2018 Kia K900 Driving Impressions

Clearly, K900 developers focused mainly on comfort, including luscious, nicely-composed ride quality. Unfortunately, the overall experience tends to be marred by a tentative, indecisive automatic transmission.

Performance trails that of more refined K900 competitors – and of Kia’s own Stinger sedan. Borrowed from other Kia models and the premium Genesis line, the 420-horsepower V8 emits a satisfying rumble, but fails to deliver much sense of hasty urgency.

Whether V6- or V8-powered, the blame for lagging performance in a K900 has been its 8-speed automatic, which never seemed to keep up with driver intentions. We have not yet driven a 2018 model, but no change in powertrain details has been announced by the company.

Handling qualities score better. Steering the big sedan is a pleasant experience, though the sense of being coddled might make a driver feel a little too comfortable. Road feel is limited, though that’s hardly uncommon in premium-level sedans.

Suspension damping, too, is quite good for a large sedan, though it places greater emphasis on comfort than control. Regardless, the K900 can take corners with easy confidence. The big sedan also behaves effectively on cracked and deteriorated pavement surfaces.

Fuel economy isn’t a K900 benefit. In effect, its gas-mileage estimates seem more appropriate for an SUV. The V6 version is EPA-rated at 17/25 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined.

V8 Luxury trim manages only 15/22 mpg City/Highway, or 18 mpg Combined. The V8 engine needs premium-grade gasoline.

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