The Kia brand has come a long way in a relatively short time here in America; and in recent years has worked hard to shed its economy car image, with a full range of high quality offerings, including the upscale K900 sedan. So will this 2nd generation K900 can polish the brand’s halo even more.
No doubt the original Kia K900 was quite a stretch for the brand. But, it actually got off to a good start its first two years on the market here. We found the first gen K900 to be one excellent surprise, even after a year in our long term fleet.
Still, Kia has struggled to maintain that momentum. So, they hope this all-new 2019 K900 will provide a needed sales boost.
Much like wool blankets and whiskey at a frontier trading post, rich leather and real wood trim are things we expect to find inside a with-it full-size luxury car. In fact, here in the K900, there are several varieties of wood to choose from, and even “engineered wood” for those environmentally conscious.
Controls have been simplified this time around; and the dash itself, looks much smoother. Seats are substantial in feel, and luxuriously comfortable; both heating and ventilation are standard.
Back seat comfort has improved greatly; and if you have a VIP that wants to kick back there, you’ll want to add the VIP package, which includes 12-way power adjustable seats, suede headliner, and wireless phone charger among other niceties.
Perks for the driver include a beautiful and comprehensive 12-inch configurable TFT gauge panel that will bring up images from the side cameras when you engage a turn signal, Surround View Monitor, and even standard Head Up Display.
Kia’s smart power trunk will raise the lid automatically as you approach with the key fob in your pocket or purse, and there’s a good 15.3 cubic-ft. of space inside.
Just one choice for engine right now; and the Stinger’s 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 is more than adequate, delivering its 365–horsepower and 376 lb-ft. of torque with a level of eager smoothness befitting a flagship.
At our test track, the K900 actually felt very powerful, and there’s great grip off the line from standard all-wheel-drive; but it does seem a little hesitant to unleash its full wrath right away. No matter what we did, it paused for just a breath before smoothly feeding in full power. We’re really not complaining, 5½-seconds to 60 is fast by any measure.
Shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission are silky smooth; and noises coming from both the engine and exhaust system are well subdued. Our best ¼-mile time was 14-seconds flat at 102 miles-per-hour.
Shuttling luxo-barges through our cone course is usually not thrilling; and the K900 does respond big, with steering that’s a little slow. But, it’s reasonably stable and surprisingly well-balanced, with good grip throughout, as we couldn’t find any significant under or oversteer. So, sportier than expected for sure.
A soft brake pedal keeps the luxury car vibe intact; but on the other hand, the calipers are clamping down with Herculean force. Stops of 107-feet on average from 60 is a great result.
By now, the look of a luxury flagship sedan is well-established. Regal profile, strong proportions, and lots of sparkles. You’ll find all of these here, including a grille with 176 “jewel-like” cells, satin-finish chrome, and standard 19-inch wheels.
Tailgaters will get a close-up look at the expansive rear; with large 3D single-lens tail lights and nicely integrated exhaust.
Our biggest challenge was finding out what’s missing. What do European luxury sedans have that you won’t find here? Well, it’s not power; there’s plenty of “get-up-and-go”. Not ride quality either; the K900 is plush, yet soaks up bumps easily and calmly. Only thing we could put our finger or “ear” on, would be a little more noise than some. It doesn’t have the bank vault-like solitude that you’ll find in most Euro-lux offerings.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 18-City, 25-Highway, and 21-Combined; our average, a good 22.1 miles-per-gallon with Premium fuel. Still it ranks a below average Energy Impact Score, using 15.7-barrels of oil yearly, with 7.1 tons of CO2 emissions.
But here’s the Kia kicker. In Luxury trim only, with all-wheel-drive, it starts at a more than reasonable $60,895.
Yes, this really is an amazing amount of car for that price. It may not have years of tradition or a vaulted European label; but it offers a true luxury sedan experience equal to cars at twice the price. If you’re able to pursue luxury at any costs, perhaps the K900 is not for you. But, if you want to experience how the other half drives; while also keeping your budget intact, the 2019 Kia K900 can make it happen.
Engine: 3.3 liter
Torque: 376 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 14 seconds @ 102 mph
EPA: 18 mpg city / 25 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.1 tons/yr