When Hyundai introduced the Equus a few years back there was a collective side eye given by the automotive press thinking the company had overstepped its boundaries.
Not so.Turns out Korean luxury is as good as Japanese, German and American.
Now that Hyundai’s sister company Kia has jumped into the big luxury car fray, we’re not surprised. The question isn’t is it any good but how good will it be?
I can’t compare the Equus to the K900 because I haven’t driven the Equus. My church’s pastor has an Equus and he said it’s the best car for the money he’s ever owned, that includes Lincolns, Bimmers, Mercs and the like.
I’ve never owned any of those but I’ve driven something built by each company. Kia got it right. This car is certainly well equipped to take on big sedans built by any company. There’s a lot here for the money and what’s here may give the other companies cause for pause.
The K900 is a big comfortable sedan. The styling is a bit generic but I firmly believe generic sells the best. If not, why have so many people flocked to Accords and Camrys for their daily drives all these years? Yes, each is well built, but neither attracts much attention.
Anyway, the K900’s styling is a bit bland, but handsome. I do like the Jaguar-like grille. From the A pillars back the car looks a bit like a Lexus GS. Not a bad combination, just not something that makes you scream I want one.
The interior is much more yummy. Leather, wood, metal and padded surfaces abound. The Nappa leather is really soft and hugs the ventilated seats snugly. If I wanted carpet in a home, I’d ask for this stuff.
The instrument cluster is virtual. It disappears once the car is switched off. Animated icons are used to bring attention to certain conditions. The massive 9.2 touch screen controls climate, audio and other functions. The gear selector and infotainment dial looks very German. As much as I like this look I think there may be a few more switches and buttons needed. There’s lots to raise, lower, cancel, toggle and what not.
Rear seat passengers get controls for climate, rear sunshade, climate controlled outboard seats that recline. There are copious amounts of room for head, legs and hips for two passengers. The middle person has to deal with the transmission hump.
The five-liter V8 produces 420 horses and 376 pounds-feet of torque. Coupled with an eight-speed automatic, the engine makes the car jump to 60 miles per hour in a little more than 7 seconds.That’s not bad for most would consider to be a luxoboat. I will say I think the K900 needs a bit more oomph. Passing was ok, acceleration good, but it didn’t have the snap some of its rivals have.
The ride is very comfortable. Very large bumps will upset the car’s steering a bit, but you may not hear if you hit a bump. The cabin is quite. There is a hint of wind noise but nothing troublesome.
Handling Is good, but not crisp. Curves and straightaways are approached, not attacked.That’s not a bad thing, however. Most who purchase this car will be cruising, not racing to get to their destination.
The K900 comes standard with a lot of equipment, more than its rivals. At $65,000, there should be a lot of standard stuff. The list is lengthy, but ABS, leather, panoramic moon roof, power closing trunk, traction and stability control.
My test car was equipped with the VIP Package with white interior. This $6,000 option included smart cruise control, reclining rear seats, power door latches, 12.3 inch LCD instrument cluster, head up display, driver’s seat cushion extension and surround view backup camera.
As tested, my K900 priced out at $66,400. I hear the gasps and exclamations “for a Kia” being ejected as you read this. Yes, for a Kia.
Would I pay this for a Kia? Yes, but that would depend more on would I pay more for the other car’s in its class. Again, yes.
I think the Kia K900 is worthy to be mentioned with Mercedes, Jaguar, Lexus, Cadillac, Audi, BMW and a few others. It offers more for the money and, as most any car will do, takes you from point a to b.
How well you feel while getting from point a to b is a different story. The pricer under cuts its rivals by as much as $20,000. Does that make it a better car? No. Does that make it as good a car? That depends. I don’t know that any of the other cars are actually worth $20,000 more. I can say I think many of them are better cars.
Better is a relative term, you know. If I had this kind of money I could see my self saving enough to buy, well, a lot of stuff for $20,000. Any day of the week that decision could be called smart by lots of folks.
NBA player LaBron James drives one of these and has tweeted such. James is also helping Kia with a King James Version of the K900.