Thursday, October 16, 2014

What's new? The joys of driving a $66K Kia K900

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – I never thought I’d see the day: A Kia motor vehicle with a sticker price of $66,400.

Welcome to the new age, a time when former discount darling Kia can build a super-luxury sedan where the designers, engineers and consultants showed no restraint whatsoever in putting together a wondrous machine.

I honestly don’t know where to start … perhaps with the countless neighbors and passersby who complimented me on my Lexus.  Telling them that my all-new-for-2015 K900 was a Kia prompted looks like I’d just announced that I was an alien who emerged from the core of the planet Juptier.

Long, smooth and luxurious on maxi-cool 19-inch chrome alloy wheels, the tested Kia K900 shouted upscale sitting still in its parking spot.

Five-star accommodations were found inside the vehicle.  What a lineup!: Heated leather seats front and rear (ventilated on the front), three-zone climate control, classy wood trim, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power trunk, front and rear parking sensors … Oh, we’ve just scratched the surface.

There’s a super-long list of safety features and enough driving/safety-enhancement devices to basically turn the car over to its own devices.  And naturally, you want LED headlights with a dynamic bending light feature and a panoramic sunroof with power shade feature.

Wait, throw in the VIP Package of options, because what’s an extra $6,000 at this point? That package includes smart cruise control, a head-up display, driver’s seat cushion extension, power front seat headrests, power reclining rear seats and rear seat lumbar support.

Yes, I was overwhelmed.  I remember when getting an extra cupholder in a Kia was a big deal.

Driving it was a heart-racing romp of brute strength, with the 5-liter, 420-horsepower V-8 squealing the tires and making mincemeat of commuter traffic.  The engine’s power, nicely dished up via an eight-speed shift-by-wire transmission, took some getting used to; I made a fool of myself lurching off the line during my first half hour in the car.

Suffice it to say that the K900 performed just as well as any other sporty-luxury nameplate out there.

What’s not to like?  About the only thing to gripe about is 18 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.  And that’s a stretch because buyers in this segment probably aren’t sweating the monthly gas credit card bill.  And the thrill of 420 horses can make you forget about tepid fuel mileage in a hurry.

Overall grade:  A no-brainer “A.”

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