What It Is
Kia's first foray into the world of luxury cars.
Smooth acceleration, plenty of features for the money
Undesirable fuel economy
Perhaps it can't compete with the cool kids, but it is still a worthwhile car.
For $66,000, you can buy four Kia Rios. Or you can purchase the all-new 2015 Kia K900.
Kia is stepping up to the luxury game for the first time with a saloon car that is intended to compete with Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. But does this new car have the look and the brand cachet to attract customers in this segment?
We could debate that question all day, but regardless of the answer, the K900 has certain merits that are hard to deny. Its long list of standard features and excellent ride quality make it a truly good car in its own right. Read on to see all that we liked and disliked about the new Kia K900.
What We DroveUntil the V-6 version comes out, the 2015 Kia K900 is available in one standard trim level. Our model included a $6,000 VIP Package, which tacks on a head-up display, a surround view monitor, advanced cruise control, and 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster. When adding in a $900 destination fee, the total cost of our model came to $66,500.
For all this money, do you get a truly safe luxury car? Unfortunately, the Kia K900 is such a new model that it has not yet been crash tested by either the government or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. But the model does come with plenty of standard safety features, including full-length side curtain airbags, an array of front and rear airbags, anti-lock braking, traction control, vehicle stability management, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and more.
The CommuteYes, it may look like an Optima, but a fiery 5.0-liter V-8 engine produces 420 horsepower to provide plenty of juice for passing other cars on the road. Is it too much power for an executive saloon? Maybe, but Kia is providing a V-6 alternative sometime this model year for those who don't need the extravagant power of this model.
Complementing this car's smooth acceleration is a solid ride; large potholes and road imperfections are no match for this vehicle. Steering could be a bit tighter, but we found the ride was overall extremely comfortable and easy. Drivers should also be comfortable in the heated/ventilated Nappa leather seats that are both soft and supportive. Our only gripe was the headrests, which protruded forward too far, making them hard to get used to.
Operating the infotainment system takes some learning. A variety of buttons near the driver's right armrest operates a large screen above, and two rows of buttons on top control climate and radio functions. We found that the positioning of some controls hard to operate in the driver seat, but we enjoyed the navigation system, which guides drivers into the right lane with a clear map and provides information on nearby gas stations.
The Grocery RunWhether heading to the grocery store or packing luggage for a weekend getaway, the K900 has plenty of room. A week's worth of groceries for the whole family can easily fit in the trunk. Unfortunately, the rear seats don't move forward or fold down to allow for more space, but we didn't expect them to in this segment.
A large sedan like this one is usually not easy to park, but we didn't have any problems maneuvering in and out of parking spaces. A full surround view monitor provides an aerial view of the space as you pull in, eliminating the guesswork. Parking sensors let you know if you're too close, as does a front park view that makes sure you don't hit the front wall.
The Weekend FunWhen going out for long drives on the weekend, nothing is more important than enjoying the ride with the best comfort and convenience features available.
You can get a K900 for a much smaller price than a similarly powered BMW 7 Series or Audi A8, which go for more than $80,000. It also offers more standard features (LED headlights, ventilated front seats, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert) than one of its biggest competitors, the $72,000 Lexus LS 460. We feel the K900 also offers a comparable quality interior, complete with Nappa leather, large touchscreen, and surround sound audio. Rear seats occupants will enjoy the K900 even more, thanks to three-zone automatic climate control, a middle seat that doubles as a climate/radio control panel in back, side sunshades that block the sun, and full power seats with lumbar support and reclining functions.
But a few of the interior accents may not be to everyone's liking. The dash is simple and black, and while there are genuine wood accents, it features a veneer that is too shiny for many tastes. Overall, we think the K900 has a classic interior look, although interiors from Lexus and Audi are more striking. The heavy feature content, however, makes up for this void.
Our main gripe during the weekend drive was the fuel economy. Rated at 15/23 mpg city/highway, the K900 eats up gas pretty quickly. Competitors offer somewhat better fuel economy. Opting for the V-6 improves fuel economy significantly, according to EPA ratings of 18/27 mpg.
SummaryWhile it isn't our favorite model in the luxury sedan segment, we appreciate the Kia K900 for its blend of high feature content, smooth power, and interior comfort. We think it drives better than many cars in its segment, but we recognize there is a ton of competition in this segment, and drivers often gravitate to badge rather than value.
We would like to drive the V-6 version before making a final decision about this car. Those ready to settle down with the V-8 version may not need the $6,000 VIP Package, as most of the luxury features you want, including navigation and leather seats, come standard.
Spec BoxPrice-as-tested: $66,400
EPA City: 15
EPA Highway: 23
EPA Combined: 18
Cargo Space: Enough grocery bags for the whole family Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Poor
Estimated Combined Range: 356 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: No rating