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2015 Kia K900

7878_2015_K900

Base Price: $54,500
Price as Tested: $65,500

Although some say the Kia K900 is a luxury car at a non-luxury price, I say, the $65,500 bottom line on my test K900 more than flirts with luxury pricing. But here’s the thing, to gain the same level of performance and content from a European luxury sedan of the K900’s size would cost thousands of dollars more. If you drop down from the K900 Luxury, like my test Kia, to the Premium grade, the savings are even greater.

Cracking the price range of a V8-equipped BMW 5 Series, the K900 Luxury sticker more than qualifies it as a luxury car. But7877_2015_K900 that’s not the real story. You see, the K900’s dimensions really put it in a class with the BMW 7 Series with an entry-level price of $74,000 for the base model with a V6 engine. Qualifying for a V8 in the 7 Series drives the price to more than $88,000. Does the K900 measure up to the 7 Series on every level? No doubt drivers who push their sedan to its limits will notice a difference, but most of us won’t. Kia probably cut a corner or two in other places, too. The bottom line, though, is that the K900 provides premium sport-sedan performance and luxury-like passenger pampering.

In ponying up $55,000 or more for a sedan, the biggest obstacle to overcome in purchasing the K900 may well be the Kia badge. Kia’s resume of economy and midsize cars and crossovers doesn’t pack the brand cachet and exclusivity to which many luxury shoppers aspire. My advice: get over it. Pocket that $10,000 to $20,000 you saved buying the K900 rather than one of its European competitors and buy a couple of rounds of drinks at the country club as you regale your pals with the story of what a smart consumer you are. If they have doubts, load them into your K900 and drive them around the block. When it’s over they’ll buy you drinks.

7872_2015_K900To play in the luxury-sedan big leagues, a V8 engine must be in the mix. Motivating the K900’s rear wheels is a 420-horsepower 5-liter V8 bolted to a driver-shiftable eight-speed automatic transmission. When depressing the accelerator, the K900 gathers speed gracefully rather than delivering it in bursts. Behaving like the large sedan that it is, it is more of a cruiser than a first-off-the-line drag racer. But that’s what most luxury owners want. Fuel economy is reasonable for this class. Government estimates put its mileage at 15 mpg city, 23 highway and 18 combined. This isn’t quite as good by a couple of mpg as the BMW 750i.

Contributing to its cruiser status, the suspension smooths out most of the pavement’s wrinkles. It doesn’t absorb everything to the degree a large sedan with an adaptive air suspension does, but I only noticed that when rolling over railroad crossings. Otherwise, the ride is basically uninterrupted.

Inside the cabin is cavernous and library quiet. Sculpted and well padded, the front seats are suited for cross-country rambles. Wrapping around the driver from the center stack to his door, the controls are easy to find and operate. When dealing with a sedan with the K900’s array of technical bells and whistles, getting used to different system nuances requires a degree of familiarity. Front- and rear-seat dimensions are on par with the 7 Series.

Loaded to the gills with content, even the starter K900 Premium delivers an impressive array of standard features. Tri-zone 7889_2015_K900automatic climate control, adaptive xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, front/rearview cameras, front and rear parking sensors, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats, leather seating, automatic wipers, navigation system, 9.2-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, Kia’s Uvo voice-command system and a 14-speaker audio system with iPod interface are all standard.

Moving up to the K900 Luxury adds blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, upgraded leather seating and a 17-speaker Lexicon surround-sound audio system.

My test K900 also had the $6,000 VIP Package with smart cruise control, head-up display, 360-camera system and power-reclining rear seats among other upgrades.

As with all of its vehicles, Kia packs a lot of value into its K900 sedan. It may seem like a lot of money to spend on a Kia, but you can’t take issue with the bang for the buck.