Road Test: 2016 Kia K900

The 2016 K900 challenges the rear-drive luxury sedan segment with an extensive list of standard equipment, world-class accommodations, premium driving dynamics and stunning design that redefines perception and expectations of the Kia brand.

Offered in two variations, Premium and Luxury, the K900’s list of standard equipment features first-class accommodations and advanced technology.

Ride and Handling

Pushing the K900 on winding roads, it feels extremely secure, much more than we expect from a large sedan. It’s a plush, supple, controlled and even sporty. Multiple driving modes enable different throttle and steering calibrations, with sport mode being our favorite for adding not just heft but true road feel to the steering. Comfort mode softens everything for highway cruising and pothole laden local roads.

18″ wheels and tires are standard and do a fine job of absorbing harsh roads while balancing enough grip for spirited driving.

Braking

Braking performance is commendable, with a slightl touchiness at first but linear braking performance as the pedal moves down.

Powertrain and Fuel Economy

Kia’s 3.8L Lambda engine produces 311 HP and 293 lb-ft of torque. The GDI engine provides more than enough pep to move this roomy sedan and sounds great doing it too. The 8-speed automatic is smooth as silk.

Fuel economy after a week of local and highway driving (30/70) averages in at 24.3 mpg. The EPA rates the K900 at 17/25/20 (city/highway/combined).

Noise

The cabin is bank-vault quiet on the road, the engine muffled but still audible with more throttle input. Wind and road noise are virtually non-existent thanks to lamented glass, extra door sealing and a solid strucutre.

Headlights

HID headlights provided an impressive amount of illumination down the road. We’d rate these headlights near the top but would like to see them project a bit further. The high-beams project far and wide. These also feature “Dynamic Bending Light” which swivels the low-beams around corners in relation to the steering position.

Interior Fit and Finish

Nearly every surface is stitched, leather-wrapped, padded, soft or trimmed in a wood veneer. Kia’s design team did a superb job in making the interior feel warm and luxurious. All materials look of quality and every panel gap and mating surface is equal to or better than vehicles costing twice as much.  The suede headliner and wrapped pillars feel incredibly luxurious.

Seating

With adjustments for the 16-way power seat located on the door (like Mercedes-Benz), the K900 feels excellent from the driver’s seat. The seats are wide, supportive and the leather buttery soft. Rear seat comfort is excellent, with generous room all around and executive-style seating. Both rear seating positions power recline and adjust in a myriad of positions for the ultimate comfort. The fold-down center armrest features all the controls.

Front and rear seats feature multi-level heating and cooling, and the steering wheel is heated too. Rear door sunshades and a power rear window sunshade filter out excess light.

The steering wheel is power-adjustable and lifts out of the way upon turning the K900’s engine off.

A panoramic roof on our test vehicle brought even more light and warmth into the cabin.

Visibility

Visibility is average, with the A-pillars being a moderate nuisance. The large rear window and large side door glass area helps see around the car. Four cameras mounted around the car provide a birds-eye image of the K900 to make parking a cinch.

Auto-dimming mirrors on both doors as well as the inside rear-view mirror contribute to better visibility at night because of reduced glare from other vehicles.

Gauges and Controls

Gauges are simple and tastefully designed. A myriad of buttons across the dash and center console operate the various functions of the K900 and they’re all large and easy to read. We’d like to see Kia go for more symbols on the buttons and less text in the future, for example a pictogram of a phone on the center console media interface button instead of the text “Phone.”

The Head-Up Display (HUD) system on our tester is easy to read and adjustable in content as well as position on the windshield.

Kia retains knobs and buttons for all functions with redundant controls in the infotainment system.

Infotainment

A massive 9.2″ display is centered in the K900’s dashboard, displaying navigation, audio, climate, UVO and various vehicle settings. We like the speed at which the system responds and the knob/button interface works well while driving. We hope Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are offered soon.

The Lexicon 17-speaker, 900-watt surround sound system is heavenly and a joy for anyone who enjoys clarity and high fidelity music. The inputs include AM, FM, XM, CD, HD radio, USB, 3.5mm and Bluetooth.

Crash-Avoidance

Blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and a backup camera are standard. Lane departure warning, surround view monitor, automatic emergency braking and advanced smart cruise control are optional.

Crash Test Results

The 2016 Kia K900 has not yet been crash tested by the IIHS or NHTSA.

Sumary Scorecard (1-10)
Ride and Handling 10
Braking 9
Powertrain and Fuel Economy 8
Noise 10
Headlights 8
Interior Fit and Finish 10
Seating 10
Visibility 7
Gauges and Controls 8
Infotainment 7
Crash-Avoidance 10
Total Score 88%
Facts
Make: Kia
Model: K900
Trim Level: Luxury V6
Engine: 3.8L V6
Transmission: 8-Speed Auto
Options: VIP Package
Base Price: $54,900
As-Tested Price: $59,000

 

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