Roadshow Video Reviews
2015 Kia K900Would you drop $66,000 for the new Kia K900? CNET's Brian Cooley takes it for a ride and sees if it measures up to the Jaguar XJ and the Lexus LS.
[MUSIC] [MUSIC] First thing's first. Let's take a moment and pause. To get used to the concept, of a phrase you probably never thought you'd hear: a $66,000 Kia. As we drive the 2015 all-new Kia K900, the flag. Now I think you'll agree with me, I'm seeing a lot of jag, xjay and xf in the vehicles face and even in its side view and rear three quarters, which is not a bad benchmark but kind of an odd one. Overall the design is not audacious, daring or cutting any new direction for sure. I will point out one thing you though you do get. Standard LED headlights, which remain pretty exotic if you get one of the V8 cars. Let's get inside. Now of course, the K900 will be a non-starter if it wasn't basically LCD everywhere. Nine inch. Inch screen up here in the center stack. Great big 12.3 LCD instrument panel right in front of me. The LCDIP however is part of a special VIP package. You don't get that on every single one of these. And something new for Kia, their first HUD. Their first head-up display out there which looks pretty good. It'll give you speed your next nav direction as well as blind spot, land departure indications, things like that. Now, let's go to the head unit. First of all, let's start with our media sources. Nothing too surprising here. All of the things you want like satellite radio, HD radio, broadcast radio, USB aux jack, things of that nature. It's all here. Bluetooth streaming also. It does a pretty good job of bringing you the information about the source you are listening to and doing it in a way that is very digestible. By the way this is not a touch head unit, it is voice or knob only. By touching the screen, will get you no where. Oh, and note this, when your on satellite radio, you have a pause play in this as well, something we saw in GM cars a few years ago. There's no haptic feed back on this controller it's just click click click, there's no handwriting recognition like some of the resent Audi's. Navigation screen quality is very good, tight dot pitch, good labeling, everything is quite readable, entering destinations is not difficult at all, by all the usual ways that you would do so, and of course as I mentioned by voice. Please say address without state name or say change state. Two thirty five Second Street, San Francisco. Line, please. One. Quick and painless, quick and easy to enter an address via voice, and it seems pretty good about recognizing them. That said, there is no live navigation, search to destination or open search on there. Apps in this car are nothing to write home about, they include Yelp support and more importantly, Pandora. But the latter, oddly enough, only on iOS devices. Only by a cable. Lets go to UVO Service. This is their idea of connective telematics space. It's not that expressive though,it's basically Onstar on a little bit of steroids, maybe. You got roadside assistance, vehicle diagnostics and repair information. Parking minder is fairly interesting helps so park the car. Let's push this button. And is now connecting to the UVO app, it's running on my phone. And just sent this car locations to the phone. I can also go there and set up a timer to remind me when the parking here runs out. My POIs, let's you send POIs from the internet, from google maps, let's say, so they're ready right here on cop. But again I don't like maintain to bases of anything, media. Destinations. I've already got all my destinations in my phone, in my cloud services. I don't need to repopulate a set in my car. So, this to me feels dated already. Now, of course, a car like this has a backup camera and sensors on the bumpers. But notice what we have here also. Because we've got this guy trimmed up all the way you hear all my sensors going live. You can see that I'm getting graphical indication on this overview map, a surround camera as well as many other views I can select down here. And they're very easy to get to, this is one of the better layouts and actual expressions of multi-camera surround view out there. Now the Canon 100 boosts standard heated rear seats with access to HVAC controls, a power sun shade and some panoramic roof stretches back there. If you get the VIP Package, you also get reclining back seats, cooled rear seats, and a bunch of other niceties. In this case, they're benchmarking the Lexus LS. Blessedly, the don't have any dumb DVD rear seat entertainment systems, standard or optional. I approve. [MUSIC] Now here in the engine bay is where you can clearly realize that Kia understands you enter a category like this, of true luxury cars, by first establishing your baseline bona fides. This engine is a good example. You start off with big placement, no trickery, five liter V8, no turbo, no super charger. Not in longitude in the engine bay driving those rear wheels. The numbers are pretty impressive, 420 horsepower, 376 pound feet of torque. Zero to sixty happens in a spritely g/ five and half seconds. Considering this care weighs over 4,500 hundred pounds before you get in it. And the MPG's not bad, it's 15/23. No all wheel drive variant is offered yet, though you could see that being perhaps a market necessity down the road. Now all that power comes back into the car through a single choice, 8-speed automatic transmission with this shifter here that is, rather BMW like. The top three gears are overdrive by the way. So, in a sense it's a five speed for actual involved driving. You've got three drive modes, you've got eco, normal and sport. And you can tell from the infographic up here that eco handles drive train, tails it back. Normal is gonna put you in your baseline mode. Sport is going to amp up the response to the power train. The shift points as well. But also change the little bit of the assist on the electric hydraulic steering rack. None of this though affects the suspension. This car does not have an adaptive suspension. Sport mode also puts you into a different gauge cluster up here that I don't find is very interesting. I don't need both a dial indication of my tack as well as a readout of the rpm. It's kind of just silly. Interestingly, when you're in sport mode, this car doesn't have a real sporty interface on the controls. You do have the ability to shift over here, but this shifter is kinda, is kinda fiddly in a way and then there are no paddles on the wheel, either. So, getting this car in sport mode doesn't get you far down the road to sport. [MUSIC] Okay, under what you'd find out right away, this vehicle is aimed at Lexus LS more than anything else. That's my estimation. Because it doesn't have the sharp sort of brawnyness sort of jock in a three piece suit kind of DNA that you'd find in BMWs and Audis fairly often. It's even different than a Mercedes. This is definitely a Lexus LS feel vehicle. The power is substantial, you've got plenty of it. But it's a little bit sleepy, you've got to unbundle a lot of gears, no matter what mode you're in, to get that power to deliver. Once you do, you really want to shift this thing. And as I mentioned you don't really have any paddles. So, it's even harder to tap into the goodness of this super silky [INAUDIBLE]. This is one of the smoothest riding, most comfortable cars I've driven. There is not a note, of imprecision to it, but I want more guts. Sport mode helps of course but it's, not dramatically different. The ride quality, as I said, is so unbelievably buttery, it's very impressive. On the other hand, it's got a certain amount of this. There's a certain amount of jounce in it that, is not going to please everybody. And a bit of, a bit of body roll to it that I wasn't really expecting. However, when dive into a corner on a twisty road, it doesn't plow the front end. They've done a nice job with the front-end geometry, so it doesn't have this big sliding, sloppy over-steer. We are just floating along here [LAUGH]. Yeah, like riding on a big puffy cloud. Okay, lets price our K900, with the caveat, that when you're in this class of car, there is no right answer whether it's worth the money or not. Because a lot of what's going on in these kinds of vehicles is image and prestige and that's personal call. That said, here are the numbers 60,400 delivered for a V-8 car, which is pretty well loaded. There is only one thing you'll add to the sheet to take it fully seen as styled, and that's the VIP Package. Here's what it includes, it bumps up a rear cameras to include those surround cameras. You get adaptive cruise control to go with the blind spot. Lane departure check. The instrument panel goes from gauges to LCD as we saw on this car. You also get KIAs first ever heads up display, and you get more seat adjustablility as well including a big bump in the rear seats which includes the reclining, the power lumbar, the active cooling ventilation to go with the. Standard heating back there. All in about 66 4, who knew a Kia would ever go there, and do so pretty successfully.