Those are the words, repeated multiple times in a 30 second span, that were expressed by my Mercedes loving friend as I picked him up for lunch.
Over and over “This is a Kia?” as he looked around, twisting left and right, running his hands over the surfaces and, from what I can gather, trying to find the ‘cheap’ that is associated with the brand. But he didn’t find it, instead sitting back down with his jaw slightly dropped as he took the whole picture in. Here was a vehicle, from the first glance to the ride over the next day, that completely ruined the idea that luxury had to be expensive.
This feeling of amazement was shared over and over, and even as I drove it, I found more features that just fell in love with. But there was something that stuck out to me; everything was familiar. I had seen almost every element before in one car or another. And it was this point that I realized I was looking at the brazen attempt to bring the amazing elements that make up other cars into one single vehicle. The technology and features I personally love in Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes all sat in front of me, packaged together seamlessly. Brazen, yes, but even more so, genius to me.
Here is a car that does not hide the fact that there are reverse engineered ideas built in. Here was a car, that from the very start, was designed and built to shake up the luxury car market, and just as my friend reacted, bring out that kind of reaction in others. And as I drove it, I found myself looking for the inspiration of each piece, and here is what I’ve figured. The MMI and AC controls are clearly Audi, the gearshift is BMW, the seat controls are Mercedes, while the seats and overall body shape have a Lexus look. The cluster and design elements in the hood, headlight, and grill are Jaguar, and the back seats controls are Audi as well. The glass panoramic roof is amazing, and most companies do it now. The few items clearly Kia were the leather options and the steering wheel design, while little trim pieces here and there stood out in a fairly unique manner
I am not saying it was the perfect looking car, as the wheels and some of the fake chrome pieces stood out like a sore thumb to me, but I couldn’t help looking back at it time and time again as I would walk away. That says something to me.
Driving wise, the car was quiet. I mean amazingly quiet, and even at higher speeds on the rough roads of Colorado construction, it just seemed to glide over every bump. Even at a mile high, the naturally aspirated motor had no problems with the climbs of the mounts, accelerating off the line, or keeping up with the standard flow of traffic. While lacking a bit compared to the cars it was going against in the power range, it is more than enough for a 4 door sedan, and the V8 was surprisingly efficient for a vehicle this size, showing an average MPG of 21 even as I drove it fairly defensively.
So what’s the word on the 2014 Kia K900 VIP? Well, I love it. Other loved it. And even as an Audi fan myself, I sat and thought to myself about how I could have one of these in my garage. This is not the car to make a massive financial statement by any means, but it has the presence to turn heads and be desirable. And for the price, while high for a Kia, feature vs. feature, it has proven that the market can be shaken up a bit. The 10 year warranty included, it might just be the best buy you can make if you’re looking for a full sized luxury sedan with all the bells and whistles.