Test Drive: 2015 Kia K900

Kia follows in the footsteps of its sibling Hyundai by adding a full size luxury sedan that aims to compete with its Japanese and German counterparts. Not only does the K900 pack in all the amenities you would expect of a rear-wheel drive sedan, but it does it at a fraction of the cost compared to the competition.

First Impression
If you’re expecting a discount version of a BMW 7-Series or Lexus LS, you won’t get that impression at first glance. The K900 is as classy as they get, continuing Kia’s aggressive exterior styling that is present on their other models. Its long, lean body exudes class and it’s punctuated by Kia’s standout grille on the nose. Why they ever decided to give it the robotic sounding K900 name, though, is beyond me.

What I Liked
The K900 starts at $49,995. That gives you a 3.8L V6 engine capable of 311 HP and a wealth of features that include everything from front and rear parking sensors and cameras to leather everything, a 17-speaker sound system and rear heated seats. So, yes, this is truly a luxury sedan. Try finding a full size sedan with those specs at that price. Just try.

I tested the V8 Elite model, however, which ups the engine to a 5.0L V8 capable of 420 HP. It also adds 19-inch chrome wheels, air-cooled rear seats that also recline, 360-degree camera system and more. And, of course, you’ll find a full suite of safety technology. All this for $69,995. To put that in perspective, the Lexus LS starts at $89,850 while the BMW 7-Series starts at $100,100.

So, price is obviously a big factor when entertaining the Kia K900. Inside, however, its amenities match the design and layout—as Kia tends to do, everything is place right where you would want it. Button overload isn’t an issue, voice commands actually work so you can drive and command the navigation with ease, and it’s as comfortable as any other luxury sedan I’ve been in. The legroom, both front and back, is incredible; the seats are easy to get in and out of and there’s plenty of room for adults to relax.

The rear-wheel drive is quite nice with impressive power. It may be a notch or two below the refined drive quality of some of the Germans, but it’s not that far off.

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What I Didn’t Like
The Kia K900 is a bit thirsty, especially the V8 model I drove. It’s rated at 15.7 L/100 km in the city and 10.3 L/100 km on the highway. I experienced something closer to 17 and 12 during my week with the sedan. It’s certainly not expected to a be a fuel sipper, but it would be nice to get those numbers down by a couple points.

And, sadly, Kia doesn’t offer AWD on the K900. While it’s not a deal breaker, it is strange to see a vehicle in this class not offering it as an option.

Takeaway
Kia certainly studied the market to create a luxury sedan that can compete. And they’ve succeeded with the K900. It’s a gorgeous vehicle topped to the nines with a host of features at a very reasonable price. And, while it may not have the exact drive refinement of the Germans, the differences are negligible, making it a vehicle definitely worth adding to your to-buy list if you’re shopping in this market.