Car Review: 2015 Kia K900

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Kia is now officially in the luxury car business. With one fell swoop, they have launched the K900, a modern and elegant sedan that signals a new era for Kia and advances the brand to new levels sophistication. We drove the all-new 2015 Kia K900 and had to keep reminding ourselves that this car was a Kia! Things change so fast in the car business, and I’m sure some rivals keep wondering what the folks at Kia will come up with next.

EXTERIOR

When you first take a look at the 2015 Kia K900, you know that this car is for real, and a serious attempt by Kia to be a player in the luxury car segment. The long 119.9-inch wheelbase and wide 63.8-inch front and 64.1-inch rear track of the V8 translate to considerable road presence. In profile, the swept rake of the greenhouse, subdued cut lines along the doors and high rear deck lid lend a muscular tension to the sheet metal. The K900 V8’s standard 19-inch multi-spoke chrome wheels are shod with 245/45R-19 tires up front and 275/40R-19 tires at the rear.

Kia’s signature grille resides nearly vertically in the smoothly contoured front fascia. A chrome halo surrounds the dark chrome inner elements, which hints at the power and potential behind it. Airflow-smoothing underbody panels mounted beneath the nose, engine bay and cabin help reduce drag and improve efficiency. Standard on the V8 as tested are adaptive LED headlights. With 16 LED bulbs providing powerful, natural light for enhanced luminosity, the beams, which adjust to follow the bends in the road, shimmer beneath crystal clear lenses that pull back deeply into the front fenders. Soft-glow LEDs frame the multi-faceted headlights. Mounted low and at the far corners of the nose are sleek LED daytime running lamps and LED fog lights. Similar use of LED technology can be found at the rear of the K900. The trapezoid taillights offer defused LEDs for the brakes and bright LEDs for the turn signals. A tasteful chrome bezel cuts high across the K900’s standard powered rear deck lid, adding elegance and lending visual width. The standard power and heated rearview mirrors integrate auto dimming, LED turn signal indicators and Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) in a smooth, aerodynamic form that helps reduce wind noise. The rear bumper is accented with fully integrated, dual chrome-tipped exhaust ports that mimic the shape of the taillights.

INTERIOR

Open the door to the all-new K900 and the same sense of elegant sophistication can be found within the luxuriously appointed cabin. The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel is substantial and features controls for audio, cruise control, entertainment and vehicle information. A heated wheel is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. Standard high-grade leather is found throughout the cabin on the V6, which can also be optioned with soft Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping. The V8 K900 arrives with standard Nappa leather. Soft-hue LED interior illumination is standard across the K900 line. Genuine walnut (with black Nappa leather) or poplar (with white Nappa leather) wood trim sweeps across the dash and door panels, beautifully complementing the richness of the interior and is available on the V6 and standard on the V8. A 12-way adjustable driver’s seat, including power lumbar support, is standard on both the V6 Premium and V8 Luxury models, and a 16-way power adjusted driver’s seat features power headrests and cushion extender for added thigh support as part of the V6 Technology Package and the V8 VIP Package. The front seats feature standard multi-stage heating and ventilation for individualized comfort in all climates.

The K900’s executive-class accommodations continue at the rear of the cabin. Standard features include multi-stage heating for the outboard seats. Accessing a panel within the center armrest, rear-seat passengers also have the ability to control the vehicle’s ventilation system and may even fold the back cushion of the front passenger seat forward with the touch of a button. K900 passengers may also operate the standard power rear window sunshade, and retractable rear side window sunshades are standard across all models. A full-length panoramic roof with power retractable sunshade is standard on all V8 models. Opting for the V8 VIP Package takes rear seat comfort to another level. Both seats offer multi-stage heating and cooling, have the ability to independently recline and incorporate power lumbar support and lateral headrest adjustability. The sheer size of the K900 provides a great blueprint to build an interior that provides one of the roomiest back seats in the business!

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PERFORMANCE

My, oh my, this car can simply tear it up when you need to make a fast move. The K900 introduces the first V8 engine offered in a Kia sedan. The Tau DOHC all-aluminum 32-valve five-liter engine produces 420 horsepower. The engine is designed for efficiency with Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) and dual CVVT variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust. A special tuned air intake improves airflow while a roller-type timing chain and Teflon coated crank oil seal reduce frictional losses. The fast-heating catalytic converter helps reduce emissions and is of a lightweight design. The V8 is mated to a new smooth-shifting, eight-speed automatic transmission. Shift mapping is variable depending on the driver-selectable settings of Eco, Normal and Sport, and each mode also adjusts the electric steering’s sensitivity.

An advanced five-link fully independent front and rear suspension soaks up road imperfections while also managing to communicate what’s happening at each corner. Mounted on a sub-frame to isolate road shocks, the front suspension has coaxial coil-spring shock absorbers and a new friction bearing in the steering column to enhance straight-line stability and steering precision. At the rear, the suspension sub-frame also houses the differential, and the coil springs and shock absorbers are separate units, allowing for negative camber for improved cornering ability. The Kia K900 feels good on the road, but handling is not yet on par with the top players in the luxury sedan market. If this improves quickly, buyers who demand high-end handling could have a tough time payer a higher price for a more expensive alternative.

The rear-drive layout of the K900 encourages spirited driving, and the solid chassis, consisting of 75 percent high and ultra-high tensile strength steel, utilizes advanced manufacturing methods that result in a body shell with exceptional strength and torsional rigidity. The K900 V8 includes as standard equipment staggered P245/45P-19 front and P275/40R-19 rear tires on 19-inch chrome alloy wheels. NVH is kept to a minimum with standard laminated front and side window glass and generous use of sound reducing materials.

OVERVIEW

The Kia K900 is a big car with big ambitions, and after a few tweaks, this car could be very popular with the audience it covets. The K900 feels good on the road, but handling is not yet on par with the top players. The all-new 2015 K900 challenges the rear-drive luxury sedan segment with an extensive list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations, premium driving dynamics and stunning design that will redefine consumer perception and expectations of the Kia brand. Fuel efficiency is solid coming in at 15mpg in the city and 23mpg in highway driving. Where this car is a value is the price as tested of $66,400, which torches many competitors who have charged a premium in the segment. With that being said, you can’t just be good in the luxury car segment, and in time, the K900 will only get better, which is a big win for luxury sedan buyers!

  

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