EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

March 9, 2014

Kia K900 piles on the luxury

(Continued)

While every other automaker is making their engines smaller and more efficient, Kia is confident that V-8 power is the best connotation of luxury, even if it yields a mere 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway.

The V-8 K900 will be available later this month. Kia will offer a $50,000-ish, 311-horsepower V-6 option by summer.

Overall, the K900 looks more like its price tag from the inside than from out. Its silhouette is sleek without being truly striking. While the vents on its front quarter panels and its trapezoidal taillights and matchy-matchy exhaust from the rear are attractive, the front end is a train wreck. Observing the K900 from my rear view mirror, the odd-shaped grille looked more busy than elegant, especially in combination with the dots of LED running lights.

But throw open the doors and slide inside, and it’s a very different story. It truly is well done, with soft leather seats and a dashboard inlaid with shiny wood. From the tactile microsuede headliner and pillars to the offset stitching of its leather to the door-mounted seat adjustment that is clearly copped from Mercedes, it feels Germanic. The same week I drove the K900 I was also testing out the new Audi A6 TDI, the cockpit of which looks shockingly similar, with a thoughtfully laid-out center console to operate its audio, navigation and telematics.

The Koreans, it seems, are even better copycats than the Chinese.

Unlike every other Kia, which comes with a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty, the K900 includes a three-year, 37,500-mile scheduled maintenance program that covers the first five service visits, but not wear and tear fixes to brakes and tires.

That could well suffice, since 90 percent of luxury vehicle drivers aren’t, in fact, owners. They lease.

Distributed by MCT Information Services.

2015 KIA K900

Powertrain: Direct-injected, 5-liter, V-8, DOHC, continuously variable valve timing, 8-speed automatic

Horsepower: 420 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 376 at 5,000 rpm

Wheelbase: 119.9 inches

Overall length: 200.6 inches

Curb weight: 4,555 pounds

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway

Base price: $60,400

Price as tested (with VIP package): $66,400

Prices include destination charge.

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