This is a car that we were expecting from Kia since Peter Schreyer took over and started redesigning the new Kia models. On December 17, 2010 the South Korean manufacture decided to discontinue the Amanti/Opirus, a car that was able to win some awards and also get the good rating on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), for a new creation that will attract a new type of car buyer to Kia.
It was only a matter of time until this car was going to be sold here, in the USA. In 2012 this car was first sold in South Korea with the name of K9 then to different markets under Quoris. For the USA and Canada market it was decided to call this car the Kia K900, a very powerful car that will bring new features that no other Kia car has brought so far.
For this test drive thanks to Southwest Kia Mesquite we were able to test drove the K900 V8 VIP model, which is the top of the line from the K900 models. When talking to James, he mention that most people who are considering for this type of car will want to get the all options available they can and for that reason we were given the VIP model.
The moment I was giving the keys of the car, some of the sales people came outside to look at the car and even take a quick spin of the car, it also grab many customer attention by this new unknown vehicle, in which i’m sure many of them didn’t knew it was a Kia car they were looking at.
The Kia K900’s cousin will be the Hyundai Equus. Their rivals are the Lexus LS 460, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S550 and BMW 740i. These are car manufacture that has been on this segment for many years, so definitely Kia has some tough competition that will have to stand apart from.
For me the exterior it’s somehow conservative, I wasn’t expecting anything too aggressive either since it’s their first Premium luxury sedan. I believe Kia didn’t want to risk too much by designing a too aggressive car, something like Hyundai did with the new 2.0 fluidic sculpture on the 2015 Hyundai Genesis sedan but more like showing what they can do and bring to customer on this new segment they are entering. Some of the lines might seem familiar and is because you can find some similarities from their younger siblings, the Cadenza and Optima.
One thing that will get your attention immediately is the headlights, which are not your regular halogen. These are LEDs and you will find 8 per headlight, the greatest thing about this headlight is they will adjust with the road, aiming the right direction when going into a curve. The parking lights are also LEDs but they are form in a way that gives the front an aggressive look, this also found on the Forte line. The taillights as well as the fog lights will also equip with LEDs.
Next you will find the well-known Kia signature Tiger Nose grill that we are all familiar with. In there you see a front camera that will come handy when trying to park your car without hitting the sidewalk in front, we all hate that scrap sound.
On the sides you will have the side mirrors with led indicators, that will greet you by flipping them open when you get near the car, also below them you get another camera that will come to live in reverse, we will talk about that later.
The K900 V8 VIP includes as standard equipment staggered P245/45P-19 front and P275/40R-19 rear tires on 19-inch chrome alloy wheels. Those rear tires are very well needed for all the horsepower this K900 has.
You will be greeted with a luxury and comfortable looking interior. For this review we got a white Nappa leather interior, which makes the interior pops more and poplar wood trims across the dash and door panels adding the premium luxury look.
The white Nappa leather on the seats makes the entire interior more elegant, you also have a lot room on those seats and they feel really comfortable, with that comfort you also have the heated and ventilated for the front seats which are a huge plus feature and they come as standard. Also the 16 ways adjustment on this seats are very convenient, you even have power headrest and cushion extender. All of these can be control from the door panel.
Once inside you can reach for the steering wheel, this one is a leather steering wheel including the heated feature for those cold temperatures, this comes standard on the V8. You will also find buttons that will control cruise control, audio, entertainment and the K900 information. One thing I dislike was the size of the center of the steering wheel, to me it was too big. I believe the steering wheel doesn’t flow well with the inside design. The big plus was the location of all the controls. These were very close to the fingers, so finding them will be quick and won’t distract you while driving.
Looking forward you will notice the Head-unit Display, this is first on a Kia vehicle and it comes standard on the V8 VIP. The information shown on the windshield are vehicle speed, turn-by-turn navigation, and alerts including the Blind Spot Detection System and Lane Departure Warning System. The graphics are not as good as the new Genesis but of course the Genesis is newer than the K900 but I’m sure this will improve.
The cluster for this particular model is a 12.3 TFT screen, also a first on a Kia vehicle. This Full color LCD screen will display all the information of the car as well as all the features. One of the things I loved of the screen, is when switching modes, on this case the sports mode, the whole screen changes giving a sportier looking cluster. This screen is also found on the V8 VIP as standard.
Your entertainment system will be a 9 inches screen that will display your FM/AM radio, SXM radio, Media and your navigation system. This can only be control by the navigation knob below the shifter, since it’s not touch screen. Navigating with the knob wasn’t as hard I thought it would be, so it might not be a deal breaker not been touch screen.
Another thing I loved of this K900 is shifting into Reverse, the screen will split in 2 showing the reverse camera and on the other half all the cameras on this car will activate and display a 360 surrounding view of the car. This will come very handy while parking or exiting from those very small parking spots that are becoming more common now. If you thought the rear camera improved your parking, this will blow your mind.
The rear passengers also receive the luxury threat, both seats have the ability to independently recline and also have power lateral headrest adjustability and lumbar support (for VIP package). As standard you have the armrest control for ventilation and the power rear window sunshade.
V8 power!!! This TAU DOHC engine produce 420 HP @ 6,400 rpm and 376 LB-FT @ 5,000 rpm, making the fastest Kia production car and also the first Kia to have this engine. Even though you are not require to add premium gasoline these numbers were made with premium gasoline.
This car was also design for fuel efficiency so you will also find Gasoline Direct injection and the dual CVVT variable timing. For this engine Kia has placed the 8 speed automatic transmission.
As mention before you can also change modes between normal, ECO and Sports. Normal and ECO you already know what it does but for the Sports, not only this will change the cluster but also will improve on the already smooth shifting as well as adjust the steering wheel sensitivity for that driving rush you sometimes want to feel.
Stepping on the pedal you can hear the V8 power but not as much because this car is meant for luxury so the outside road noise it also substantially reduce giving a very quiet ride to your destination. You might not hear engine but that doesn’t away the feel of pushing you back to your seat.
Driving the K900 was a weird experience at the beginning because I knew it was a Kia but I mean that in a very good way. From all the Kia cars I drove so far this has to be the most exciting one yet, it’s a mix between the luxury feel with the incredible power the V8 throws at you and let’s now forget this is also their first Rear Wheel Drive for Kia giving a total different experiences of how you previously drove a Kia car.
There are many new things in this car that you have to take a step back and remind yourself you are still driving a Kia car since previously these were found elsewhere. With that I’m sure you will also get the same question a lot people will ask you over and over again, is that a Kia?
Kia is proving now to their competitors that a Premium Luxury car doesn’t necessarily have to have a high cost. On this K900 V8 VIP model you will be saving from 20 to 10 thousand dollars comparing to its competition. But the big question remains, would you let a Kia logo in front of a premium luxury car change your mind?
Personally I was waiting for this car to show up, a game changer for what Kia can offer today and what’s coming in the future to all the other models and new models too.
We left out couple things about this K900 but I’ll talk in more deeply when we get our hands on this car for a longer period of time to fairly review each feature this K900 has.
Once again, thank you James Seale from Southwest Kia Mesquite for letting us drive this beauty. Be sure to check out their website for all the car they have available, including all their K900 models on stock.
And remember folk’s! As Bill Dickason says “If I can’t beat a new KIA deal in Texas, I’m just gonna give it to ya”.
Southwest KIA Mesquite