2015 Kia K900 moves Korean automaker to the adult table.
Remember turning 20 or so and still being stuck at the kid’s table? You weren’t a chid anymore, but the adults didn’t really want you sitting with them. Such is the case with Kia, which just celebrated 20 years in the United States and rolled out a full fledged and competitively priced luxury sedan.
The Kia K900 hits every luxury touchpoint – and then exceeds the competition. Like its sister company, Hyundai, Kia has made luxury a requisite in every car, aiming to give customers more luxe features for the money than its competitors. Exquisite leather seats? Of course. Heated and ventilated? For sure. But then Kia goes one better, with a four way seat adjustment that is simple, intuitive, and fun to use. On the door, there is a schematic of a seat; push the one that looks like a seat back and your seat back rises. Use the bottom one that looks like your seat will move forward, and voila! It does. The driver’s AND passenger seats both have two person memory, so if you and your spouse, or car pool friend, share driving, you don’t have to play with the buttons.
Not only that – the REAR seats have the schematic. My daughters were shocked that they could actually recline their seats in the back – no economy class for them. This was part of a VIP Package that included ventilated rear seats and a driver’s seat cushion extension.
There is plenty of leg room in the back seat, and a giant center console that folds in seamlessly if you have five passengers. There is also a pass through to the trunk if you need to carry extra long items like skis.
Easy heating – and cooling
Heated seats are de rigueur now, but finding the buttons is often a challenge. Kia’s engineers smartly placed the heating and cooling icons right next the seat adjustment buttons, so you can easily get the right temperature. Back seat passengers can also control their temperature. AND the steering wheel is heated so gloves aren’t needed in cold weather.
Soft touch – from seat to doors
Having soft leather seats in a luxury sedan is a given, but soft-touch door close as an option? Like kitchen drawers that close on their own with a gentle push, this feature was new to me, and a particularly welcome feature for parents. Instead of slamming the door, you just push it gently and it closes slowly and softly. No little fingers getting caught or parent nerves fraying from slammed doors.
A push button opens the trunk, and closes it
You can access the trunk through a button in the car or the remote key fob. And a button on the lift gate closes the trunk slowly and safely – again, no fingers will be slammed here.
Sunshades keep the sun out of rear passengers eyes
When my kids were little, we had suction-cup adhered sunshades that worked for a short time. But once you suctioned the shades onto the window, you couldn’t take them down. The K900 has integrated sunshades. So what, you say? Many cars do.
Ah, but the K900 ALSO has a rear windshield sunshade. Not only that, it works by a pushbutton. Genius.
Luxury panoramic sunroof brightens a bitter winter
The interior or the car was bathed in light when we opened the power shade over the panoramic sunroof. We had no opportunity to see how the sunroof or windows felt when they were open, since we drove in one of New York’s coldest winters ever.
But we really appreciated the power folding side view mirrors. Whether you are parking in a garage, a crowded lot or on the street, you usually have to remember to fold your side view mirrors in – the Kia automatically folds them in when you turn the car off, and opens them up when you turn the car on. What an amazing touch!
Lighted USB and power ports make them easy to find
Like most new cars, the K900 includes USB and 120V outlets. On many cars, these outlets are hard to see; they are in the center consoles, or other dimly lit storage area. Well, the brains at Kia added a light around the outlets so they are easy to see.
And no fumbling around for the windshield wipers; the rain sensing wipers automatically start when the rain starts. And magic hydrophobic front door windows kept the view clear out the front, too.
Power to the people
The Kia K900’s V-8 engine purrs like a kitten, but has the power of a lion. You feel perfectly safe accelerating on to the highway or around slow traffic. The powerful engine, however, is thirsty, with the car rated at only 18 miles per gallon.
Enhanced tech package means driving like a VIP
The Kia K900 I test drove came with a VIP Package, which included smart cruise control, heads up display and surround view monitor. This last item was really cool; you could turn on a video camera and see what was around you. This proved very useful when we were parking and trying to avoid mounds of snow.
Warning: stay away from snow
Where the K900 fails is the rear wheel drive, which left us stuck on ice three times in just four days. And we were in and around New York City, not even climbing mountains out west. Parked at my mother’s in New Jersey, a sudden snow storm left us spinning wheels and fishtailing on the NJ Turnpike. Granted, we weren’t the only ones – and flashing lights warned us that the speed limit was 45, not 65, but we had to go 20 miles per hour and still the car barely held the road. There is a snow mode (in addition to a sport and eco) but it did little to help.
Easy to use tech
Many car manufacturers are finding that they need to dumb down their tech a bit; owners don’t understand how certain features work, so they don’t use them. But the K900 was easy to use; I connected my phone via Bluetooth in seconds and using the navigation system was easy with a toggle button.
Following directions was also a snap; the map showed both the upcoming and following turns, so you could be well prepared. An orange line showed where to go when there was an exit or fork in the road. The K900 has a humongous 9.2 inch touchscreen, which is very easy to read; the driver’s instrument panel also displays the directions.
The K900 has, standard, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and land departure warning. There are also standard front AND rear cameras and parking sensors. Oh – and a parking hold so you can rest your foot off the brake when you are stuck in traffic.
What We Loved
- Heated and cooled front seats, and cooled back seats
- Super comfy ride for all passengers
- Easy to use technology
- Power rear sunshade
- Panoramic sunroof
- 3D camera
- The VIP Package: once you are spending this kind of money, you might as well go all the way and get all the extras.
- Uses regular gas
- Gas mileage is for the luxury-walleted, too: 15 in the city, 23 on the highway; 18 overall
- Not yet rated for safety
- Base price: $55,555. Price for the model we drove, with VIP package: $65,500
- 10 year /100,000 mile powertrain warranty
- 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty
- 5 year / 60,000 mile roadside assistance
Note: The Kia K900 was provided for a test drive; opinions expressed are my own.