“Wow! Very nice car! What is it?”
“What? You're kidding... A Kia, really?”
Future owners of the Kia K900 better be prepared to answer those questions all the time. That's because the value-oriented Korean brand is expanding its portfolio with a surprisingly refined and luxurious, albeit understated, new product.
The 2015 Kia K900 V8 Elite hits the bull's eye as a mind-blowingly classy and handsome full-size sedan. Most people would be hard-pressed to identify this model if you'd cover the logo on the edge of the hood. In fact, that may be the only problem with this car: Kia's reputation (or lack thereof) as a premium-car make.
Time could arrange all that, however. After all, who would have thought 20 years ago that Kia would enjoy so much success as it does now?
Living the high life
It's strange, I know, but I often adapt my driving to the type of vehicle I'm in. With a hybrid, for instance, I suddenly transform into a hypermiler; behind the wheel of a sports car, I feel a deep urge to push the machine to the limit (read: mine) because I know it can handle it.
Sitting in the new 2015 Kia K900 V8 Elite, I'm living the life of the rich and famous -- and I love it!
While styling is low-key and unpretentious both inside and out, there's no denying the outrageously opulent character of the K900, with a comprehensive array of technologies, comfort features, and advanced safety systems. Add a 5.0L V8 engine that produces 420 horsepower while averaging about 13.9L/100km, and you're in for a real treat.
The 2015 Kia K900 V8 Elite also boasts an 8-speed automatic transmission, 19” chromed alloy wheels, and a wonderfully compliant, multi-link suspension -- making your time on the road incredibly pleasant. Rear-seat passengers will even feel like you're chauffeuring them around.
I won't list all the goodies in the K900 V8 Elite, but I'd still like to point out a few:
- Panoramic sunroof;
- Power rear and rear-side window sunshades;
- Premium Nappa leather seats;
- Eight standard airbags;
- Power reclining, heated/cooled rear seats with a centre armrest offering audio and climate controls, plus a USB charging port and cup holders;
- Tri-zone, fully automatic temperature control;
- Thick, soundproof glass allowing you to enjoy the 900W, 17-speaker Lexicon premium audio system that much more.
Hey, the driver has a sweet time, too! There's a 16-way power adjustable seat, 12.3" TFT LCD Supervision instrument cluster, voice-activated navigation, an advanced heads-up display system, and LED interior mood lighting (that's after making it to the car thanks to puddle lights that illuminate the door handle and even the ground below it). On the safety front, you can count on electronic stability and traction control systems, front and rear parking cameras, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, and more.
I particularly liked the turn signals (a single push or tug on the lever flashes the lights five times), adaptive LED headlights (offering super-crisp lighting), as well as the 360° monitoring system (four cameras overall) that makes it much easier to manoeuvre confidently in tight spaces.
On the other hand, I did not appreciate the side mirrors that pivot down when backing up: I want to be able to see behind the car, not the pavement underneath! Likewise, I became pretty annoyed by the driver's seat which automatically slid back every time I turned the engine off.
Finished in Aurora Black, and featuring an all-black interior with genuine wood inlays, my tester's price amounted to $71,614 (freight and PDI included). Competitors include the Acura RLX, Audi A6, Cadillac XTS, and Hyundai Genesis/Equus, just to name a few. If you can afford one of these cars, I strongly invite you to give the Kia K900 a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised... yet again.