2018 Kia K900

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
May 25, 2018

Buying tip

It’s hard to justify opting for the V-8 if you don’t spring for the VIP Plus Package. The K900 is a better value at the budget end, according to us.

features & specs

V6 Luxury
V6 Premium
V8 Luxury
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
MPG
17 city / 25 hwy
MPG
15 city / 22 hwy
MSRP
$59,900
MSRP
$50,900
MSRP
$61,900

The 2018 Kia K900 is a premium, luxury sedan without much of an identity.

The 2018 Kia K900 is comfortable cruising at an affordable price like Velcro shoes.

It’s a big sedan that earns a respectable 6.2 on our overall scale. It’s let down by styling and fuel economy, but picks up points based on its standard equipment. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2018 Kia K900 is identical to the 2017 version right down to the lug nuts. That’s good news for shoppers looking for a rear-wheel drive sedan that comfortably seats four adults. Next year, a new K900 will make its way to dealer lots.

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The exterior is less expressive than Kia’s other rear-wheel-drive offering, the Stinger, which we cover separately and rate higher.

Kia’s relative restraint with the 2018 K900 shows inside and out. There are a few signature Kia moments: headlights and grille, but not much else on the K900 separates it from others. Inside, the K900 boasts standard leather upholstery on every model, but a heady mix of black plastic ruins some of our feel-goods about the interior.

Under the hood, the K900 gets a standard V-6 that makes 311 horsepower or an optional V-8 rated at 420 hp. All-wheel drive isn’t anywhere to be found on the order sheet—again, if you need that type of traction, gaze toward the Stinger.

The K900 prioritizes comfort with a creamy ride, but it’s somewhat spoiled by an indecisive 8-speed automatic transmission.

Standard safety systems such as airbags and traction control is complemented by some active safety measures, but it’s reserved for pricey top-end models—and it’s even optional there too.

All K900s have leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, navigation, and a 9.2-inch touchscreen for infotainment that we like.

Combined fuel economy for the V-6 and V-8 is in the upper-teens, which is poor for a modern sedan.

At just over $51,000 to start and topping out at $67,000, the 2018 Kia K900 has relative value for first-time luxury buyers, but it loses some appeal compared to staid rivals that are priced close to it.

5

2018 Kia K900

Styling

The 2018 Kia K900 won’t turn many heads on looks alone.

Kia doesn’t sell many K900s a year, so you’re forgiven for missing it on the roadways.

Its anodyne style means it can be easily overlooked, despite a few additions to the exterior a couple years ago. It’s inoffensive, but not remarkable. It’s average and our score of 5 reflects that. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The K900 looks closely related to Kia’s Optima and Cadenza sedans—so much so that we sometimes lose track.

Kia has added bigger wheels since the K900 was introduced for 2015, but the sedate shape hasn’t changed. Starting from the wide-open maw up front, the K900 gently arches back toward the rear with a smooth beltline that runs underneath the windows. A smaller stamp stretches underneath the front door handles but dies toward the back, leaving the rear third of the K900 fairly slab-sided.

Another demerit: The K900 re-lives Buick’s yesteryear (in more ways than one, if we’re honest) with clearly fake ports near the front fenders. It’s more chrome in ways that we don’t understand, and unnecessary.

Inside, the K900 is adorned with good-looking materials but none of them are called “piano black” plastic. There’s too much of the shiny black stuff for us to be convinced, and in some places, the piano black gives way to flat black plastic that feels too cheap.

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7

2018 Kia K900

Performance

Comfort is the name of the 2018 Kia K900’s game.

The 2018 Kia K900 has the recipe right, but lacks the performance prowess of more polished rivals.

It’s a rear-wheel-drive sedan with V-6 or V-8 power up front, and a composed ride underneath. It earns a 7 out of 10 on our performance scale with the implicit understanding that it’s not a performance car. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

(If you’re looking for performance with a Kia badge—or even all-wheel drive—the Stinger will fit that bill. We cover it separately.)

Base versions of the K900 are equipped with a 3.8-liter V-6 that makes 311 horsepower and an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive isn’t in the cards for the K900 in any permutation, which may drive cold-weather buyers elsewhere.

We haven’t much time behind the wheel of the V-6 version. Most of our drives have been at the helm of V-8-equipped sedans. The 5.0-liter V-8 under the hood of the K900 is borrowed from other Kia and Genesis cars, it makes 420 hp and has a pleasing rumble without much urgency.

We lay most of the blame for its lackadaisical attitude on the 8-speed automatic, It’s the only option for the V-6 and the V-8 and in previous years, its tuning has felt a half-step behind our right foots. In full disclosure, we haven’t yet driven a 2018 K900, but will update when we do and report if the transmission tuning has been updated.

Steering the big K900 is a pleasure, although it’s not very interactive. It’s easy to get lost in the coddling and comfortable environment, so why bother with road feel?

That speaks to the suspension too, which is well-damped for a car its size and prioritizes comfort over control. The Kia corners easily and confidently, and it’s well-behaved on cracked and fussy roads.

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7

2018 Kia K900

Comfort & Quality

The K900 is comfortable for most, but won’t shock and awe like some luxury heavyweights.

Who will speak for the “comfortable cruiser” crowd? The 2018 Kia K900 might.

The big Kia sedan is a throwback to the large four-door land yachts, but doesn’t have the same stretch out room.

Starting from an average of 5, we give points for good rear seats and its aptitude to seat five adults in relative comfort. It gets a 7 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

All K900 sedans are equipped with leather upholstery and power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats. The standard front seats are adjustable in 12 ways, while top-trim versions upgrade that to 16 ways. In front, most drivers will find adequate leg room, although our tallest editor had difficulty folding long legs into the front passenger seat even with the seat pushed all the way back.

The rear seats are heated as standard, but can be optionally equipped with reclining seats and cooling functions on top trims. Most adults will find the 38.9 inches of leg room fine, but we’d opt for the power recliners because we’re spoiled.

The trunk swallows 15.9 cubic feet of cargo, which isn’t exceptional for its class, but should be enough for a couple golf bags.

Entry and exit into the K900’s bright cabin is easy, the panoramic sunroof offers generous sunlight without eating too far into available head space.

Overall, we’d classify the K900 as closer to “premium” than a “luxury” car. There’s thin black plastic in parts, and some substandard surfaces in a car that can start over $65,000. For new luxury buyers, that may not be as apparent, but if shopped against other comparably priced sedans, the gulf widens between Kia and other automakers.

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2018 Kia K900

Safety

The Kia K900 lacks official safety data and features found from other competitors.

The 2018 Kia K900 has escaped testing by major safety rating organizations in the U.S. due to its small volume and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

That lack of official data means we’re withholding our safety score. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Every K900 is equipped with eight airbags, including protection for rear-seat passengers. Blind-spot monitors, a rearview camera, and cross-traffic alert are standard too.

The top Luxury trim level offers a surround-view camera system, head-up display, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking as part of a pricey VIP Plus Package that costs $6,000.

Active lane control, which steers the sedan back into its lane, isn’t on the offer sheet at all. We consider that an oversight for the K900’s intended audience.

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7

2018 Kia K900

Features

Well equipped to start, the 2018 Kia K900 lacks customization found on some competitors.

The 2018 Kia K900 offers a simplified menu of packages and options that make the big sedan an automotive Rorschach. What do you see? For a big four-door, it’s pricey. For a big luxury cruiser, it’s a bargain.

Our features scale sees both. Starting with the base V6 Premium trim level, Kia packs 18-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, 14-speaker audio system, and a 9.2-inch infotainment screen.

We’re impressed with the basic goods at a relatively affordable price of around $51,000. The infotainment system is good too, and its 5-year/60,000-mile warranty is generous. We’ll take one point back for lack of customization—V6 Premium buyers can only choose among white, silver, or black exterior colors—among competitors and land at a 7 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The K900 V6 Luxury adds softer leather, more speakers, a heated steering wheel, and wood trim inside. There are no individual options for either V-6-powered K900.

Pick the V-8 and you’ll start with the Luxury trim level. An optional VIP Plus package for the V8 Luxury heaps on a 16-way power adjustable driver’s seat, reclining and cooled rear seats, and adjustable headrests. That package also adds a suite of advanced safety features that we cover above.

All in, a K900 with all the bells and whistles runs more than $67,000, which encroaches on staid luxury competitors such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz too much for many buyers.

Both of those automakers—and several others—offer dozens of options for their big fancy sedans, including bleeding-edge tech not found on other makes or models. Kia’s ace? Their infotainment system with its standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is a pleasure to use. That’s about it.

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5

2018 Kia K900

Fuel Economy

The 2018 Kia K900 won’t impress with its fuel economy.

Fuel economy isn’t one of the 2018 Kia K900’s priorities.

Tasked with motivating more than two tons of near-luxury sedan forward, the V-6 or V-8 return numbers SUV-like numbers.

The EPA rates the V-6 version at 17 mpg city, 25 highway, 20 combined. That’s as good as it gets and it’s good enough for a 5 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Opt for the bigger V-8 and the numbers don’t get better. The K900 V8 Luxury trim manages only 15/23/18 mpg rated on premium fuel, according to the feds.

Those numbers, in some cases, are lower than SUVs. Most versions of the Kia Sorento—with or without all-wheel drive, which isn’t offered on the K900—manage combined fuel economy over 20 mpg.

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6.2
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 5
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 7
Fuel Economy 5
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