KIA ENTERS LUXURY CAR MARKET IN 2015 WITH K900 SEDAN

2015 Kia K900

By Tom Crosby

After twenty years in the United States market, Kia wants to be known as a company with a comprehensive vehicle line-up and has entered the upscale luxury sedan market with the 2015 launch the K900, a classy family sedan loaded with cutting edge safety and infotainment features at a competitive market price.

The rear-drive K900 shares some of its under-the-skin DNA with its corporate cousin, the Hyundai Genesis. (Hyundai owns more than 50% of Kia). The K900’s subframe hosts an advanced five-link fully independent front and rear suspension combined with high-strength steel in the body to create a firmly cushioned and confident ride.

The K900 flagship sedan comes with a V6 or V-8 engine. We test-drove the V8 that sprints off the starting line more like a sports car than family sedan with a smoothly shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with a manual option.

The park shifter, however, is counter-intuitive and requires familiarization. Drivers choose Eco, Normal and Sport driving modes. The Korean-made K900 sports a sleek European look with 19-inch 16-chrome spoke wheels, sharply raked windshield, character lines cut low on the doors, a signature Kia front grill atop a car-wide air dam and dual rear chrome exhaust pipes.

Headlights use 16 LED bulbs which rotate beams in turns. Handling was excellent at moderate speeds, but slightly sluggish in fast turns.

Inside, soft Nappa leather seats, stylish walnut wood trim and contrasting piping on upscale materials are appealing. We had the V8 VIP package ($6,000) that included a Heads-Up Display showing speed, turns on navigation-selected routes and white lines of the Lane Departure Warning System.

Rear seats recline for extra seating comfort, and like front seats, are heated and cooled. Blind spot detection, collision alert/braking and adaptive cruise control are part of the safety option package.

There are more than a hundred choices a driver can make from the cabin’s plethora of buttons, switches and knobs. Four wide-angle mini-cameras provide excellent views on the 12.3-inch dashboard screen, which hosts numerous functions controlled by a center spine twist and push knob.

The Lexicon high-fidelity audio system is excellent and the interior satisfyingly insulated from wind and road noise. A 10-year,100,000 mile limited warranty and a free three-year, 37,500 complimentary scheduled maintenance program add extra value to the K900’s price, which even with options beats by thousands of dollars less most German and Japanese rivals with similar features.

LIKES: Price, comfort, looks, power, ride, quiet
DISLIKES: Must buy safety options, shifter
BOTTOM LINE: One of the best bargains in the pricey, luxury sedan market

FACT FILE: 2015 KIA 900

  • Base price w/destination fee $60,400 ($66,400 as tested)
  • Curb weight 4,555 lbs.
  • Wheelbase 119.9 inches
  • Length 200.6 inches
  • Width 74.8 inches
  • Engine specs 5.0-liter, V8, DOHC, direct injection
  • Horsepower 420-hp at 6,400 rpm
  • Torque 376-lbs.-ft. at 5,000 rpm
  • Transmission 8-speed automatic w/Shiftronic
  • EPA Rating 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway
  • Range 19.8-gallon tank, regular gas
  • Performance 0-60 in less than 6 seconds