2015 Kia K900 Long-Term Road Test - New Updates
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2015 Kia K900 Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (2)
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  • Long-Term

2015 Kia K900: Legit Luxury

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on October 27, 2015

2015 Kia K900

The 2015 Kia K900 was our second go-around with a luxury product from the greater Hyundai works, picking up where we left off with a 2011 Hyundai Equus. We thought the K900 would make an interesting case study: will Americans pay outsize luxury money for a big sedan from an automaker better known for sporty and quirky character? We had a year to gain some insight.

Our verdict? The K900 is legit.

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2015 Kia K900: What You Get for Twice the Price

August 5, 2015

2015 Kia K900

If anything is true about the 2015 Kia K900, it's that Kia's first foray into the luxury sedan market is a smoking good deal. Our long-termer is in top-tier Luxury trim with the $6,000 VIP Package, the only available option. At $66,400, the car is loaded with niceties such as adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera, LED adaptive headlights and outboard heated and ventilated seats. So far, the K900 checks all the major boxes a buyer could want in an executive sedan.

But K900 sales are a fraction of the segment's leaders. Consider the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which sells 14 units to every one K900. The S-Class starts at $95,325, a considerable amount more than the K900 before the Merc's substantial options list comes into play.

We recently tested a new S550 and I took a moment to reflect on the differences between two cars that, on paper, serve the same purpose.

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2015 Kia K900: V8 Lust Deepens on Road to Phoenix

July 31, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Our year with our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is almost kaput. Just two weeks to go. We'll soon return it to Kia and introduce its replacement, a brand new Kia Sedona minivan.

My kids are vibrating. As much as they enjoy riding in the back of our large and luxurious K900, the Sedona has become a favorite due to its First Class Lounge Seating. It's like kid heaven back there in the Sedona's second row and the Oldham girls have been looking forward to it all summer.

Whatever. I dig the K900 and a recent 900-mile road trip from Santa Monica to Phoenix and back, during a heat wave in June, has solidified my lust for the big V8-powered, rear-wheel drive sedan.

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2015 Kia K900: Hidden Sport Display

July 27, 2015

2015 Kia K900

As we've discussed, our 2015 Kia K900 has a clear, fast, but still not-quite-as-good-as-physical digital instrument display.

And now, 11 months and 18,000 miles into the loan, I just found out it has a cool sport-specific mode.

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2015 Kia K900: Great A/C Shrugs Off Triple-Digit Temps

July 14, 2015

2015 Kia K900

If you want great air conditioning buy a Kia K900.

I'm serious. If there's one thing I never joke about, it's air conditioning.

I just drove our long-term 2015 Kia K900 from Santa Monica to Phoenix and back. During a heat wave. In June. After the first 70 miles, temps exceeded 105 degrees and stayed there for the duration of the five-day trip, peaking at 117 degrees (indicated on the Kia's instrument cluster) near the California Arizona border.

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2015 Kia K900: Down a Quart After 2,000 Miles

July 9, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 received its second, and most recent, service at 16,000 miles. The 15,000-mile scheduled service consisted of an oil change and tire rotation, cabin air filter replacement and a more comprehensive series of inspections than the first service.

That was only 2,000 miles ago. So I was surprised when I checked the Kia's oil level and found it was a quart low.

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2015 Kia K900: Trading an Accident for a Heart Attack

July 1, 2015

2015 Kia K900

A few months ago, Brent wrote a thoughtful post about our 2015 Kia K900's blind-spot indicator system.

I agree that it's very convenient to have a visual warning appear in the head-up display when a vehicle enters your blind-spot. But what I cannot stand is the audio alert that goes along with it.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for May — Meets the EPA Numbers, Falls Short on Luxury

June 17, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Another month, another 144 gallons of fuel streamed through our 2015 Kia K900. How many miles did that yield? Closest guess without going over wins absolutely nothing!

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2015 Kia K900: Self-Serious Startup Theatrics

June 15, 2015

2015 Kia K900

One thing our 2015 Kia K900 has in common with Microsoft Windows? They both play a little theme when you turn them on and off.

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2015 Kia K900: Service Includes Wrong, Random Tire Pressure

June 9, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Recently our dear leader finally figured out the right tire pressures for our 2015 Kia K900. Although the car calls for 31 psi all around, he determined through some tinkering that 33 psi front/35 psi rear felt better. Then we took it to the dealer for service.

The tire pressure they chose was surprising (unless you looked at the photo above, in which case it won't be surprising at all).

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2015 Kia K900: A Little Late to the 15,000-Mile Service

June 5, 2015

2015 Kia K900

A road trip to San Francisco and the search for a future long-term vehicle pushed our 2015 Kia K900 slightly over 16,000 miles. According to the service intervals outlined in the manual and the K900's onboard distance-based maintenance minder, we were due for service at 15,900 miles.

We had good experiences with Kia of Cerritos servicing our 2014 Kia Cadenza, so we returned with the K900. I used the dealership's website to schedule an appointment on a Thursday at 10:30 am.

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2015 Kia K900: Regrets, Relief on the Road to San Francisco

June 2, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Well, this is awkward. After my farewell letter to the 2015 Kia K900, I was asked to put some miles on it for a short trip to San Francisco. So I told the K900, "I know I've said some hurtful things to you recently, but we're both adults here with a job to do.  Let's put the past behind us and be professionals."

I took Interstate 5 both on the way up and back. U.S. Route 101 is more scenic, but would have taken about an hour longer. The trip wasn't for pleasure, so I opted for the shorter drive. Like other awkward moments with an ex, I remembered things I liked and disliked with twinges of regret and relief.

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2015 Kia K900: Good on the Highway, Not in the City

May 26, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Admittedly, I don't fall directly in the demographic for our long-term 2015 Kia K900. No spouse, no kids, nobody named Bruce Wayne to chauffer around in the back seat. Having driven the K900 for a solid week in various conditions though, I've decided this isn't a car I could live with in Los Angeles, or in any city for that matter.

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2015 Kia K900: Interior Highlights (Video)

May 25, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Over the span of a week, I put about 330 miles on our long-term 2015 Kia K900. I drove it to and from work all week, and on the weekend took a 200-mile road trip to visit my mother. We've been critical of the K900's overall ride quality, but the interior is very likeable. I thought I'd show you around.

Here's a short look-around at the K900 interior, highlighting a few of my favorite aspects and a few features that I'm not a big fan of:

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2015 Kia K900: Better Tire Pressures

May 22, 2015

2015 Kia K900

I've been playing with the tire pressures on our long-term 2015 Kia K900 and I think I found a sweet spot.

Believe it or not, factory spec is a comically low 31 psi (cold) in all four Hankooks. It feels like it. Every time I drive the car I think it feels like the tires are low. So I check, only to find out they're exactly at the factory spec of 31 psi. After 10 months and nearly 15,000 miles, I decided to do something about it. I decided to try some higher pressures to see if the car felt better to me.

It does.

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2015 Kia K900: It's Not You, It's Me

May 21, 2015

2015 Kia K900

I put a few hundred miles on the long-term 2015 Kia K900 in the past few days and it prompted me to leave the following imaginary note inside the K900.

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2015 Kia K900: HUD Doesn't Work with Polarized Shades

May 19, 2015

2015 Kia K900

The head-up display on our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is a nice feature. Like almost every other HUD, it displays your current speed but it also issues small warning images for when someone is in your blind spot. I like this feature because it helps me keep my eyes on the road. I'm all for checking mirrors, but this is a great secondary warning system if someone slips into the next lane without me noticing.

The problem is that I can't see the HUD when wearing my sunglasses.

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2015 Kia K900: Fast But Not Fun

May 15, 2015

2015 Kia K900

These days every car company wants you to believe they make fun cars, trucks and crossovers. They're all sporty. They're all fun to drive. And they spend billions of dollars on advertising and marketing convincing you of this big fat lie.

Don't believe it. Most new cars have plenty of power, but the truth is they don't actually perform well when asked, and they're not much fun to drive. Most pack about as much personality as a modern NASCAR driver.

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is just such a machine.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy for April - City Slogging Barely Budges Average Fuel Economy

May 14, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Driven mostly around town in April, our long-term 2015 Kia K900 didn't break any fuel economy records during the past 30 days, but that wasn't such a bad thing, either.

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2015 Kia K900: Power Soft-Close Door Latches

May 13, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Our 2015 Kia K900 is so well-equipped that I continue to find features I had either forgotten about or didn't realize were included in our $66,000 luxury sedan. This week's discovery: power soft-close door latches, included as part of the $6,000 VIP package.

Watch this three-second video for a demonstration:

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2015 Kia K900: The Lawyer Screen

April 30, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Over the years, I've complained about this problem many times after driving many different Hyundais and Kias. And here we go again.

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2015 Kia K900: Best Fix for Chrome Wheel Rash

April 24, 2015

2015 Kia K900

After nearly 15,000 miles of threading our 2015 Kia K900 through L.A traffic and stretching it out over the occasional road trip, the luxury sedan's bright, shiny chrome wheels have taken a few hits.

I noticed this 3-inch scrape on the right rear wheel while fueling up. Ouch.

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2015 Kia K900: Which Service Interval to Follow?

April 23, 2015

2015 Kia K900

In January, Dan Edmunds took our long-term 2015 Kia K900 to the local Kia service center for its first regular maintenance visit. Dan also pointed out the benefit of the K900's three-year/37,500-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance program.

While driving the K900 this morning, I noticed the dealer maintenance sticker in the corner of the windshield, stating service due at 13,335 miles. Our K900 was already at 13,663 miles.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 8, 2015

2015 Kia K900

We added 2,000 miles to our 2015 Kia K900's odometer in March, and nearly half of those miles were covered on Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh's round-trip from L.A. to Phoenix.

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2015 Kia K900: Great Steering Wheel

April 1, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Simple, sturdy and covered in nice materials, the steering wheel in our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is one of my favorite features on the car. We've got the optional "Leather-Wrapped & Genuine Wood" steering wheel that is heated, has a simple three-spoke design and several small, but easy-to-find, buttons for audio and cruise control.

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2015 Kia K900: Trunk Full of Soda

March 24, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Our neighborhood high school has a big weekend show choir competition coming up, and I volunteered to donate a variety of beverages to be sold at the event's snack bar.

Grabbing the keys to our 2015 Kia K900 test car, I headed to the local Smart & Final to stock up on Gatorade and Coke products.

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2015 Kia K900: Budget Executive Footrest

March 20, 2015

2015 Kia K900

The Kid finds no shortage of fun in our 2015 Kia K900. It's huge, roomy, and she thinks it's hilarious to control the front climate control from the rear seat. At least she's helping us get our money's worth from the $6,000 VIP package.

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2015 Kia K900: Screen Washes Out in Direct Sunlight

March 18, 2015

2015 Kia K900

On my recent drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix in our long-term 2015 Kia K900, I observed that the car's multimedia screen washes out in direct sunlight. This renders it, at best, difficult to view. Usually it ends up unreadable.

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2015 Kia K900: Road Trip Composure, or Lack Thereof

March 17, 2015

2015 Kia K900

I recently drove our long-term 2015 Kia K900 from Los Angeles to Phoenix, AZ, and back. One freeway, Interstate 10, connects the cities at either end. It's a straight shot, 390-mile run through the desert, with little elevation change and no turns to speak of. An ideal environment for this car...right?

As it turns out, no, it isn't.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 6, 2015

2015 Kia K900

We've driven our 2015 Kia K900 more than 1,200 miles in February.

In mixed city/highway driving, we averaged 17.3 mpg. No big road trips or vacations this month.

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2015 Kia K900: Front-View Camera

March 5, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Our parking garage at the office can get pretty crowded and we double up cars in tandem spots fairly often. Some vehicles are large enough to take up a whole spot right up to the white divider lines. Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is very helpful in this type of situation.

I first relied on this feature at a busy supermarket parking lot. The lot was crowded and spaces were difficult to find. As I pulled slowly into a spot, the front parking sensor camera came on to help me know how far I could pull into the spot before coming too close to the car parked opposite. When this front camera comes on, so does the all-around overhead view, showing the parking lines on both sides of the K900.

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2015 Kia K900: Engine Continues To Impress

February 25, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Most luxury sedans are moving away from using a V8 engine as the standard offering. The 2015 Kia K900 not only comes standard with a 420-horsepower V8, there are no other options. Thankfully, it gives you very few reasons to want anything else.

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2015 Kia K900: Clean, Crisp but I Want Analog

February 23, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Kia's strategy with the 2015 Kia K900 is as obvious as it is brilliant: Build in some Lexus engine character, make it as quiet as a big Benz, load it with every executive-level creature comfort in the factory, then sell it all for about the price of a BMW 5 Series. It's hard to argue with the results. If you deal high-grade narcotics and need to stay under the DEA radar, but can't bring yourself to drive a more plebian sedan, you could do worse than the K900.

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2015 Kia K900: The Value Factor

February 17, 2015

 2015 Kia K900

For people shopping for a large luxury sedan, the 2015 Kia K900 might not immediately come to mind. It's a new car, and the Kia brand name isn't exactly synonymous with "flagship luxury sedan" yet. But I think if a friend were to ask me about what kind of large sedan he or she should consider, I'd certainly mention the K900.

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2015 Kia K900: Luxury That Relieves Misery

February 13, 2015

2015 Kia K900

A construction project has turned traffic into a mental meltdown. Drivers are raging through intersections. Horns blare and tempers go rabid. On-ramps close, then magically reopen, offering hope. But it's a trap, leading into a dead-end clump of unmoving cars.

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2015 Kia K900: Summing Up After 10,000 Miles

February 11, 2015

2015 Kia K900

We added our 2015 Kia K900 to our long-term fleet back in August of last year. Approximately six months on, we've cleared 10,000 miles. That puts us right on track for our typical goal of getting 20,000 miles on test cars.

Halfway into our test, it would seem the K900 is pretty well liked by our team.

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2015 Kia K900: Using the UVO eServices App

February 10, 2015

2015 Kia K900

The 2015 Kia K900 comes standard with UVO, which is Kia's umbrella name for its various infotainment features. What you get with UVO depends on the Kia you're looking at, but our 2015 K900 has the UVO eServices with navigation setup.

Some of UVO's features are smartphone app-based, so I grabbed my iPhone 5s to learn more.

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2015 Kia K900: Useful Blind-Spot Indicators in the Head-Up Display

February 6, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Although blind-spot monitoring doesn't come standard on the 2015 Kia K900, our test car has it, and I think it's fair to assume the majority of K900s found on dealer lots will have it, too. (Only a base K900 would be without it.) But there's a further upgrade to the blind-spot monitoring system which I think is pretty cool and not found on many other cars. If you have the K900's optional head-up display, you get blind-spot notifications there, too.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 5, 2015

2015 Kia K900

After Dan's trip to Oregon in our 2015 Kia K900 in December, January ended up being a pretty quiet month. We logged about 1,200 miles and observed fuel economy similar to what we've seen in prior months.

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2015 Kia K900: Lane Departure Annoyance

February 4, 2015

2015 Kia K900

Fair warning: I'm not a fan of lane departure warning (LDW) systems. Most of these systems aren't very accurate and tend to repeatedly fire off false alarms. Active lane keeping assist isn't much better, as most bounce the car to and fro within the lane like a drunkard is at the wheel.

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2015 Kia K900: Fog and Adaptive Cruise Control

February 3, 2015

2015 Kia K900

There's something so wonderful about waking up before the sun comes up and pointing a car north to head to a racetrack. One of the better tracks near Southern California is Buttonwillow Raceway. But every now and then, the weather tends to complicate things.

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2015 Kia K900: Post Road-Trip Service Visit

January 23, 2015

2015 Kia K900

The countdown began on the northbound leg of our Oregon holiday trip in the 2015 Kia K900 sedan. We were just approaching our first overnight stop at Harris Ranch when a prominent Service Required message flashed its first warning indicating 1,000 miles to go.

More than 1,000 miles would pass before we got back home, so we'd be a little tardy. But at least they would be easy cruising miles, I told myself.

Monday morning saw me first in line at my local Kia/Suzuki/Isuzu service center. The service writer had never seen a K900 before, and indeed the sales lot was thick with lower-price fare that consisted mainly of Optimas and Souls.

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2015 Kia K900: Cruise Control Brake Overuse

January 22, 2015

2015 Kia K900

On the face of it, the cruise control system in our 2015 Kia K900 sedan does an admirable job of maintaining speed. (Note: For now I'm just talking about the regular cruise control or the adaptive system with no traffic detected.)

How good is it? The big Kia's indicated velocity never once deviated from my chosen set-speed by more than a single mph. And this remained true despite a route that included numerous steep climbs and long downgrades at highway speed.

But one critical aspect of the system's performance disturbed me to the point where I felt the need to manually intervene going downhill.

At freeway speeds the system seemed to rely exclusively on the brakes to keep speed in check. At no time did the eight-speed transmission downshift to help out. This approach is the exact opposite of everything I've been taught. It runs counter to every cautionary "Use Low Gear" road sign I've seen on downgrades scattered throughout the western United States.

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2015 Kia K900: Climate Control Recirc Button Woes

January 20, 2015

2015 Kia K900

You'd need smell-o-vision to know what was going on inside our 2015 Kia K900 sedan at the moment captured in the above image. The noxious reek was intense as we drove past a massive dairy farm on Interstate 5 on the way home from Oregon.

But the K900's Recirc button offered no relief. The methane and manure funk stayed with us for miles as if the car remained in fresh mode. The same thing happened at other times on the trip, too, when the cabin air recirculation mode did a poor job of shutting out the offending smells of decrepit diesels and overly-rich carbureted 60s classics.

And that's only half of it.

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2015 Kia K900: Riding Low to Oregon

January 15, 2015

2015 Kia K900

We heard it more than once during our Oregon holiday trip. "This thing's a low rider." The thing in question was our 2015 Kia K900 sedan, and they were right.

But there were just four of us on board: me driving plus my wife in the shotgun seat and our two daughters in back. Each of them weighs no more than 115 pounds apiece, well below the mythical SAE passenger allowance of 68 kilograms/150 pounds. And we had an open seat in back, too.

Sure, we had suitcases and plenty of presents in the trunk. But we packed relatively light using duffle bags. And most of our wrapped presents were comprised of air and tissue wrap. No one was getting a bowling ball or a full set of encyclopedias from Santa. We had less than 100 pounds back there.

Northern California and Oregon highways are generally smooth asphalt ribbons in reasonably good condition. Much of Highway 101 north of Ukiah is gracefully sinuous with sweeping 55 to 60 mph corners. But this is earthquake country, and the rain-soaked land beneath tends to slump and sag here and there. Cars with overly soft suspensions and/or short suspension travel do not excel in these parts.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for December

January 8, 2015

2015 Kia K900

December was a busy month for our 2015 Kia K900 sedan, with nearly 3,400 miles added. My annual Christmas trip to Oregon and back is to blame for half of them, but since I've only just returned this is the first you've heard of it.

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2015 Kia K900: Seat Heaters

January 6, 2015

2015 Kia K900

They say the first step is admitting the problem? Well, I have an addiction to seat heaters. Doesn't matter how tepid the ambient temp, if there's a seat heater available, I've got it cranking full hot.

But the 2015 Kia K900  has the first seat heater system I actually had to turn down.

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2015 Kia K900: Windshield Washer Fluid

January 2, 2015

2015 Kia K900

A new light illuminated this morning on the 2015 Kia K900's instrument cluster, indicating the big sedan was in need of windshield washer fluid.

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2015 Kia K900: Front Alert

December 26, 2014

2015 Kia K900

I'm quite used to activating the front collision alert on most test cars when I pull into my garage at home. Especially in long cars like the 2015 Kia K900, which measures a full 16 feet and 8.6 inches (200.6 inches), I have to nose all the way in to my husband's tool chest before the vehicle's rear end will clear the garage door.

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2015 Kia K900: Safety Features

December 23, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Last night a parent stopped me in the school parking lot to ask some questions about the 2015 Kia K900. The mother had recently been in an accident, and was looking to replace her 2009 Toyota Avalon. Since safety was now at the forefront of her mind, we discussed some of the K900's features.

We covered the usual: airbags, ABS, additional brake assist, stability and traction control, etc. Figuring I failed to mention some of the available items, I pulled up the list when I got home.

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2015 Kia K900: One Thing I Would Change

December 16, 2014

2015 Kia K900

If I were in the market for a big, luxurious sedan for around $60K, the 2015 Kia K900 would be on my list for several reasons. The plush ride, the traditional interior design and the quiet cabin are just a few.

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2015 Kia K900: Long-Haul Cruiser

December 12, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Whether it's a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a Kia K900, there's nothing quite like driving a full-size luxury car on a road trip. The grand size, the whisper quiet, the supreme comfort, the abundant power, the copious equipment and the excellent sound system are all qualities that make a road trip easier and better. Instead of arriving at your destination beat and ready to take a nap, you feel nearly as refreshed as when you left.

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2015 Kia K900: Too Much Isolation

December 10, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 is a luxury car that doesn't have a sporting bolt in its body. Not that it isn't quick — on the contrary, it's plenty rapid — but becoming one with the road isn't what the K900 is about.

Ruminations and impressions after the jump.

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2015 Kia K900: Big Car, Big Trunk

December 9, 2014

2015 Kia K900

I'm not Mike "I hope you have a big trunk, 'cuz I'm gonna put my bike into it" Monticello, but I was surprised by how cavernous the cargo area of our long-term 2015 Kia K900 really is.

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2015 Kia K900: Fuel Economy Update for November

December 5, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 added a hair more than 825 miles to its odometer while consuming just shy of 47 gallons of California's best premium 91-octane gasoline. Using all fingers and toes, this calculates to 17.6 mpg for the month.

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2015 Kia K900: Smooth Acceleration

November 28, 2014

2015 Kia K900

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 may not be the quickest car to get from zero to 60 mph, but it's not bad at all. In our instrumented testing, our long-termer managed it in 5.7 seconds.

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2015 Kia K900: Compared to Hyundai Equus

November 26, 2014

 2015 Kia K900

Our long-term 2015 Kia K900 and the Hyundai Equus are cousins. Aside from the fact that the Hyundai has the optional air suspension, the two cars are pretty much equal. I would argue that the Kia has a better looking exterior, but that is a matter of taste.

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