Introduced for 2015, the K900 sedan stood ready to determine how far upmarket Americans were willing to go in accepting the Kia brand. Judging by facts and figures, it’s practically the textbook definition of a large premium sedan. All it lacks is a prestigious brand name. But so far, that missing element might not matter too much to customers who simply want a smooth-running, spacious sedan that performs well and is loaded with equipment.
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2016 Kia K900 Overview
What's New for 2016
All-new for 2015, the K900 debuted with V8 power only, to be followed by a V6 version. For 2016, it’s offered in three trim levels, two of them with a V6 engine. Exterior enhancements include 18-inch wheels for V6 sedans and new 19-inch chromed wheels for the V8 model. The grille has been revised, and the rear-end modified with updated chrome trim and a fresh bumper. A new Smart Power Trunk opens the lid automatically when the key fob is nearby for more than three seconds. Autonomous Emergency Braking is newly available, capable of bringing the K900 to a full stop. The navigation system now uses a 9.2-inch touchscreen. Kia’s UVO Luxury Services can enable direct communication to the vehicles for such features as remote start/stop. New paddle shifters are available for all trim levels.
Choosing Your Kia K900
Three trim levels are offered: V6 Premium,V6 Luxury, and V8 Luxury. The V6 models hold a 3.8-liter engine that develops 311 horsepower. The sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic, mating with rear-wheel drive. In V8 Luxury trim, a 5-liter V8 produces 420 horsepower.
Premium V6 sedans have shift-by-cable, but other trim levels use shift-by-wire. All models use electro-hydraulic power steering. Smart Drive Mode Select offers Sport/Normal/Comfort/Snow settings. Fuel economy with the V6 engine is estimated at 17 mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the highway. With the V8, the estimates drop to 15/23 mpg (city/highway).
Comprehensive VIP option packages are available for the V6 and V8 Luxury models.
For $61,900 in top V8 Luxury form, the K900 represents a bit of an enigma. That V8 version is more powerful than similarly-priced luxury sedans like the BMW 535i and Lexus GS350, while offering some features that they lack. Kia’s K900 is more spacious, too. If a V8 isn’t needed, the price gets substantially more tempting, considering the lengthy V6 equipment list. Bottom line: a K900 could be ideal for buyers who welcome a good deal, and don't crave the image that accompanies a premium German brand.
2016 Kia K900 Review
Fighting for respect and attention in a highly-competitive full-size luxury sedan marketplace, the 2016 Kia K900 proves this formerly economy-minded budget brand now deserves a spot on the top shelf.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Kia K900 is powered by an all-new 311-horsepower V6 ; a 420-horsepower V8 is optional. Regardless of engine choice, the rear-wheel drive K900 makes gear changes with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2016 Kia K900 is available in three trim levels.
- The base V6 Premium starts at $49,000
- The V6 Luxury starts at $54,900
- Pricing for the top-trim V8 Luxury begins at $61,900
Pricing does not include destination and handling charges.
V6 trims are powered by an all-new 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 311 horsepower and 293 pound-feet of torque. The V8 Luxury trim ups the ante with a 5-liter V8 that churns out a stout 420 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque.
- Acceleration is strong with either engine, but the V8 steals the show when it comes to straight-line performance and highway passing.
- Regardless of engine choice an efficient eight-speed transmission makes the gear changes. At the Luxury trim level, gearboxes boast Kia’s “shift-by-wire” system which improves the overall lifespan of the K900’s transmission by eliminating select mechanical parts.
- Fuel economy ranges from the almost-efficient 17 mpg city and 26 mpg highway for the base V6 model to a less inspiring 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for the V8-powered version.
Handling is sufficient for the nature of the comfortable cruiser, but the numb steering and uninspiring suspension add up to make the K900 lacking when it comes to pleasing the enthusiast crowd. Comparable sedans from the Germans only make the situation seem worse by comparison; of course companies like BMW and Audi have had decades to dial in superior road handling.
The K900 is also available only as a rear-wheel drive car, limiting use in inclement weather climates.
The 2016 Kia K900’s cabin exhibits refinement and a long list of standard features that you’ve come to expect in a moderately-priced premium brand luxury sedan.
- The standard leather-trimmed seats are comfortable and supportive; the rear seats offer plenty of leg and head room for adults.
- An attractive panoramic sunroof expands the K900’s greenhouse, exploiting the sedan’s spacious interior by flooding the cabin with sunlight.
- Standard and optional technology found in the K900 is impressive. Base models have a 9.2-inch high-definition touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. A 14-speaker AM/FM/HD/CD/SiriusXM audio system is standard and a 17-speaker 900-watt Lexicon Logic7 audio system is used in all Luxury trims.
- Kia’s proprietary “UVO Luxury Services” are now complemented by an embedded modem that allows owners to connect to the K900 and remotely operate functions including start/stop, climate control, and lock/unlock with the UVO app.
The truth is most people will be a little surprised that Kia's K900 wears a non-premium brand badge.
While nice, the K900’s interior still borrows a bit from the Kia’s historically non-premium DNA.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
If you think you know all about Kia but haven’t sat inside the K900, you don’t. It is surprisingly good, especially for a manufacturer’s first attempt at a high-end car. Even in the second year of production, the K900 has already experienced a significant addition of standard and optional equipment.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
While Kia deserves to be applauded for a job well done, the K900 has a way to go before it is a legitimate slayer of European luxury sedans. It looks great, the interior is loaded with tech, but the driving dynamic is a little lacking overall.
The Bottom Line
While I’m not ready to tell everyone to rush out and buy the 2016 Kia K900, I do feel that the luxury sedan represents excellent value in a tightly-contested segment. Given Kia’s five-year/50,000 mile and ten-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty and recent awards for initial quality, shoppers looking for a comfortable sedan that looks great and performs well won’t be disappointed, especially in light of the price tag.