Pulling up next to an abused pickup truck in the Tim Hortons parking lot in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, I noticed the attention of its driver focused on our black, 2015 Kia K900.
As I exited the Kia, the truck’s burly, bald and multi-tattooed owner lowered his window and slowly looked my way. Our eyes briefly met.
“Nice car,” he croaked.
It wasn’t the first time the comment had been made since picking up the Kia, but it was the most memorable.
The 2015 Kia K900, newly introduced to Canada this model year, is – as the local Kia dealer where I picked it up proudly announced – used as a limousine in Korea. She could do nothing but gush while handing me the key fob for an extended trip from Ottawa to Fredericton, NB, and back through New England.
Why the enthusiasm? Well, she’s seen humble Kia transform from a producer of nondescript conveyances for the budget buyer into one of the top-selling and most stylish brands in Canada. The K900, for her at least, is the pièce de resistance, the ne plus ultra: the proverbial “cherry on top.”
The K900 is a formidable looking machine; its appearance suggesting a bulked up Optima. It’s a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, sibling to the Hyundai Equus, and in size, features and performance it sits squarely in the large, luxury sedan category. That’s BMW 7 Series territory, along with comparables from the other German luxury brands. Cadillac and Lexus may deign to notice as well.
Motive power comes courtesy of a 5.0L, 420-hp V8 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with Normal, Eco and Sport drive modes. Fuel consumption (and that’s regular grade fuel) is rated at 15.7/10.3 L/100 km, city/highway. On my 2,600 km trip, we consumed an estimate-beating 10.2 L/100 km.
Priced at $69,995, the V8 Elite model arrives with just about every amenity imaginable (there is a V6 model that starts at $49,995). Panoramic sunroof, navigation (of course…), intelligent cruise control, 360-degree camera monitoring system, head-up display, full LED exterior lighting, blind-spot detection, power rear and manual side sunscreens, premium audio, premium leather, premium, premium, premium… You get the idea. Oh, and there are heated and cooled front and rear seats (which also recline) and a power trunk, and 19-inch chrome alloy wheels. Yup, to use the vernacular, she’s loaded.
2015 Kia K900 Elite, headlight, driver’s seat. Click image to enlarge
As already mentioned, fuel consumption was not an issue although the car certainly is no slouch when asked to perform. Mostly, however, the K900 is completely silent. Other than when you accelerate briskly, the “Tau” V8 engine is virtually inaudible, and as far as the transmission goes, it could have been a CVT given its smooth, imperceptible operation. The K900 will blast you from 0-100 km/h in the mid-five second range, with mid-range power for passing equally notable. Sprung for ride rather than handling, mostly it just floats along; ignoring road imperfections and the usual surface bumps and ruts as it effortlessly consumes kilometres.
Trunk space is huge; rear seat room is cavernous and the front seats are multi-adjustable; firm but comfortable. The electronic gauge cluster is easy to read (there’s even a permanent miles-per-hour window for your American trips). Top of the centre stack is a large, high-resolution display, its options controlled by a large knob situated between the seats.