By Nitish S. Rele

Two years ago, we test drove a K900 with a 5.0-liter V-8 power train under the hood. This year, Kia has added a 3.8-liter V-6 engine pumping 311 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 293 lbs.-ft. of torque @ 5,000 rpm. Also revamped in the Korean carmaker’s rear-wheel-drive premium flagship is the front grille, while the rear gets fresh chrome trim, exhausts, tail lamps and a new bumper. And 18-inch wheels are standard on the V-6, which is still mated to an effortless 8-speed auto transmission.

The cabin is as top-notch and upscale as any of the German competitors with Nappa leather on the front heated/cooled seats, power tilt/telescopic steering column and shifter. A knob in the center console operates audio, navigation, telephone and UVO eServices. Six-footers can sit at ease in the sofa-like and well-appointed back seat. Other standard features include head-up display, power open/close trunk door and rear sunshade, three-zone auto a/c control, 12.3-inch LCD instrument panel, manual side sunshades, Lexicon 900-watt sound system to thrill audiophiles, panoramic sunroof, revised 9.2-inch navigation display and 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space.

Standard safety features in our test-drive version are dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes with electronic stability and traction controls, side impact door beams, blind spot detection, rear-cross traffic alert and lane departure warning, advanced smart cruise control, front/rear camera display and parking sensors, front and rear three-point seatbelts, tire pressure monitoring and daytime running lights.

If you ever wanted to be treated like a member of the royal clan, the K900 will fulfill your desires. And more. That it comes with a 10-year or 100,000-mile power train, a five-year or 60,000-mile basic warranty and roadside assistance, and a three-year, 37,500-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance is a plus.

Test-drive the Kia at Courtesy Kia of Brandon, 9205 E Adamo Dr. in Tampa. For more info, call 579-5942.

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