2015 Kia K900 Quick Take: Less is More
Luxury cars have become almost a commodity. The level of technology, features, creature comforts and vehicle dynamics are universally high. What moves buyers these days are the intangibles: prestige, tradition and exclusivity. Into this environment comes an upstart, Korean automaker Kia with its all-new 2015 K900 sedan.
Where others in the luxury segment promise more, the Kia's strong point is its ability to offer less when it comes to pretention, ostentation and price. Understated elegance is the byword here. From its restrained styling (though its grille does have a hint of Maserati to it), to the execution of the interior, the 2015 Kia K900 is about offering a ton of features, high quality materials and a solid driving experience that does nothing really to break new ground, but is executed in a way to where you feel you're getting more than your money's worth.
The Perfect Black Car
Whether you are driving or riding in the K900, the first impression is that it would make the perfect livery car for long trips to and from the airport or a city center for a night out on the town. From the driver's seat, there's plenty of power from the 420-horsepower 5.0-liter V8. It's mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission that for the most part is seamless in operation, though it can be caught out from time to time if you tip in or out of the throttle too quickly. The shifter, though, has a nice action in selecting gears (some may quibble that it is counterintuitive in pushing the lever forward to engage reverse), but I found the detents and the gears much easier to find on the Kia than on Chrysler's or BMW's shift by wire selectors.
The ride, as you'd expect from a car of this length (200.6 inches) and girth (4,634 pounds), is smooth and well controlled, the steering is fairly direct, but not as crisp as we've come to appreciate in European luxury models. Still, the K900 is easy to maneuver in traffic and parking decks alike and has plenty of room for both front and rear passengers to stretch out. In fact, the back seat has plenty of legroom and a reclining feature that gives the car true limousine comfort.
There is no shortage of standard features, from safety items like blind spot and lane departure warnings to high end accoutrements such as a power sunroof and a number of window shades. There's even a front looking counterpart to the backup camera to make sure you don't bump into anything while parking. The controls are all straightforward and standard models come with a 9.2-inch LCD center console display that is not a touchscreen. Instead, items are selected via a center mounted twist knob flanked by auxiliary switches.
The quality of the materials, from the Nappa leather to the genuine wood trim are all top notch and the overall cabin design matches the exterior. It has an elegant, tailored appearance that fits in with the car's restrained nature. Also restrained is the sticker price, which has a base of $59,500-some $15,000 less than the 2014 Lexus LS460 and $30,000 below the 2014 BMW 7 Series. Our test vehicle was also equipped with a $6,000 VIP package that included a larger 12.3-inch console screen, a head-up display, full vehicle surround view cameras, smart cruise control and additional lumbar and thigh support and the reclining rear seats. Total all in including delivery is $66,400 for a luxury car that does many things well without drawing attention to itself, which may redefine expectations from those looking for the finer things in life.
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