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2016 Kia K900: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader January 2016

With the 2016 Kia K900, the Korean automaker is testing the limits of what Americans are willing to pay for a non-premium-brand car. Starting at just under $50,000, the K900 places the automaker responsible for the Rio and Forte into previously uncharted territory, especially in the U.S. market, where perceptions can be slow to change. The 2016 K900 pushes past the average car buyer's comfort zone with its high-end luxury aspirations, putting the likes of BMW's formidable 7 Series, Lexus' proven LS models and Mercedes-Benz's mighty S-Class in its cross hairs. So far, sales have been tepid, as Kia is apparently learning the same lesson VW experienced with its short-lived Phaeton luxury sedan. To combat this situation, Kia has reduced the 2016 model's pricing while simultaneously increasing the car's standard content. If you're the type of buyer who cares more about what you get for your money than who will be impressed by the logo on your key fob, the K900 deserves a good, long look.

What's New for 2016?

For 2016, the Kia K900 receives a new V6 engine and three new trim levels: V6 Premium, V6 Luxury and V8 Luxury. New standard features on the base model include navigation, leather seating and a panoramic sunroof. V6 models get new 18-inch wheels, while the V8 cars upgrade to 19-in chrome wheels. New features for 2016 include freshened exterior styling, a new 9.2-in touchscreen navigation system, a trunk lid that automatically opens when the key fob is sensed nearby and Kia's Autonomous Emergency Braking.

What We Like

Extensive standard equipment list; smooth ride; plenty of power from the V8; quiet cabin encourages long-distance cruising; VIP package offers limolike rear-seating arrangement

What We Don't

Some center-console buttons feel less than premium; 360-degree parking-monitor views are grainy; sporty enthusiasts will be disappointed by soft handling; somewhat generic styling

How Much?

$49,950-$69,000

Fuel Economy

The 2016 Kia K900 V6 is equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 good for 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission is an 8-speed automatic. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates for this engine are 17 miles per gallon in the city, 26 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined. The V8-powered K900 employs a direct-injected 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 hp and 376 lb-ft of torque, mated to the same 8-speed automatic transmission. The V8 is rated at 15 mpg city/23 mpg hwy and 18 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The Kia K900 is offered in three trim levels: V6 Premium, V6 Luxury and V8 Luxury.

The V6 Premium ($49,950) features a lengthy laundry list of features, including a panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade, leather seating and heated and ventilated front seats. Also standard are 18-in alloy wheels, automatic HID headlights, power-folding auto-dimming outside mirrors, fog lights, an automatic open/close trunk lid, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, 9.2-in touchscreen navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and the UVO apps suite, cruise control, Bluetooth, a front and rear camera display, front and rear parking sensors with a parking guide, a smart key with push-button starting, tri-zone automatic climate control, a power rear sunshade, a 12-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support and 2-position memory, an 8-way power passenger seat and heated rear seats.

The V6 Luxury ($55,850) adds a shift-by-wire gear selector, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, a 900-watt 17-speaker Lexicon Logic 7 audio system, a dual open center console, premium Nappa leather seating and a heated steering wheel.

The V6 Luxury VIP package ($5,000) adds a 16-way power adjustable driver's seat with an extendable driver's-seat cushion, power-reclining rear seats, Kia's Surround View Monitor, a head-up display, Autonomous Emergency Braking, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, power soft-close door latches, rear-seat power lumbar support, ventilated rear seats and premium headliner, pillar and sun-visor trim.

The V8 Luxury ($62,850) adds a 5.0-liter V8 engine, 19-in chrome wheels, LED headlights with Dynamic Bending Lights, an LCD instrument cluster, the Surround View Monitor, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-departure warning.

The V8 Luxury VIP package ($6,000) includes all the equipment in the V6 VIP Package, plus quilted Nappa leather seating and front-seat power adjustable headrests.

Safety

The 2016 K900 comes standard with dual front- and rear-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags and active headrests. Traction and stability control, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist are also standard, while the VIP package adds autonomous braking, which can bring the vehicle to a complete stop in the event of a collision, and a seat-belt-pretensioning safety function (V8 trim only).

Both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have yet to release official government crash-test data for the Kia K900.

Behind the Wheel

From the moment you feel the weight of its driver's-side door as you tug it open, you realize the K900 was built to defy expectations, and it certainly does that. Sliding into the driver's seat of Kia's first V8-powered sedan, you're greeted with a fairly convincing virtual representation of analog instruments, a logically laid-out center stack of buttons and a wheel-operated multimedia controller.

The 5.0-liter V8 is so smooth you can barely hear it as it fires up. Though some competitors' nontraditional gearshift selectors can be annoying and/or counterintuitive, the Kia's operate easily enough, clicking into gear with a grip and functionality that's similar to BMW's. In this application, the lever is pleasantly wrapped in leather, aiding the sedan's premium cause.

You'll likely be surprised by the amount of thrust on tap when you stab the right pedal. The K900 loves to go, making it easy to trigger traction control when accelerating from a standstill. Equally impressive are the seamless shifts from the 8-speed transmission, which make the power flow as if there's an endless supply of torque from the engine.

Unlike many luxury pretenders, the K900's cabin feels blissfully devoid of wind or moving noise at highway speeds. Similarly, there's excellent suspension damping over rough surfaces, revealing an impressively adaptable suspension. When it comes to pitching the K900 into corners, this sedan comes across as bigger and heftier, making it feel more like an early Cadillac or Lexus and less like a modern BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

But as a contemporary cruiser, the K900 delivers a solid, smooth and powerful ride that's comfortable enough for cruising all day.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 BMW 7 Series -- Starting at over $82,000 for a 6-cylinder model (and nearly $96,000 for a V8), the 7 Series offers less standard equipment but a considerably higher starting price (not to mention a more stern personality) compared to the cushy Kia.

2016 Lexus LS -- Lexus was once the new kid on the block, offering bargain-basement pricing with surprising amenities and refinement. Now that Lexus has stepped up its game (and its starting price) with the LS, the old guard has taken closer notice of this $73,500 Japanese competitor. It may lack Lexus' legendarily impressive reliability record, but the LS could be the K900's biggest competitor when it comes to (relatively) affordable big-car luxury.

2016 Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- The flagship from Mercedes-Benz commands a steep premium ($96,600) but also delivers an impressive combination of luxury and performance. In comparison, you might find it hard to justify the Kia's nearly $30,000 premium.

Used Audi A8L -- A 2012-2015 Audi A8L delivers exceptional performance, a roomy rear seat and a sumptuous interior, plus the added benefit of quattro all-wheel drive.

Autotrader's Advice

The questions about the Kia K900's potential success have more to do with brand perception than they do with the car's actual merits. Sure, the K900 has a couple chinks in its armor -- namely, its less-than-nimble handling and the fact that some of its controls and switchgear can't compete with its high-dollar competitors. But the K900's $50,000 starting point makes it considerably more affordable than some of its foes while delivering a surprisingly quick, comfortable and smooth drive.

Unless you're a fiend about raw power and an LCD instrument cluster, we'd skip the V8 and opt for the V6 Luxury with the VIP package.

Find a Kia K900 for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2016 Kia K900 Premium
Used 2016 Kia K900
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Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Kia K900 Premium
Used 2016 Kia K900
$26,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2016 Kia K900 Luxury V8
Used 2016 Kia K900
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Kia K900: New Car Review - Autotrader