Opulence and value are essentially an oxymoron. If you want quality, you stead yourself to the reality of having to justify the expense of the purchase. In the case of the newly designed Kia K900, fortunately, that excuse may not be needed. For thousands less than the competition you can have the affordable luxury with an upscale vehicle with a sumptuous exterior and avant-garde interior.
Kia continues to be one of the highest rated vehicle manufactures, and the K900 sedan insures that rating will not fall. Priced thousands of dollars less than the competition, the Kia offers a plethora of features that are useful and promise to make the buyer feel both comfortable and safe. With a starting price just under $60,000, the K900 is a five-passenger four-door with 365 horsepower, an eight-speed transmission, and all-wheel drive. A caveat to luxury car buyers is diligent with your research. Although the K900 comes pretty much fully loaded, many competitors have a low base price, but with an expansive and expensive list of options. When comparing any vehicle to the Kia see how much the competition is going to cost to build to the standard K900 package. We found that similar models when comparably equipped cost tens of thousands of dollars more.
Undoubtable, Kia’s flagship is improved over previous models and is both longer and wider with a spacious and well equipped rear seating arrangement, huge trunk, and a solid sound system. The end product is one that is directed at those not to be detracted by more expensive, and at times, competitors’ feature-deprived vehicles.
The K900 exterior is expansive and well proportioned. It expresses understated good taste. The interior is gorgeous. The leather seats are as good as the competition if not better in terms of looks and comfort. The cabin is a great place to listen to the Harman/Kardon stereo, enjoy an array of lighting features, take in the Lacroix center-mounted clock, and be coddled by electric adjustable heated and cooled seats. You can even watch the changes you make to the driver’s seat on the dash control dash monitor. The back seats have a center console to control temperature, sound and are very comfortable with the rear seat option. Safety wise the K900 is loaded, and that includes blind spot monitoring that provides an image of what is in the blind spot when the turn signal is activated. Unfortunately, on a rainy day, the cameras are difficult to decipher as the raindrops linger on the outdoor lenses. Forward-collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist and an abundance of airbags are just some of the standard safety features. Shades on the side and rear windows are easy to control, and there is always the soothing ride.
Kia’s back-up camera includes both an aerial view and the traditional rearview that are both activated when the vehicle is put in reverse. The touchscreen is a little over 12 inches, and the K900 also has knob back-ups for stereo sound and station selection. Kia has included so many goodies that it is best to learn to love the owner’s manual. My opinion is that the K900 is the best buy luxury car with a noteworthy warranty.
There is plenty of power in this competent and compelling Kia. Pulling onto a highway or passing brings the eight-speed transmission to life, and the suspension is smooth and comforting. The steering does not provide the feedback of sportier cars, but it is in keeping with buyer’s expectations. Driving modes that are controlled by the driver are Comfort, Eco, Custom, and Sport. Each selection alters the ride, but my favorite setting was Sport.
Once Sport is selected from the center console the driver’s seat tightens and holds you more firmly should you want to tempt the god’s of physics during cornering. With a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter engine producing 376 ft-lb of torque, you have plenty of poke and passing power. The all-wheel-drive system can send the power to the front or rear wheels or side to side as needed. We did our test during a record rainstorm, and the K900 never took a misstep. Look for a 0 to 60 time in the low five-second range all the while the interior is whisper quiet thanks to glass that is designed to keep the noise outside.
The EPA rating is around 21 combined mpg, but in town, we averaged only 17. It is on the highway where the K900 likes it best, and we averaged over 24 while traveling in the fast lane. With a 20.3-gallon fuel tank, you can expect about 400 miles before refueling on recommended premium. The Kia’s different driver setting adjusts the weight of the steering, suspension, to the responsiveness from the engine and transmission among other things. If this is all too much decision making, select Smart, and the Kia will do the work for you based on driving habits. If you have a yen for carving corners, the 900 will oblige with excellent handling and braking. The K900 is flexible, easily allowing you to park in the tightest spaces, hold an abundance of golf bags, and stay with the more sports-minded drivers.
Young Working Woman’s View
This car is a glamorous vehicle both inside and out. Even better, you get more for the money than most of the competition. The interior is extremely handsome with a variety of textures, and there are fun things to explore everywhere from the multi-adjustable seats, including the headrests, to the use of a button that automatically essentially flattens the passenger seat to provide more room for a backseat passenger or cargo. The trunk is well appointed and very large with over 15 cubic feet offered. What I found most attractive about the Kia K900 was that it was unobtrusive. It had styling that exuded luxury without having to shout it. Just as importantly, the heating and cooling of the interior is quick and even. Entering and exiting is easy even when wearing a tight dress and the uniquely shaped remote key is easy to use just by the feel.
Young Working Male’s View
Kia uses a very large 12.3-inch horizontal touchscreen that is designed to show up to three images at once. When parking you can see a surround view monitor of the immediate surroundings as well as being warned of traffic closing in on your location.
Kia is very advanced when using electronics compared to many luxury vehicles who complicate their systems and thus complicate it for the occupants. Besides two wireless charging pads, the K900 offers blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, an alert if the driver may need attention, forward collision warning, pedestrian alerts, a lane-alarm warning, and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capabilities. Of all those electronic safety aids the one I liked the most was the image that appears in the center gauge area that shows what is next to the car when the turn signal is activated. It is especially of value in driving in areas of heavy pedestrian activity when you are making a turn and may not see a late arrival running to make the light.
Kia has developed a buyer base based on offering lower cost, dependable vehicles that give good value. As time goes by these buyers may wish to move up and still stay within the Kia glow that they have become accustomed. In that case, the K900 would be tempting. Regardless, this is one very complete sedan.
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*** Photo courtesy of Caricos
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