Remember when you were told “you can be and do anything you want?” That you shouldn’t be intimidated by your colleagues, no matter how successful and established they are? That you should pave your own path, own it and be proud of it, regardless of what others may think. And that it doesn’t matter what your shirt says, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.
And even if you’re the new kid on the block and your competition is an industry leader that you should still put your best feet forward and be damn proud of what you have to offer.
That seems to be the mantra Kia has taken with their astounding K900 flagship rear-wheel drive, head turning, jaw dropping luxury sedan. I know, I know, I’m gushing about the car early in the review but with a starting price at only a Sir Wilfrid Laurier below $70,000 for the V8 Elite trim, there’s plenty to gush about, especially since that’s the only price, meaning that Kia has jammed everything into this Elite trim. No option boxes to check off, no “I’d like to add this, that and the other thing”. What you see is what you get. And beautifully, the K900 gives you a plethora of luxury.
When you have a price tag that the K900 comes with, you’d better be getting one helluva car, regardless of what the logo on the steering wheel is. For now, those three letters are the one element that isn’t quite the K900’s forte. Kia’s known for making great compact cars/CUV’s/SUV’s/sedans. They’re not a contender in the luxury market…at least they weren’t prior to the K900.
During my week with the K900, I had to repeatedly assure the many people that asked that yes, this in fact was a Kia offering. The dumbfounded looks were nearly priceless. Ok, maybe they were worth $69,995 plus freight and PDI.
The long, lean stance of the K900 is, to me, nearly perfect in the luxury segment. It was designed to be a stunning luxury vehicle and that’s what it delivers. Elongated, smooth lines, an elegant stance and available in three colors (black, white, silver), LED adaptive headlights, and a classically simple design. Well done, Mr. Schreyer. Riding on 19” chrome wheels certainly doesn’t hurt, even if the rims are a bit too conservative for my liking. If you’ve said “Jay, doesn’t the rear remind you of the Lexus LS?” you’d see me nod in agreement. But come on, it’s similar, not a replica.
The interior is where the K900 earns top marks and here’s why. Every light I saw was an LED, which strengthens the ambiance of the car. The Elite trim offers Nappa leather seats that move in every which way to offer a comfortable position for any shape, real wood trim, a 17 speaker Lexicon audio system, a 12.3” centre console operated by a rotary dial and action buttons (think BMW’s iDrive system) and a wide array of other components, including a 360 degree camera, plenty of technology, heated and cooled seats to name but a few. While the seats aren’t quite Volvo worthy yet, they’re incredibly comfortable and supportive. Then again, this is Kia’s debut into the luxury market…give them a bit of time and perhaps they’ll give the Swedes a run for their money.
If you’re a rear passenger, you’ve got plenty of comfort with reclining seats, climate control and plenty of leg and head room.
Oh, and the power pull doors ensure you’ll never leave your door ajar again.
Shifting to the dashboard, Kia has placed one large LCD screen to give you all relevant driving information, which has a classy look and includes a heads-up display.
On the road, the V8 motor breathes 420 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque through an eight speed transmission fed via premium fuel. And unsurprisingly, since this is a luxury vehicle and all, the ride quality is superb. True, the K900’s competitors are heavy set and this is offering no exception. Giving your right foot 420 giddy and galloping ponies ensures that your on-ramp and passing abilities will never be questioned. Simply put, the car drives like a luxury car should; with power, grace and elegantly.
Oh, and for anyone who’s skeptical of this car, Kia just won the USA-based AutoPacific’s 19th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards for the most satisfying vehicle overall based on owner feedback.
Vehicle owners seem to be quite vocal for their love/hate for their car so this is a good win for Kia.
While it seems that Kia’s incredibly late to luxury market game, I applaud them for their strategic timing.
They’ve spent a couple of decades building and strengthening their brand with big brother Hyundai close by. They’ve earned the respect of Canadian consumers through hard work, great designs and great cars. They’re naturally evolving via the K900 and while still in its infancy, if Kia stays the course, you’ll be seeing plenty more on the road.
The last thing anyone wants to do is launch without a plan. Kia’s growing their individual identity through careful moves and not letting what anyone else says get to them. It’s been a long road from day one in Canada to now and Kia’s earned every kilometer driven.
And in the K900’s case, those kilometers are luxurious to a tee.