The first thing you need to do when you buy a 2014 Kia K900 is find a piece of duct tape. Use it to cover up the Kia logo on the steering wheel. After you’ve done that, your life will be perfect. That’s because you’ll be driving a killer luxury car that cost you $20,000 less than the competition and you won’t be reminded that it’s from the same company that makes the really inexpensive stuff that the riff-raff drive.
It’s hard to say that the K900 is the equal of all the expensive luxury competitors. It doesn’t offer the same level of gadgetry, or the ability to fine tune the car’s performance. But since most people rarely use all the gadgets and often have no clue what kind of performance they would even want, the K900 is just fine.
That’s not to say you’d be settling. Kia has done a great job both inside and out to make you feel like you’re driving something special. Let’s start with the looks. It’s a nice extension of the styling you see on the Cadenza and the Optima. But while I think those cars are too similar, the K900 does a good job of looking upscale. A number of people commented to me about the design. First, they noticed that it was a big sedan. It’s a touch shorter than the Audi A8 and barely longer than the Lexus LS 460. But they also liked the looks. I thought the styling reminded me of the Jaguar XF, which is nice company to share. Not quite as svelte, but definitely attractive.
Move inside and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re used to luxury cars, you’ll feel right at home. If this is your first trip to the high life, you’ll feel like you’ve finally arrived. The wood accents are properly rich, and the Nappa leather is suitably smooth. The dash has a fairly clean look with a single display monitor. There is plenty of leg room in the back and the rear passengers will also enjoy their own climate and entertainment control. If you’re trying to impress someone, this alone will do the trick. The video display gives both a backup camera and a 360 degree view, which I find very handy in tight spaces. It also switches to a front mounted camera when you first move forward just to make sure there isn’t some obstacle in front of you. The K900 doesn’t have a touch display. You use a control mounted on the center console. It worked fine and is easy to figure out.
Purists will complain that the K900 won’t handle as well as the Audi or the BMW. They’re right. If that truly matters to you, then move along. But if you don’t plan to slalom and your primary goal is getting where you’re going with a smooth ride, step right up. The V8 has 420 horsepower. It’s just right. There is a V6 coming that will give less, but it will get better mileage. The K900 gets 15 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. I took a trip to California and was pleasantly surprised to get 23.5 mpg the whole way. I find that when I’m driving 80 mph on the Arizona highway, most cars won’t deliver peak mileage. The K900 did even better. Interestingly, the K900′s mileage isn’t as good as its more expensive competitors. However, if you opt for the V6, you’ll get about a 4 mpg boost.
You do get to choose your driving mode. Your choices are Eco, Normal and Sport. There is a slight difference between the three but not a huge jump. The most interesting thing about the Sport mode was that the instrument display changed from analog style to digital readout. At least you’ll be able to tell when you’re feeling sporty. The gear shift is fly-by-wire which takes a little getting used to. The biggest change is that you have to push forward to get into reverse. You’ve spent decades pulling backwards and it will require a mental readjustment.
The K900 starts at $60,400. My test car had the VIP package which included Surround View Monitor, Advanced Smart Cruise Control, a 12.3″ display and a Heads-Up Display. The final price was $66,400. That’s a lot of car for the money.
The question is not whether you’ll like the car. The question is whether you’ll like spending $66,000 for a Kia. If you can handle the name, you’ll definitely feel that you got a great deal. If not, well, there’s always duct tape.