Read the 2015 Kia K900's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2015 Kia K900's long-term updates.
What We Got
When the 2015 Kia K900 luxury sedan arrived in the U.S. it was a huge step for the Korean automaker. It had never sold a car so large, expensive and luxurious. This was a test not only of the car, but of the Kia brand itself.
For us, however, there was something familiar about it. As a sibling of the long-term 2011 Hyundai Equus we tested a few years back, there were numerous similarities. Still, the K900 was different enough to warrant a serious look.
We ordered our car from Kia in "Luxury" trim, the upgrade over the Premium trim. Both featured standard rear-wheel drive, a 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A long list of comfort- and technology-related amenities filled the standard equipment list, even on the $54,500 entry-level Premium trim. Still we opted for the uplevel variant to test as much as the K900 had to offer.
Standard features were extensive on our K900 Luxury. Blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, three-zone climate control, front and rear cameras, dynamic LED headlights and more were included in the $59,500 base MSRP. We added the VIP package for $6,000. For the price we added adaptive cruise control, a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, head-up display and power reclining rear seats, to name a few. Total MSRP for our 2015 Kia K900 Luxury was $66,400.
That's a serious sticker for a Kia, so we were curious to see if it could possibly live up to the price. Here's a glimpse at how it fared.
"And so it was with the soft and low-riding K900, which made frequent contact with its rear bump stops throughout the trip. The feeling was more restrained and progressive than the sharp thumps we experienced on the same route in the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited last year, but that didn't make it much easier to ignore." — Dan Edmunds
"In comparison to other European flagship sedans with V8 engines (typically turbocharged), the K900 could be viewed as being slow.... But in my experience, the K900 still feels plenty strong in real-world driving." — Brent Romans
"The final homeward leg was all freeway, beginning in San Luis Obispo and ending at the Shell station around the corner from my house. Going with the flow of traffic, those 238 miles slid serenely past at 25.3 mpg. This outing made it clear that the K900 can meet and even exceed its highway fuel economy rating without too much trouble." — Dan Edmunds
"I also like that this engine is predictable in its efficiency. The EPA says it should deliver 18 mpg in combined driving, and that's exactly what we're getting. It's not necessarily a great number on its own, but it's rare for any car in our fleet to get its rated mileage, let alone nail it exactly." — Ed Hellwig
"The K900 glides down the road with ease. This is a one-hand-on-the-wheel type of car. It is also unapologetically designed to be comfortable. You can't get an air or adjustable suspension on it, so either you like the suspension tuning or you don't. The driver seat is wide and, lacking major or adjustable lateral side bolsters, is easy to slide in and out of." — Brent Romans
"On the positive side of the K900's ledger, it is especially quiet. Road, wind and engine noise have been virtually banished. And its wide, comprehensively padded seat is road trip-friendly, complete with heaters and coolers. It has extendable thigh bolsters, too; always a plus." — Jason Kavanagh
"Officially, there's 15.9 cubic feet of space. That's not the biggest number you'll find on a luxury sedan, but the K900 makes good use of its space. There are no odd intrusions from the suspension or the trunk lid supports. It also has a wide opening with a reasonable liftover height. I've tossed two full-size suitcases in without any trouble. And those suitcases fit lengthwise with room to spare." — Ed Hellwig
"The crate in question was a size Large meant for 71-90-pound dogs. The website listed its long dimension at 42 inches (a.k.a. 3.5 feet). But I didn't need to know that to realize it was too big to go in crossways. Lengthwise was my only choice.... It just barely fit, though, snugged in between the trunk sill and the backseat. The trunk floor measures 43 inches long, but there was less to work with because of the way the thickness of the crate interacted with the sloping seatback." — Dan Edmunds
"Backseat passengers have no reason to complain in the K900. Not only do they get their own set of seat adjustments, climate controls and a nifty set of window shades, they also get plenty of space in every direction.... More than just space, the K900 offers genuinely comfortable seats. They have plenty of contouring to them and they're also heated and cooled.... There aren't too many features the backseat of this K900 doesn't offer." — Ed Hellwig
"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.... My colleague Jason Kavanagh described the K900 as a 'big, soft quiet car,' not in a good way. He's right in saying that it's not a driver's car. But I needed roadway coddling yesterday, and that's just what I got." — Carroll Lachnit
Audio and Technology
"It's pretty easy to get jazzed about something with 17 speakers and a 900-watt amplifier. Kind of like your own rolling Best Buy audio demo room.... With all this audio firepower, you'd expect the K900 to sound pretty awesome. I don't think it will disappoint.... I've played a variety of music from my iPod and it all sounded great. Even the normally low-fidelity quality of satellite radio seems to sound a tad better in the K900." — Brent Romans
"Although the adaptive cruise control works well enough, it's a bit jerky on the brakes when the car needs to slow down.... And I'm not a fan of the buttons surrounding the control knob. They're spaced too far apart and never felt intuitive. Take a look at this interior walk-around to see what I'm talking about." — Ronald Montoya
"The 15,000-mile service consisted of an oil change and tire rotation, cabin air filter replacement and a more comprehensive series of inspections than the first service. The estimated completion time was 1 hour and 45 minutes.... The service cost nothing, as the 2015 K900 is the only Kia with a complimentary service plan. Up to five visits are covered in the first three years or 37,500 miles." — Cameron Rogers
"I double-checked the work order to make sure that checking/adjusting tire pressure was included in the free service, and indeed it was. The paperwork says they set it to 33 psi. However, that isn't what the door sticker calls for, nor what we'd set it to ourselves. It also wasn't (the displayed) 39 psi which is, as far as we can tell, completely random. Five minutes of crouching with a tire pressure gauge equipped with a bleeder valve fixed everything." — Mike Magrath
"I'll say this, though: The K900 is quiet. Very quiet. It's a big, soft, quiet car. Drivers need not apply." — Jason Kavanagh
"I had already been using the K900's adaptive cruise control to keep me from going too fast on the long highway stretches. When I hit the fog, it helped relieve a little bit of the tension as the radar cut through the soup and slowed me down before I even spotted a vehicle. The vehicle, a white big rig with its lights off (seriously), wasn't visible until I moved over into the left lane and slowly crept up on it." — Mark Takahashi
Maintenance & Repairs
The K900 called for routine service at 7,500-mile intervals. Scheduled maintenance is complimentary over the first three years/37,500 miles or up to five visits. So we didn't pay a thing at 7,500 miles or at 15,000 miles.
No recalls or TSBs occurred during our test.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA estimates for the K900 were 18 mpg combined (15 city/23 highway). We averaged just that, 18.1 mpg. Our best single tank was 25.3 mpg and our best single-tank range was 414 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our K900 Luxury arrived with an MSRP of $66,400. After one year and 20,275 miles, Edmunds' TMV® Calculator valued the sedan at $53,589 based on a private-party sale. This equated to impressive 19 percent depreciation.
Pros: Powerful engine, smooth-shifting transmission, exceptionally comfortable seating front and rear, quiet cabin at any speed, exceptional reliability, easy-to-use navigation system, delivers rated mileage, free scheduled maintenance.
Cons: Overly soft suspension feels too unrefined for a luxury car, very little steering feel.
Bottom Line: If the sloppy suspension doesn't bother you, then the rest of this car will surprise you with its competence. This is a legitimate luxury sedan that offers the quality, comfort and performance of its competitors at a much more reasonable price.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||None|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||None (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||None|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||2|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||None|
|Days Out of Service:||None|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||25.3 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||12.1 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||18.1 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$53,589 (private-party sale)|
|Depreciation:||$12,811 (19% of original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||20,275 miles|
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.