2015 Kia K900 V-8 Long-Term Update 7
When Bigger IS Better
Bigger is NOT always better … but sometimes it really is. Some may question the value of 200-inch-plus vehicles such as our long-term 2015 Kia K900 V-8, the Lexus LS, and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but it's tough to argue against the value of bigger infotainment screens. The Lexus and the Mercedes feature a 12.3-inch screen, and the Kia works with an already pretty big 9.2-inch screen. The challenge all three executive sedans face is helping users make the most of the infotainment systems. After all, how good is a gigantic screen if you lack easy-to-master controls to use it?
In the Kia's case, now that I'm accustomed to the car, I've not had any real issues with the controls. Some of the center-console buttons that surround the black-topped central rotary knob are a bit spread out, but you get used to it. On my evening commute, when I change the screen from the photo screensaver I uploaded to the navigation map to check traffic, I can hit the "MAP" button without taking my eyes off the road because I know how far away the button is from the central knob. It's not a perfect infotainment solution, but it works.
What makes the 12.3-inch screens of the more expensive cars worthwhile is the ability to simultaneously see the map as well as another bit of info (such as song, artist, and album information) without seriously compromising the display of either. Aside from the full-size LS and S-Class, the midsize 2015 Lexus GS 350, which retails in the $50,000-$60,000 range, can also be had with an enormous 12.3-inch screen.
Thanks in part to the K900's large central control knob, the multi-camera parking system is one of my favorite features on the Kia. With a camera in the front, back, and on each side of the car, the Surround View Monitor system is awesome. It's difficult to imagine piloting a
boat car this big without it. It's not just the technology itself but also how easy the system and the rotary knob make changing from one viewing mode to another — for example, seeing the rear camera and bird's-eye views together or switching to the curb-side view to make sure your rear tire isn't resting against a red-painted no-parking curb. Too bad, then, that the feature is only offered as part of an expensive options package on the higher trim level.
Because a loaded Kia K900 is still significantly less expensive than everything in its class except the Hyundai Equus, you might as well get the near-$70,000 version with the multi-camera parking system if that's in the budget. The technology isn't unique to Kia, but it's well-executed, and the screen is plenty big enough to display what the cameras are seeing.
More on our long-term Kia K900 V-8 here:
- Update 1: Testing Real MPG on Regular and Premium Fuel
- Update 2: Kia Goes Soft (With Its Suspension)
- Update 3: You'll Notice a Difference Above 90 mph
- Update 4: Conservative Exterior Design Excellence
- Update 5: Picking Nits in a Solid, Luxurious Interior
- Update 6: Another Perspective and Welcome Theatrics