This week we drive the new luxury class 2015 Kia K900, available now at select Kia dealerships. Kia K900 delivers affluence in a “challenge the luxury you know” catchphrase promoted in advertising by Kia spokesman and movie legend Laurence Fishburn, he of Matrix movie fame.
Kia’s “luxury car” message is clear. Ask consumers to disregard luxury car heritage and accept today’s offerings from manufacturers not previously known for luxury vehicles. Fishburn is clear in his print and television messages as he taunts the consumer to forget about a “follow the luxury car pack” decision and step into a new realm of Kia opulence.
As with any new vehicle, K900 branding will take some time to accomplish. However, thanks to Kia’s quality builder reputation intact, the learning curve may be less pronounced. And, just as Acura (Honda), Lexus (Toyota) and Infiniti (Nissan) established end user luxury car acceptance, K900 will experience similar struggles for herd acceptance.
Our week of driving included two trips to the world famous Watkins Glen International road course, where the Shalen’s Six Hours of the Glen TUDOR United Sports Car Championship was held. Having access to handicapped parking (my friend is wheelchair bound), I was somewhat surprised to see many pit area spectators take time to look closely at the new K900.
Our tester was parked next to a Bob Bondurant Race School high-end sports car display, and fit in surprisingly well thanks to its white pearl exterior and beautiful 19-inch multi-spoke chrome alloys. If ever there was a test on K900’s ability to attract, this was it.
Under the hood, K900 features a 5.0-liter, 420-horsepower V8 connected to a high-tech eight-speed automatic. This combination results in a 23 highway and 15 city EPA numbers, which averages out to 18. Even with the 420-horse bullet under the hood, the numbers are acceptable but could be better especially the highway number.
On the road, quiet and refined is the norm and K900 can also handle with the best of them. This handling sure-footedness comes thanks to Kia’s high-performance with amplitude selective suspension with damper control. This setup allows extra traction and weight transfer thanks to K900’s rear drive platform. (Your dealer will tell you more). As for acceleration, the 5.0 V8 delivers 376 lb. ft. of torque and quickly moves K900 to 60-mph in less than six seconds.
Our K900 came with just one option, a $6,000 VIP package with advanced smart cruise with automatic braking (one of the best modern safety items), a safety management system, 12.3 inch full LCD instrument cluster, head-up display, surround view mirrors, driver cushion extension, power headrests, ventilated rear seats, lateral adjust rear headrests and rear seat lumbar.
On the standard feature list, owners will enjoy a panoramic sunroof, rain sense wipers, heated and cooled NAPPA leather seats, blind spot, pre-collision and lane departure warning systems, every conceivable air bag, satellite radio, four-wheel disc ABS w/traction control, rear safety back-up camera, wood trim interior, Lexicon 17-speaker surround stereo, Navigation, rear backup safety camera, power everything and numerous other high-end features.
Test Drive applauds Kia as it joins sibling Hyundai Equus in building a wonderful example of a luxury car that lists for way less than the competitors. Comparing similarly equipped BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Jaguar, Lexus, Acura and Infiniti finds K900 as a solid alternative that delivers expected luxury car amenities in a discreet manner.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 119.9 inches, 15.9 cu. ft. of cargo space, 4,643 lb. curb weight, 19.8 gallon fuel tank, 37.5 turning circle and Kia’s famous 10 year/100,000-mile warranty.
In ending, some consumers may turn their noses up at Kia K900, mainly because of the Kia badge. However, modern-day consumers who comprehend the escalating negative social attitudes towards “the haves and have nots” may seek a car exactly like the Kia K900.
It’s an Optima on “opulence steroids” and worthy of a look.
Likes: Looks, amenities, interior, power, ride, cost comparison.
Dislikes: All wheel drive unavailable, MPG needs improvement.
(Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse Media syndicate, BestRide.com and More Content Now)