Kia K900

2016 Kia K900

The Kia K900 full-size luxury sedan, launched for the 2015 model year, continues into 2016 with a number of changes, including a new V6 engine, expansion of available features, and revised model lineup. Updating of the grille and rear end added a little chrome to the latter.

New 18-inch alloy wheels go on 2016 Kia K900 V6 models, while V8s get 19-inch chrome wheels. Inside, the touchscreen has expanded to 9.2-inch size. Paddle shifters are now available on all versions. A Smart Power Trunk opens the lid automatically when it senses the key fob for more than 3 seconds.

Like the South Korean automakers smaller, mainstream models, the K900 aims to deliver great value. While Kias smaller cars benefit from crisp, European-style lines, the big K900 is less distinctive. Though the sedan is quiet, comfortable, and spacious, including the back seat, it falls somewhat short on distinguishing, upscale features.

Judged by styling, overall tone, and capabilities, the K900 could be said to score between premium and luxury. Like other Kia models, though, the K900 beats traditional competitors on price, which in itself can lure new buyers to the brand. Shoppers seeking to move up from a mass-market model are especially likely to be attracted to moderate-cost luxury.

Two engines are available: a 311-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8 that cranks out 420 horsepower. All K900 sedans have an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. The V6 engine comes in Premium or Luxury trim; the V8 is Luxury-only.

Leather and wood trim help to provide a comfortable, appealing interior for upscale buyers. Behind the wheel, the K900 feels somewhat heavy, but is sufficiently enjoyable to drive. It lacks both the rigid solidity of a big Mercedes-Benz sedan and the sporty, passionate feel of a BMW. Yet, the K900 is predictable and easily understood, in addition to the virtues of comfort and quietness.

Fuel-economy estimates are about average, meaning less than thrifty. The V6 model is EPA-rated at 17/26 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined. Moving to the V8 drops the rating to 15/23 mpg City/Highway, or 18 mpg Combined.

Active safety features include adaptive cruise control and an advance collision warning system with automatic emergency braking.


2015 Kia K900

The Kia K900 is Kias first rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan brought to the North American market. Proven in the home market where its called K9 (like Audi A6, etc.) it comes here wearing the K900 alphanumeric moniker favored by most competitors. It isnt twice as good as a Lexus 460 nor nearly on par with a Porsche 911 but it makes a compelling argument for room and gadgetsper-dollar.

The 2015 Kia K900 will be available with a 420-hp V8 engine and a 311-hp V6, though the V6 joins the lineup a few months after the V8. Every K900 comes with fully independent suspension, rear-wheel drive, 8-speed automatic transmission, leather upholstery and three-zone climate control. Derived from the same basic structure as Hyundais Equus flagship, the K900 is shorter than that car outside but roomier up front. We liken it to the relationship between Rolls-Royce and Bentley, where the Equus (Rolls) is the owners driven car and the Kia (Bentley) is driven by its owner.

Family resemblance is obvious, the K900 appearing for most intents and purposes a slightly larger Cadenza with the bulk of bodywork slid rearward a few inches. We find it handsome enough, though the only styling elements that really stand out are the 24 LED headlight arrays. Save the backup lights, every light on a K900 is LED.

Inside its all leather, wood and chrome highlighted black lacquer finishes. The carpet actually feels like one, the mats are thick, lower door pillars are not hard plastic and the scuff plates are illuminated. Room is abundant, generally more than a mid-size or standard-wheelbase luxury car, not quite as spacious as long-wheelbase luxury rides.

Kia heaps on loads of standard features as well, including their extensive warranty and things like heated rear seats that are $600-$800 options on pricier competitors. And there is one option package for the V8 model, not an endless a la carte page that can add 50 percent to the price at the check of a few boxes.

The K900 does not offer air suspension, adjustable ride firmness or other whiz-bang chassis electronics, instead relying on a capable, quiet, cruiser chassis. Other cars may ride better or handle better, or do both, but theyll cost significantly more, a K900 V8 is $13,000 less than a Lexus LS460, $14,000 less than Jaguar XJ V6, $15,000 less than Audi A8 V6, $18,000 less than a six-cylinder BMW 740, and $33,000 less than a Mercedes-Benz S550.

We wont directly compare a K900 to those cars but the room is similar, the luxury ambiance close. What you give up is a degree of refinement, anything from how quiet and smooth the seat adjuster or trunk closer is, to how well it absorbs a mid-corner bump diving into a corner. But if you dont drive it like a hot-rod sports sedan, and dont actually notice things like seat motor sounds, does it make any difference to you?


 

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