2015 Kia K900: Fast But Not Fun
May 15, 2015
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.
Drive the K900 to work in a very calm and socially-responsible manner and it is more than good. It borders on great. It's extremely comfortable, well-appointed, and it feels rich and substantial. It also gets up and goes.
The Kia's big 5.0-liter V8 makes 420 horsepower. And that's plenty. Step on the gas and even the stoic and perpetually wooden Jimmie Johnson would be impressed. He might even smile. With teeth.
But drive the Kia, really drive it, and it all goes bad. It's like Kia's engineers never considered that anyone would actually ask the car to perform. Even at a mild pace, the K900 begins to fall apart. Its brake pedal is mushy, its big 19-inch Hankook tires offer little grip, and its 8-speed automatic transmission fails to match revs on manual downshifts.
There's little reason to push further, but you do anyway. Now the steering goes numb and the car reveals its nose-heavy balance with comical amounts of terminal understeer. If you drive off the road in this boat, it will be nose first. Someone at Kia has made sure of it.
It doesn't take long to realize that the big K900 is a very attractive and much cheaper alternative to a BMW 7 Series, a Mercedes S550, or an Audi A8, but only when driven in a very calm and socially-responsible manner. Those other cars, however, like to be driven. Really driven.
Unlike the Kia, they perform well when asked. They're not just large, comfortable and powerful. They're actually fun to drive. They pack a depth of personality based on an even greater range of capability. And the Kia, ultimately, does not.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,452 miles