Defining luxury in cars is often a matter of perception and taste but you know it when you see it. And see it I did when I opened the door to Kia’s K900 premium sedan. Nearly every surface was covered in lusciously soft black leather, highlighted with polished walnut and silver accents. Every switch and knob moved smoothly. This is a car to be taken seriously.
Kia says the K900 defines what the brand can do. While the base price of the K900 V-8 is a hefty $59,900 it is less than other cars in the premium luxury segment. The K900’s corporate cousin is the Hyundai Equus. The 420-horsepower V-8 and eight-speed automatic transmission in the K900 are similar to those used in the Genesis and the Equus. The K900 rides on the same 119.9-inch wheelbase as the Equus and it has 38.2 inches of rear seat legroom. That’s more than the Lexus LS460, similar to the BMW 7-series but less than the Mercedes-Benz S-class.
On the road, the K900 is whisper quiet and unperturbed by less-than-perfect pavement. The V-8 can deliver a serious punch but it seemed more natural to let it propel the car serenely. There are normal, Eco and Sport modes. Fuel economy is rated at 15 miles per gallon in the city and 23 on the highway. I averaged 13.5 mpg in a week of mostly city driving in cold weather.
The K900 will also be offered with the 311-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 but when and for how much have not been announced. I think the V-6 would be my choice simply for better fuel economy.
Although the K900 is fast, it felt most at home when it was gliding gracefully. I can imagine that many K900s will be driven by chauffeurs in its home country of South Korea.
The K900’s styling is understated but elegant. The long-nose short-trunk profile starts with Kia’s trademark Tiger nose grille and ends with a beautifully curved roofline that gives the car a low, purposeful look. Highly polished, multi-spoke 19-inch wheels add to the luxury look.
The K900’s interior has excellent fit and finish. The test car from Kia’s press fleet was equipped with the optional VIP package that includes a full TFT (thin film transistor) LCD instrument cluster. The beauty of the TFT cluster is that it can be changed in an instant, going from what appear to be analog gauges to totally digital gauges. The K900’s layout changes from analog to digital when Sport mode is selected.
The 900-watt Lexicon audio system has 17 speakers. The 9.2-inch LCD screen in the center of the dash is used for navigation, audio and the around-view camera system that projects a picture of the vehicle from above so the driver can see in front, back and on all sides. The rearview camera has cross-traffic alert. Blind-spot detection is standard, and the warning is projected in the head-up display.
The smart cruise control will bring the car to a stop and automatically accelerate when traffic moves.
The base price of the test car was $59,900. The optional VIP package includes the head-up display, smart cruise control, 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster, surround view camera, power reclining rear seats, ventilated rear outboard seats, rear-seat lumbar adjustment and adjustable rear headrests. The sticker price was $66,400.
Five years or 60,000 miles, with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Complimentary scheduled maintenance for three years or 37,500-miles.
Tom Strongman’s e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
2015 Kia K900 VIP
Engine: 5.0-liter, 420-horsepower V-8
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Wheelbase: 119.9 inches
Curb weight: 4,555 pounds
Base price: $59,900
As driven: $66,400
MPG rating: 15 in the city, 23 on the highway