2014 Kia K900
An unfortunate name
Date Posted: September 4, 2014
By Zack Spencer
The Kia K900 shares the same platform as the Hyundai Genesis and Equus. Kia tuned this full-size sedan very differently and not with the best results.
Luxury is funny thing in the automotive market. To one person it might be having all the refinements and gadgets available in a modern car accompanied with a smooth and quiet ride. To another buyer it might just be about the name on the front of the car, letting all to see it that the owner has “made it” establishing a certain status in society. For many it’s a combination of both. Enter the new Kia K900 luxury sedan from Kia. It has all the refinement and features found in cars with a longer pedigree in the luxury space but this car does it at a discount. Then the name on the car comes into play. Is the Kia K900 a car anyone aspires to own? Well, after a weeklong trip with my family I’m more impressed with Kia than I have been before but the realist in me knows Kia isn’t a luxury brand, at least not yet.
The K900 is an unfortunate name, it begs the question is this a dog? No, it is a full-size car about the same size as a 7-series from BMW or S-Class from Mercedes Benz. The K900 is based on the same platform as the Hyundai Equus but differs in price and content. For a full-sized car with limo-like dimensions, the K900 starts at a remarkable $49,995 for the V6 model and $60,995 for the V6 premium model. The top V8 model is $69,995. The styling is strong, especially the top V8 model seen here with LED headlamps and taillights and very North American looking chrome multi-spoke wheels. The rear doors are huge and Kia has done but good job of keeping the proportions of the car in check while grafting Kia’s signature Tiger Nose grille. The rear bumper and lower air diffuser looks especially chunky, almost mimicking the Lexus LS and its integrated exhaust tips.
Every person that sat in the K900 was blown away with the refinement, fit and finish and especially the materials used. The V8 test model had leather covering the front of the dash and piano finish on the wood trim accented. Add in tasteful chrome and aluminum, dark, rich wood on the steering wheel and centre console and the K900 looks like a million bucks. The front and rear seats came with ventilation and V8 models have a rear seat reclining feature. Spending countless hours behind the wheel traveling with two children in the back made for a very relaxing ride for the passengers, not a peep was heard and the kids especially liked the cooled seats on a very hot day. The centre infotainment screen is controlled with a rotary dial in-between the front passengers and is very similar to Audi’s MMI system. The Bluetooth streaming audio didn’t work, or wouldn’t recognize my device but I could get the phone to connect for phone calls.
The V6 model comes with the very competent 3.8L engine that puts out 311hp. having tried this in other Hyundai/Kia products and it is smooth and powerful. The V8 is superb, with 420hp coming from a 5.0L V8, there is no lack of power. The shift in the auto industry is to smaller engines that utilize turbo charging but Kia is sticking with good old engine displacement to get the job done. Covering over 1000km the real world fuel economy the V8 used 12L/100km on the highway. To say that the K900 is smooth and quite is an understatement, I would put this car up against the new S-Class from Mercedes and a blindfolded passenger would have a hard time distinguishing the difference. What does become apparent is the K900’s lack of steering feedback to the driver and cornering ability. On highway 3 from Hope towards Penticton the K900 wallowed in the switchback corners, it really didn’t like it at all. Driving back on the Coquihalla was a different story; the K900 shines in open road cruising, making it a wonderful long road trip companion.
The K900 is Kia’s very first pure luxury car and they got a lot right. The interior is as good as anyone in the marketplace and Kia does it at a substantial discount to the competition and power isn’t a problem especially with the big V8 available. But there were a few problems. The automatic lock and unlock feature on the outside doors only unlocked. This is probably a quick fix but an issue and the Bluetooth audio didn’t work either. Another stumbling block is the lack of all wheel drive (AWD). In this segment almost all vehicles sold come with AWD, in fact most companies only offer it. The last is the aspirational element that just can’t be overlooked. Is anyone in the market for a full-size luxury car going to cross-shop the K900 with a BMW, Mercedes or Audi? Probably not. The market for this car is a happy existing Kia owner wanting to upgrade to something more and that is where the V6 model comes into play. Kia might not sell many of these cars but they have it for sale to show anyone that is interested that they can make a true luxury car, maybe not in name but in features and refinement.
Power: 3.8L V6 with 311hp or 5.0L V8 with 420hp
Fill-up: 15.7L/10.3L/100km (city/highway V8)
Sticker price: $$49,995-$69,995
What does become apparent is the K900’s lack of steering feedback to the driver and cornering ability.