finish applied to the wood trim seems a bit chintzy. It's certainly nice, but you won't confuse the K900 for an Audi.
What it may lack in panache, however, the K900 counters with an extensive list of standard features that are frequently optional on luxury cars, including adaptive headlights, keyless entry and ignition and triple-zone automatic climate control. It can also be outfitted with the sort of limolike rear seat options usually reserved for flagship luxury sedans, like heated and ventilated power-reclining rear seats, side- and rear-window sunshades, center armrest-mounted rear climate controls and a button that scoots the front passenger seat forward to create additional legroom. If you want to be chauffeured about, but would like to be covert about it, the K900 just might be the car for you.
With all the available technology, it's no surprise the K900's dash and center console are awash in a sea of buttons. Ultimately though, these prove more user-friendly than the functions accessed via the unintuitive console-mounted control knob and 9.2-inch infotainment screen. The audio and navigation controls found in other luxury sedans are generally better.
With the V8 engine, the K900 manages to deliver strong acceleration without drama. On a winding stretch of road, the big sedan displays confident, if uninspiring, handling compared to some of its sportier competitors. Ride quality remains unruffled on all but the worst pavement, where it lacks the suppleness and resolute solidity of German luxury sedans.
Read the most recent 2015 Kia K900 review.