2015 Kia K900 – Sized like an S-Class but priced like a 5-Series

Background

The Kia K900 represents some major milestones for the Korean Car Company whose executives are mighty proud of their flagship sedan. This is Kia’s first Rear-Wheel Drive car (even though there was the ill-fated Borrego SUV in 2010), their first luxury sedan and their first vehicle with an MSRP of over $50K. Some say this is a brave new World for Kia, others say it’s a risky move in uncertain economic times.

Regardless of which side you’re on, the K900 is here and I’m going to tell you the unfiltered truth about this premium sedan. Let’s start with the name. Kia is not moving to an alphanumeric naming convention. The K900 is a different kind of car for Kia so they needed a unique name. Also, in Korea this model is called the K9 which of course wouldn’t work in this country. There are two engine options. The base engine which will account for over 70% of the volume is the 3.8-Liter V6 producing 311 horsepower while the upgraded engine is a 420-horsepower 5.0-Liter V8. Both receive an 8-speed automatic that was developed internally by Kia/Hyundai.

From an appearance perspective, the K900 looks good. It has a front-end that resembles the Jaguar XJ grill K900 at Pelicanwith unique headlights that contain 8 bold LEDs on each side. In fact, the only non-LED light on the K900’s exterior is in the backup lights. In case you’re wondering why they use so many LEDs, then you’ve been sleeping under a rock for the past five years. The rear quarter panel can easily be mistaken for a Lexus LS which is only fitting since Lexus was the first to start copying German luxury car designs.

The K900’s inteior is more than adequate with a massive 9.2″ navigation screen, a 12.3″ TFT screen which displays your speedometer, tachometer and every other piece of information and a full-color, customizable heads up display. Once you get moving in Kia’s flagship sedan, you will notice just how quiet and refined it is thanks to acoustic glass and sound deadening materials in over 200 key locations. One more thing, the headrest is amazing. Not sure what it’s filled with, but it felt damn nice and I couldn’t recall a more luxurious headrest.

Let’s get something straight, the K900 is not a sports car or even a sports sedan. It’s a heavy luxury sedan and drives as such. That’s not a bad thing, but don’t expect paddle shifters or neck-breaking 0-60 times. Our journey with the K900 did challenge the heavy beast with some canyon twists and elevations. We drive harder than most people and what we noticed is that the K900 is heavy on turns and takes some effort to slow it down on rapid descents.

There used to be a time when Americans produced grand sedans, that were driven by the rear wheels and had powerful V8s under the hood. Now the only American car that fits that model is the Chrysler 300 (and it’s Dodge counterpart, the Charger), although more are on the way. The point is that some Americans simply prefer big sedans and the K900 is a pretty good one for the money. The V8 is overkill  for most drivers, but it does help offset the heaviness of the K900. We loved the technology, comfort and quietness of the K900, but weren’t thrilled with the handling. And that’s OK, because it’s not the K900’s job to be a great hanlding car, but rather a car that can  handle 5 passengers comfortably and in style. Those who ding the K900 for driving dynamics that don’t rival the 7-Series or Jaguar XJ, need to look no further than the price tag. $55,000! Game over. Look past the badge and just drive. The K900 will not disappoint.

Specifications

Here are some of the key features in the K900:
  • Premium Nappa leather
  • Natural wood accents
  • 16-way adjustable drivers seat
  • full length panoramic roof
  • Individually reclining rear seats
  • Adjustable winged headrests
  • Power privacey shades
  • Rear center console controls - seat ventilation, heat, independent air and lumbar support
  • Soft Door Close
  • Power trunk open & close. Smart valet key, size of credit card.
  • 9.2” NAV Screen. Driver Information Control System.
  • 900-Watt, Lexicon, 17-Speaker System. 12-Channel Digital Amp.
  • Lane Dep Warning
  • Blind Spot Detection
  • RR Cross Traffic Alert
  • Surround View Monitor (360 degrees) - up to 2 MPH.
  • Full Color Heads Up display. Color configurable.
  • Crash Durable Adhesives (85.5 Meters of this material)

Models & Pricing

  • V6: $55,000
  • V8: $60,000
  • V8 with VIP Package: $66,000

What We Liked

  • Smooth, quiet, refined ride.
  • Sleek styling and use of LED lighting.
  • Attractive price point.

What We Didn't Like

  • Heavy feel during acceleration, braking and cornering.
  • Lane keep assist was not intuitive.
  • True luxury car buyers will either spend the extra money and buy a true luxury brand or opt for a certified pre-owned 7-Series or S-Class.

Recommendations / Competition

If you focus on the size of the K900 and how well its packaged, rather than the badge on the hood, you will end up with a quality, premium full-sized sedan. Most people will lease the K900 and we expect a price point of $600 per month or less which is a number that BMW, Mercedes-Benz or Lexus just can't touch.

Starting Price
$55,000
Expert Rating
88
Sedan
5.0-Liter V8
420
376
Rear Wheel Drive
8-Speed Automatic
gasoline
135
Top speed:
1
6
2
1