KIA K900

The K900 is to Kia what the Santa Maria was to Christo­pher Colum­bus

Evo India - - CONTENTS - (@anin­dasar­dar) Aninda Sar­dar

THE YEAR WAS 1575 AD, Christo­pher Colum­bus and his crew were all set to sail and now they had their per­fect gal­ley. With a deck length of 17.7 me­tres and dis­plac­ing over 100 tonnes, the Santa Maria would be the largest of the three ships and would be his flag­ship. In the case of Kia Mo­tors that has just set foot into its new world, a.k.a In­dia, its flag­ship sedan would have to be the K900 that we drove re­cently in South Korea. Isn’t a Kia as good as a Hyundai?

All ma­jor Kia cars, bar­ring the Stinger, share their base plat­form with an equiv­a­lent Hyundai. In that sense, the K900's ex­is­tence is owed to the Hyundai Gen­e­sis. How­ever, like all Kias, that's where the re­sem­blance ends, if you're will­ing to get past the fact that both the K900 and the Gen­e­sis on which it's based are de­signed as lux­ury lim­ou­sines that CEOs of com­pa­nies would be trans­ported in.

Nat­u­rally, qual­ity is top notch. There is no sign of scrimp­ing any­where and the K900 cer­tainly boasts of a built-to-last aura. Af­ter much pok­ing and prod­ding and tug­ging a few de­nounced the in­side rear view mir­ror as tacky, os­ten­si­bly a nod to cred­i­ble jour­nal­ism where noth­ing can be all good. Al­though you get the dis­tinct feel­ing of sev­eral el­e­ments of de­sign be­ing bor­rowed from other es­tab­lished mar­ques, like the way the speak­ers in the door re­mind you of Mercedes' treat­ment of the same or how the cen­tral touch­screen is

rem­i­nis­cent of BMW's or the gear se­lec­tor re­sem­bles the one in Audis; it all comes to­gether to form a pleas­ant whole. Some­how Kia has made all these in­di­vid­ual parts to cre­ate a co­her­ent sum that you don't re­ally mind at all. And for this, Kia's de­sign­ers de­serve due credit for when you draw on mul­ti­ple sources for “in­spi­ra­tion” things can go ver,y very wrong.

But where the K900, like its Hyundai cousins, leaves its in­spi­ra­tions be­hind is in the amount of equip­ment it packs in. There's ev­ery­thing you can pos­si­bly imag­ine, or want, in a car of this kind. There's of course the usual ar­ray of con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions, cam­eras that give you a chameleon's view of the world out­side, a very fancy and so­phis­ti­cated Mau­rice and Lacroix ana­logue watch in the dash and more. But the coolest gim­mick is re­served for the driver alone. Every time you switch on the in­di­ca­tor the blind spot as­sist cam­era on that side feeds its view on the vir­tual in­stru­men­ta­tion of the cock­pit. Neat! And of course if you're the sort that likes as­sis­tance, short of get­ting your sand­wich from the restau­rant, the K900 will of­fer pretty much ev­ery­thing you want. The only thing you'll have to live with are the bil­lions of warn­ing beeps and buzzes and poorly worded English warn­ings that you'll be pelted with each time you get too close to the car in front.

Any fun to drive?

If you're gen­uinely old school you'll be for­given for think­ing such things, but if you've been fol­low­ing the progress of Hyundai in In­dia then you'll know that the Kore­ans are now as much about the driv­ing as any­body else but with­out hav­ing given up on value.

The one we drove had just been launched in South Korea and is a gen­er­a­tion up­grade to an ex­ist­ing K900. Kia claims that the K900's

The Kia K900 is a fine show of Korean mus­cle. Proof of the fact that they can shake things up

all-new plat­form has seen the car grow longer with the wheel­base ex­tend­ing to re­lease more space in­side as well as im­prove sta­bil­ity on straights. Not hav­ing driven the pre­de­ces­sor, we can't re­ally tell you any­thing about how im­proved this one feels. What we can tell you though is that it's very nice to drive. Es­pe­cially with the 3.3-litre V6 di­rect in­jected twin turbo petrol that also goes un­der the bon­net of the Stinger (with a dif­fer­ent ECU map ob­vi­ously). In the K900 it packs in 360bhp and 510Nm of peak torque. Step on it and the shove is amaz­ing as the car pulls ahead with a sport sedan like im­me­di­acy and a throaty sporty growl. The 5-litre V8 we sam­pled later felt very good too but lack­lus­tre af­ter the forced in­duc­tion vari­ant. Trans­mis­sion in ei­ther case is an 8-speed auto 'box.

Hon­estly, with speed lim­its rarely cross­ing the 85kmph thresh­old that Kore­ans seem to love, and us be­ing led in con­voy, there weren't too many chances to eval­u­ate dynamics, but ride qual­ity was ex­cel­lent. The cos­set­ing kind of plush­ness that all CEOs love to love. The fi­nal word

Should there even be one? Con­sid­er­ing that this car is not even be­ing con­sid­ered for In­dia. Kia is toy­ing with the idea of bring­ing the i20 based Stonic and the Grand Car­ni­val MUV for us for now and are yet to de­cide on the rest of its In­dian port­fo­lio. So how does driv­ing the K900 make sense? Well, it was a fine show of Korean mus­cle. Proof of the fact that they can shake up the es­tab­lished or­der. Isn't that what the Santa Maria did for Colum­bus too? ⌧

Top: Wire­less charg­ing for your mo­bile is su­per con­ve­nient. Above: Jew­elled ro­tary but­tons have a pos­i­tive feel. Right: Ev­ery­thing is very well put to­gether

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