Exclusivity is historically a big part of the full-size luxury sedan ownership experience. The steep prices for elite European luxury sedans exclude a wide swath of shoppers and ensure that these cars remain an indulgence for a select few. With the introduction of the comparatively affordable 2015 Kia K900, though, exclusivity is put to the test.
The K900 certainly has the means to join the executive sedan ranks. It’s Kia’s largest sedan to date, and it’s about the same size nose to tail as those established large luxury sedans. The interior and trunk are correspondingly palatial. For power, there’s a 420-horsepower V8 as standard equipment initially, while a more fuel-efficient V6 will become available later on. Features? Oh, so glad you asked. The K900 comes with so much kit that it could have its own booth at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Value, however, is where Kia steps on the gas and puts everybody else in the rearview mirror. Even fully loaded, the K900 typically undercuts those Euro sedans’ base prices by tens of thousands of dollars. Those savings, along with Kia’s generous warranty coverage and three years of free scheduled maintenance, make the K900 a model of fiscal responsibility. As Kia accurately says in its tagline for this car: “Challenge the luxury you know.”
When you take a deeper look, though, you’ll likely notice some minor sacrifices made in the name of affordability. The Kia K900 lacks a perfectly resolved feel on the inside, though, to be fair, these demerits are generally limited to nitpicky details. The switchgear is of merely average quality, and the infotainment interface is a little unintuitive and complicated to use compared to the slicker interfaces in more expensive sedans. Further, the K900’s ride quality, while generally agreeable, falls just short of the standards set by other premium sedans.
However, the Kia K900 is simply too good of a bargain to ignore, and it’s certainly worth considering alongside established large luxury sedans like the 2015 Audi A8, 2015 BMW 7 Series and 2015 Lexus LS 460. Compared with the similarly priced and mechanically related 2015 Hyundai Equus, the K900 doesn’t offer a smooth-riding air suspension option, but otherwise, they’re effectively equals. As with the Hyundai, though, the biggest issue for some people will just be the Kia badge. But if you can see past the non-premium label, the 2015 Kia K900 is an impressive premium sedan with a far more inclusive price of admission.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2015 Kia K900 is a large, five-passenger luxury sedan offered in Premium and Luxury trim levels.
Standard features for the K900 Premium include 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, LED foglights, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, a power trunk lid, automatic wipers, front and rearview cameras, front and rear parking sensors and keyless ignition and entry.
On the inside, you get full power accessories, tri-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats (with driver four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, a ski pass-through opening in the rear seats, a power rear sunshade, Kia’s Uvo voice command system, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 9.2-inch display screen, a navigation system, front and rearview cameras and a 14-speaker audio system with a CD player, an iPod/USB interface and satellite and HD radio.
The Kia K900 Luxury adds LED headlights, a blind-spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert system, a lane departure warning system, a heated steering wheel, real wood trim, a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system, a different gear selector design, a credit card-sized smart key and upgraded leather upholstery. Some of these items are available as options on the Premium trim.
Options, depending on trim level, include soft-closing doors, a 12-way power-adjustable driver seat (includes power headrest and thigh support adjustments), upgraded leather upholstery, ventilated and reclining outboard rear seats with lumbar support, a virtual instrument panel, a driver head-up display, a 360-degree top-down parking camera system, adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning system and additional pre-collision safety features.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2015 Kia K900 is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 420 hp and 376 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg combined (15 city/23 highway), which trails other V8-powered luxury sedans in this class.
In Edmunds performance testing, a K900 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 5.7 seconds, about average for a premium luxury sedan.
Standard safety features for the 2015 Kia K900 include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front and rearview cameras, and Uvo eServices that includes emergency assistance and teen-oriented monitoring features such as curfew, speed and geo-fencing. The Luxury trim level also has a blind-spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and a lane departure warning system. These features are optional on the Premium trim.
Safety-enhancing options include a 360-degree top-down camera system and a frontal collision warning system that tightens the seatbelts and primes the brakes for maximum stopping power if a collision is imminent.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Kia K900 came to a stop from 60 mph in 130 feet, which is about 10 feet longer than average for this flagship segment.
Interior Design and Special Features
On the whole, the 2015 Kia K900 comes tantalizingly close to matching the quality and features of the German luxury sedans it has in its sights. The interior design is pleasingly up to date with a large 9.2-inch multifunction display mounted in the middle of the dash and cues lifted directly from BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Options provide even more comforts, including soft-close doors and reclining rear seats.
Upon closer inspection, though, the K900 comes up a little short compared with established luxury sedans. Even though the Kia’s available wood interior trim is genuine, its heavily lacquered and glittered finish gives it the look and feel of plastic. And while the infotainment controller is similar to BMW’s iDrive interface, its complicated and unintuitive menus can be a source of frustration. The numerous buttons scattered throughout the cabin also feel a bit less substantial than we’d expect. Notably absent from the options list are amenities like a rear entertainment system, redundant audio controls for backseat passengers and seatback trays.
Getting past these missteps is easy, however, when you consider the K900’s long list of standard equipment and its comfortable accommodations. Spending an entire day touring the highways and byways is easy and fatigue-free for four full-size adults thanks to well-shaped seats that are heated and ventilated. Helping to click off the miles is the powerful Lexicon sound system that offers impressive performance, regardless of your taste in music.
Cargo capacity for the K900 maxes out at 15.9 cubic feet, which is about average for the class.
In spite of the V8 engine’s impressive power output, stepping on the gas in the 2015 Kia K900 doesn’t deliver the rush that you might expect in an elite luxury sedan. Instead, speed gathers quietly and effortlessly, and before you know it you’re already matching other cars on the interstate. At cruising speed, the K900’s cabin is nearly devoid of wind and road noise. It’s one of the quietest cars we’ve tested recently.
The ride quality is comfortable, too, and most bumps and ruts are absorbed with ease. On choppy pavement, however, the ride is a little on the busy side compared to other large luxury sedans. Unlike with most rivals, there’s no option to order an adaptive suspension to further smooth out the ride. An adaptive suspension would also help shore up the car’s handling abilities. But as of now, the 2015 Kia K900 feels heavy and out of its element when driven with gusto around turns.