Kia is well known as a manufacturer of quality affordable vehicles and offers more bang for the dollar that compares favorably with Japanese and European equivalents. Kia is not the first name on most buyers’ lists when shopping for a luxury sedan, so it needs to stand out in some substantial way. The K900 is Kia’s attempt at a high end luxury sedan, and the 2019 model does a convincing job of combining looks, technology and elegance with a powerful engine. The base price of the K900 Luxury trim is $59,900. Our test car includes the VIP package — which adds $4,000 and ends up at $64,895 including a $995 freight charge.
The 2019 Kia K900 is the second generation of the Korean carmaker’s biggest and most expensive sedan, it is powered by a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine, the same engine in Kia’s Stinger GT sports car. It makes 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque through an eight-speed, all-wheel-drive automatic transmission getting all 4,700+ pounds from zero to 60 mph in around 5 seconds. Different driving mode selections include Comfort, Eco, Sport, Custom, and Smart and can stiffen or soften the suspension and of course deliver more or less power to the wheels. Unexpected bumps and potholes are no match for the K900’s torque vectoring AWD and electronically-controlled suspension. Under normal driving conditions around the city the car felt solid, smooth and refined.
However in Sport mode the suspension and steering are not quite sharp enough to handle aggressive driving, however that is not unsurprising from a luxury sedan. Modern refinements do make it a wonderful driver though and you can embrace this. I really liked the use of a blind spot monitor which projected a rear-view image onto the dashboard when the turn signals are engaged. The steering assist is among the best I’ve encountered, easily the equal of those in far more expensive automobiles.
Inside, there’s very little left to want in the way of luxury features and high-end materials. The interior is top notch, it feels expensive in all the right places. The HD touch-screen display – 7-inch standard, 12.3-inch optional is easy to read and easy to use. The heated and ventilated seats (20-way power driver’s seat, 16-way for the passenger) are sumptuous, comfortable, adjustable and narrow automatically when Sport mode is selected which is a fun surprise. The driving experience is divinely quiet, the wind noise is next to none thanks to a great HVAC system and high quality glass, which means you can enjoy the music from the 17-speaker 900-watt Lexicon sound system much more. As you can probably guess commuting and long drives are a dream.
Parking and tight maneuvering is a a breeze thanks to an overhead Surround View Monitor view that appears when the reverse gear is selected. Using the 12 cameras and sensors designed to detect other vehicles on the road and judge distance from nearby obstacles, this makes it possible to slide effortlessly into a tight parking space without having to get out of the car to be sure it isn’t nudging into a red zone or a driveway.
Like many high-end European cars the cabin is clad in burnished wood and polished aluminum. It even features an analog clock in the center of its dashboard. It can connect to both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Kia’s UVO infotainment system is one of the best, a wireless phone charger between the front seats and many device outlets.
What makes the K900 different to most cars though is the rear seats feature more amenities, which might make this the ideal car for ride sharing of the future as evidenced by the option to include a “front seat chauffeur seat switch,” which slides the driver’s seat all the way forward to maximize legroom in the rear. Naturally the chauffeur’s comfort is incidental. More importantly though these rear seats are wide and spacious with their own climate control and entertainment selections. The VIP package provides rear seats that are heated and ventilated. Headroom and legroom is generous, sun shades can drop down to dim the rear cabin and the rear seats even recline if passengers need a rest. Again a wireless phone charger is included as well as other outlets. Honestly it is quite a nice place to be, and I’d have ridden back there the whole time if someone else were allowed to drive.
This rear space doesn’t seem to impact the boot which has enough room, 15.3 cubic feet in volume, to hold a selection of bags, suitcases and enough room for multiple golf bags if headed to the airport or golf course.
The K900 has all the perks of the best luxury brands without the added expense, Kia’s 100,000-mile powertrain warranty remains among the best in the business. However one challenge that Kia may face with the K900, is that it might be too good, maybe it it time that Kia developed a high end brand similar to what Toyota did with Lexus, Honda with Acura, Nissan with Infiniti, and Kia’s sister company Hyundai have done with Genesis.