2015 Kia K900 Sedan First Look at 2013 LA Auto Show
Rear-Drive Flagship Celebrates Kia's 20 Years in the U.S.
Kia has grown its market position over the last five years with vehicles such as the midsize Optima, Sorento crossover, and full-size front-drive Cadenza. Now, after nearly two decades in the U.S. market, Kia is finally ready to launch the rear-drive flagship sedan that is sold globally as the Quoris and in Kia's home market as the K9. Unveiled at the 2013 Los Angeles auto show, the Korean automaker says the 2015 Kia K900 "is poised to challenge the full-size rear-drive luxury sedan segment." Size-wise the K900, leapfrogs the Hyundai Genesis sedan to share its 119.9-inch wheelbase with the larger Equus.
Unlike the Equus, the K900 is available with the Genesis sedan's 3.8-liter V-6 as well as an available 5.0-liter V-8. In the K900, the V-6 is rated 311 hp, while the V-8 is rated 420 hp. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, though gear ratios are specific to the engines. The K900's independent suspension features unique tuning for ride and handling. Trim levels include the Premium V6 and V8. The Premium V6 is available with a Luxury Package and a Technology Package, while the VIP Package is available on the V8. K900 V6 models ride on 18-inch wheels with 245/50/18 tires, while V8 models feature staggered 19-inch wheels with 245/45/10 front and 275/40/19 rear tires.
While the K900 shares its underpinnings with Equus, Kia's new flagship has a more rounded look. Up front, Kia's Tiger Nose grille is flanked by full LED headlights (standard on the V8 model) and LED running lights. Those adaptive headlights feature 16 LED bulbs that are said to project natural light for better nighttime visibility. LED foglights are mounted low in the bumper.
The 2015 K900 has more of a fastback look than the Equus, with the rear quarter window integrated into the rear door rather than behind it. A deep crease starting at the dual front fender vents bisects the front door handles and fades as it reaches the rear door handles. Just below the greenhouse, another bodyline runs from the leading edge of the headlights to the top of the trunk giving the K900 prominent rear hips. The sides also feature deeply sculpted lower rocker panels.
Around back, a chrome strip connects the trapezoidal LED taillights giving the K900 more visual width. The trapezoidal theme continues with the low and corner-mounted chrome exhaust tips.
Inside, the K900 features many of the luxury offerings expected of a full-size rear-drive flagship, including standard leather-wrapped steering wheel and high-grade leather seats. Nappa leather is also available in black or white with contrasting piping. The steering wheel also features standard cruise control and vehicle information switches as well as redundant infotainment controls. A heated steering wheel is available. Real wood trim choices for the dash and door panels consist of white sycamore or dark charcoal poplar wood.
While a 12-way power driver's seat (with power lumbar support) is standard, the V6 Technology and V8 VIP packages include a 16-way power driver's seat including power headrests and cushion extender. Multi-stage heated and ventilated front seats and multi-stage heated rear seats are standard on the K900. Rear seat climate controls as well as the ability to fold the front passenger seatback forward and flat are located in the rear center console. A power-operated rear sunshade and retractable side window sunshades are standard on all models, while a full-length panoramic roof is standard on V8 models. The V8 VIP Package adds multi-stage cooling, a recline function, power lumbar support, and lateral headrest adjustability to the outboard rear seats.
A reconfigurable 12.3-inch full-color LCD screen instrument cluster and a full-color Head-Up Display (HUD) is standard on the V8 VIP package, while the HUD is part of the V6 Technology Package. The HUD can show speed, turn-by-turn navigation as well as safety alerts such as Blind Spot Detection System (BSD) and Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).
The standard infotainment system includes a 9.2-inch center panel screen, navigation, and Kia's UVO eServices telematics software as well as a 900-watt, 17-speaker Lexicon audio system complete with center channel and subwoofer. Kia says the speaker placement has been optimized for the K900's interior. Other standard infotainment features include Bluetooth, HD Radio, three-month subscription to Sirius/XM radio, and auxiliary and USB ports, and voice-command for the navigation systems. The infotainment system is controlled by a BMW iDrive-style controller dubbed Driver Information System (DIS) mounted on the center console.
Other luxury touches include a standard power-operated trunk lid and a credit card style smart-key that unfolds the outside mirrors and turns on exterior lighting when the driver approaches. That last feature is standard on all but the base V6 Premium model.
The K900 comes with a long list of standard and available safety and convenience features. All K900 sedans come with front and rear park-assist sensors and cameras. The K900 V8 debuts Kia's first Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) system, which works with the aforementioned Blind Spot Detection (standard on V8 and part of the V6 Technology Package). The V8 VIP Package adds an Around View Monitor system. Kia's Lane Departure System is part of the V6 Technology Package and standard on V8 models. A radar-based Advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) in the V6 Technology and V8 VIP packages maintains a safe following distance and can even stop the car as well as bring it back up to speed. The K900 also debuts Kia's first use of Advanced Vehicle Safety Management (ASVM), which integrates the vehicle's' various monitoring systems. ASVM can prepare the vehicle's braking system as it alerts the driver of a potential danger. The system uses audible and visual alerts and can even activate the Pre-Safe Belt system.
While mainstream models like the Kia Optima and current Sportage have nearly erased all memories of the Sephia and original Sportage that first graced U.S. shores nearly 20 years ago, the full-size rear-drive 2015 Kia K900 sedan is set to again redefine consumer perception of the small Korean automaker. At least that's what Kia is hoping for.