One thing you may not know about Kia is that the rapidly growing vehicle manufacturer is “The Official Automotive Partner of the NBA.”
Yes, that’s as in National Basketball Association.
And even if you did know that, you might not know that LeBron James, legendary forward for the Cavaliers, is the first-ever Kia “K900 Luxury Ambassador.”
“Wait a minute,” you say.
“K900? What’s that?”
Yes, this is one more thing that you may not know.
Sure, Kia is the company with the funky Soul and the stylish Optima. But it has recently entered a higher automotive realm, one befitting of King James.
“I was a Kia K900 driver and fan before we decided to become partners, so I'm really excited to be Kia’s first-ever luxury ambassador," said James.
That’s right: James, who has a reported salary of $20,644,400 for this season, rolls in a Kia.
Which brings us to the full-size, V8-powered, rear-drive K900.
This is not your uncle’s Kia, unless your uncle happens to be Scrooge McDuck, a character who is as rich as he is thrifty.
That is, the K900 is a sedan that has all of the luxury accoutrements that you can reasonably expect (leather and wood; seats that are heated and mechanically driven in all sorts of axes; telematics galore; sensors fore, side and aft; LED headlights that adjust adaptively vis-à-vis steering wheel location; a sunroof as big as the Ritz) and even at least one that seems outré: a power closing trunk lid (that’s right: push a button on the lid inner and it closes for you, even though the truck action is so smooth that simply bringing your arm down from having reached up to activate the button would probably be sufficient to secure the hatch.
It has that aforementioned V8 engine that produces 420 hp and an eight-speed automatic transmission that is so smooth as to be operationally invisible.
It rides on standard 19s.
It has a base MSRP of $59,500, and when you opt for the “VIP Package,” which adds $6,000 to the sticker, you get a surfeit of stuff, including technology like adaptive cruise control, heads-up display, a 12.3-inch full LCD TFT instrument cluster (i.e., the gauges and dials look like analog gauges and dials except they’re digital, not physical), and even front-seat power headrests (after all, who wants to tussle with those things?).
The vehicle is about comfort. Although that V8 is powerful, it has to power a 4,555-lb. sedan. You can get a 2015 F-150 pickup that weighs less. So this is not about fast getaways, but about stately progress.
Stately at a comparatively low price point.
One more thing. LeBron James is 6’8” and weighs on the order of 250 lb. Meaning that he is a big man. Yet he evidentially (even before he became the Luxury Ambassador) he found the K900 sufficiently roomy. Given that the average U.S. male is 5’9” and weighs 195 lb. and the average female is 5’3” and 166 lb., there is certainly more than enough leather-covered furniture in the K900 to make anyone feel reasonably royal.
Engine: 5.0-liter, DOHC, direct-injected V8
Horsepower: 420 @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 376 @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.9 in.
Length: 200.6 in.
Width: 78.8 in.
Height: 58.7 in.
Curb weight: 4,555 lb.
Seating capacity: 5
Passenger volume: 110.8-cu-ft.
Cargo volume: 15.9 cu-ft.
EPA: mpg city/highway/combined: 15/23/18 mpg