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2015 Kia K900 Review By John Heilig +VIDEO


By John Heilig

Model: 2015 Kia K900
Engine: 5.0-liter V8
Horsepower/Torque: 420 hp @ 6,400 rpm/376 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.9 in.
Length x Width x Height: 200.6 x 74.8 x 58.7 in.
Tires: P275/40R19 (R)/ P245/45R19 (F)
Cargo: 15.9 cu. ft.
Economy: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway/19.8 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 19.8 gal.
Curb Weight: 4,555 lbs.
Sticker: $56,400 (includes $900 inland freight, $5,000 options (VIP package)

The Bottom Line: While the Hyundai Equus reminded me more of a big luxury sedan, the Kia K900, built on the same platform, is more like a Jaguar sedan; sportier, more stiffly sprung, and with an exhaust that’s throatier at full blast.

I’ll admit I’ve been blessed with this gig I have of testing cars. But here’s a new one.

The week I had the Kia K900, I was invited by Kia to attend the Belmont Stakes. While my wife and I were anxiously following the quest for the Triple Crown by California Chrome, I was also interested because I grew up about 15 minutes from Belmont Park and had spent several afternoons there. So we accepted.

The route the computer chose was not the most ideal, but it was fun. We had a spate of high speed Interstate travel, a run up the New Jersey Turnpike to the George Washington Bridge, through Manhattan and The Bronx and into Queens, then Nassau.

After our high speed run, traffic got gnarly in Manhattan and the Bronx, and impossible in Queens. Impossible was good compared to ridiculous around the track. More than 130,000 people were trying to get into the track and we were on the wrong side of the street to make a left turn. Eventually we got in to the track and enjoyed the experience, even if we had trouble seeing the horses. The ride home was much more pleasant.

The K900 is built on the same platform as the Hyundai Equus. So while the same experience in the Equus might not have been as much fun, we enjoyed it as much as we could in the K900, which appears to have used Jaguar sedans as benchmarks. A large sedan, the K900 seems to have a slightly stiffer suspension that is designed for sportier driving. In addition, the styling is very reminiscent of Jaguar with the modified Kia grille even mimicking the Jag grille.

Flanking the grille are adaptive LED headlights with 16 bulbs. There are four square bulbs on each side for low beam and the other four for high beam. It gives an interesting look.

Even with a luxury large sedan, the bad parts of our ride were more pleasant than they would have been in an older, smaller Kia. We had comfortable seats and room to stretch out. If we had brought along rear seat passengers, they would have discovered that the rear seats reclined a bit. True, “reclined” doesn’t mean horizontal, but it’s better than an airline seat.

There is excellent power from the 5.0-liter V8, combined with an 8-speed automatic. During our trip tom the races, we didn’t get many opportunities to stretch the K900’s legs, but we have a spot where we can just floor the accelerator and en joy the half-mile uphill run. The transmission’s shifter is BMW-inspired, with a DRL pattern from the top and a pushbutton park. I prefer the more standard pattern, but you can learn to live with DRL.

The K900 also has “Goldilocks” handling. It isn’t too soft or firm, it’s just right. The K900 isn’t softly sprung, nor is it the type of car you’d want to run through tight turns in, but it will make your ride enjoyable.

Facing the driver is a virtual instrument panel that is configurable. Sometime during our trip we pushed a button somewhere and our analog tachometer and speedometer became digital instruments. I prefer analog, so I found the button and switched back later. The tasteful black and white interior adds to the sporty feel.

The front seats don’t offer a lot of side support. I would have liked to see more to go with the sporty character of the K900. The seats are comfortable on long rides, even those with annoying traffic snarls. Seat adjusters are on the doors and are lighted at night.

In the rear, the adjustable seats are comfortable. With the arm rest and the console down, they give more of a bucket seat feel. There is excellent leg room in the rear. The rear seat console offers HVAC heate3d and cooled seat controls, controls for the shades at all rear windows. You can also move the front seats from the back if you so choose.

During our visit to the Belmont Stakes, we met a couple who bragged that they were a two-Kia family. We agreed that the cars coming out of modern Kia are solid, good looking and fun to drive. The K900 is the epitome of all that is good from Kia.

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