August 5, 2015
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.
July 31, 2015
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.
June 2, 2015
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.
May 26, 2015
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.
May 22, 2015
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.
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.
February 25, 2015
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.
January 22, 2015
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.
January 15, 2015
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.
November 28, 2014
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.
October 28, 2014
We've written a lot about the extreme comfort of our 2015 Kia K900. I'll be taking it on a 250-mile highway drive and I'm looking forward to kicking back and enjoying the K900's soft ride and impressive sound system. At some point, though, I'll have to wind around a highway exit ramp or potentially maneuver quickly to get around a road hazard.
It's times like this where the K900's magic abruptly stops.
October 27, 2014
In our recent performance testing update on our 2015 Kia K900, we listed the car's 0-60 mph acceleration time of 5.7 seconds (or 6.1 seconds with traction control on). In comparison to other European flagship sedans with V8 engines (typically turbocharged), the K900 could be viewed as being slow. For example, the last Audi A8 4.0T we tested rocketed to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds.
But in my experience, the K900 still feels plenty strong in real-world driving.
September 2, 2014
As the most luxurious, most powerful and most expensive Kia ever in our fleet, our 2015 Kia K900 has proven to be quite popular, rotating through our staffers to see just what this thing was all about.
Quickly, the K900 and its 420-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 cruised across the 600-mile break-in mark and we were free. Free to floor it and rev the engine to redline. Free to get on the brakes hard. Free to do what we do with every long-term car when it joins our fleet, take it to the test track.
Big car, big motor. How'd it do?
August 27, 2014
August 19, 2014
This is Kia's statement car. It's big, expensive and designed to compete with the best luxury sedans in the world. There's no heritage to lean on and the length of its warranty isn't going to help it much. Buyers in this category expect excellence in every aspect of the ownership experience.
During our year-long test we'll not only test its extensive list of features, we'll report on the service experience that comes along with our nearly $67,000 sedan. Has Kia sufficiently upped its game to satisfy customers who are used to being pampered? Or is that one aspect of the K900 that you simply don't get for the price?