By on February 20, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

The photo you see above is your first glimpse of the 2019 Kia K900 — the second generation of the Korean automaker’s full-size flagship sedan. If Kia’s lucky, it won’t be your last time seeing it.

Sold overseas as the K9 or Quoris, the first-gen model appeared on U.S. shores in early 2014 with Hyundai Equus underpinnings, rear-wheel motivation, a choice of V6 and V8 engine, and LeBron James as a spokesman. Sales crested the 2,500-unit mark in 2015 before falling to 455 in 2017. Like Bigfoot, the K900 is large and rarely spotted.

Kia hopes to change that with the new model.

Scheduled for a debut at either the Geneva Motor Show in March or the New York Auto Show in April, the 2019 K900 goes on sale in the second quarter of this year.

Boasting what Kia describes as “sophisticated exterior design, effortless performance and a spacious cabin distinguished by luxurious materials and elegant styling,” the next-gen K900 will add new driver assist features and comfort in an effort, like before, to position itself as a value leader in the luxury segment.

I’ve already stated why I feel a second-gen K900 is a pointless endeavor for Kia, at least in North America, so it’s not necessary to rekindle the argument.

As the Equus is long gone, new bones are in order, and the new K900 is expected to make use of the Genesis G90’s platform. There’s no reason why Kia wouldn’t borrow its powertrains, either. Having driven the G90, the Genesis’ attributes stand to correct the criticisms levelled at the previous K900: namely, numb steering and an overly soft ride. While still thin on the ground, the G90 felt perfectly refined, with a smooth, controlled ride and ample power from its 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6.

That engine makes a remarkably hushed 365 horsepower, 34 more than the first-gen K900’s 3.8-liter unit. Torque grows by 83 lb-ft to 376. A naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 makes 420 hp and 383 lb-ft, with both engines making use of an eight-speed automatic.

While the model’s long, high character line is similar to that of the G90, the pictured K900’s roofline is less formal, with a lower nose containing what we assume is corporate Kia grille. The taillights look like a mixture of Genesis and Mercedes-Benz.

While the new K900 seems like a great way to cannibalize G90 sales, Kia apparently feels it’s important to have a range-topping sedan positioned above the new-for 2018 Stinger. Two new rear-drive sedans from Kia in one year. The mind reels.

[Image: Kia Motors]

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23 Comments on “2019 Kia K900 Plans to Do Something Its Predecessor Didn’t – Find Buyers...”

  • avatar

    Perhaps they can get LeBaron to be the brand ambassador again. It worked so well last time. I saw him driving his K900 all of the time! (sarc)

  • avatar

    Can’t wait to see how many design cues they glued together from other companies.

    • 0 avatar

      As long as the frankenstyle looks good, who cares?

    • 0 avatar

      A fair comment for KIAs past. But it sounds a little trite in 2018 to suggest that everything from KIA is a copy of something else, while everything else is original. The truth is that few things are truly original these days.

    • 0 avatar

      Right – b/c Peter Schreyer, Pierre Leclercq, Greogory Guillame and Co. are so incapable…

      And let’s not forget that other automakers have been using Kia design cues – such as sharply angled headlights and the extended chrome trim.

  • avatar

    It offers a V8 and RWD and is a car.

    Don’t care about the rest. 10/10.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I know that the relationship between Hyundai and Kia is complex—to my knowledge, they are about 34-percent joint-owned—but it really undermines Genesis’s credibility as an exclusive luxury automaker when you take its flagship car’s basic underpinnings and engines and offer them in a Kia costing a lot less.

    Why bring the K9 / K900 here at all? Especially given the dealership experience. If you were already averse to buying a $50,000-odd car from Kia, you’re really not going to want to do it when you step into one of the brand’s dealerships and get treated like a BHPH customer shopping for a 2006 Chrysler 300. Even if the Kia is really, really good.

    • 0 avatar

      Very well said.

      Our Kia dealer here fits all the stereotypes for sleaze in the auto industry, and is a hoot to visit for that reason alone.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…it really undermines Genesis’s credibility as an exclusive luxury automaker when you take its flagship car’s basic underpinnings and engines and offer them in a Kia costing a lot less”

      How is this different from what Audi/VW does every day? My B5.5 Passat was a cheaper version of the A4 way back in 2002, and that’s just one example.

      As for the dealership experience, my nearest Kia dealer is sleazy, but the one I actually go to (not as close) is the only dealer from whom I’ve purchased more than one car – they’re pretty good.

      • 0 avatar

        Noone who shops for an Audi, does so because he is frugal (at least unless he’s a bit dense…). Hyundai shoppers, aside from Korean Americans and Koreaphiles, are thought to already be value shoppers. Seeing “the same” car for $10K off across the lot, could hurt them more than an Audi shopper getting into a similar situation with a VW.

        Since you bought your Passat, VW has differentiated it much more from the A4. It’s now more of an A6 sized car on a transverse platform. Possibly at least partially to avoid the issue you referred to.

    • 0 avatar

      Eh, while some buyer may be put off by having to go to a Kia dealership – really, how many times does one got to a dealership?

      And it’s not like every Kia dealership will get to sell the K900.

      As for sharing underpinnings, don’t see what the issue is as both the Stinger and K900 are luxury models.

      The Lexus GS shares underpinnings with Toyota Crown.

      And that’s vastly superior to what Lexus, Acura and Infiniti are doing – increasingly sharing underpinnings with their mainstream counterparts (having a RAV-4 based CUV is bad enough, but we’re going to see CH-R and HR-V based crossovers for Lexus and Acura).

      And let’s not forget that the Mercedes Citan and X-Class share underpinnings with a Renault and Nissan and BMW’s sub-entry offerings with Mini.

  • avatar

    In 2014, I drove a K900 that had 30K miles on the clock.

    It was, in a word, horrible.

    That pretty much sums it all up. As a friend of mine told me, “I bought a Kia and my wife bought a Honda. We know who has the longer warranty. We also know who has the better car.”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      My experiences with Kia and Honda are completely the opposite of yours, for both the dealer and the product.

      So far I have 141 months of good to excellent Kia ownership, compared to 20 months of terrible Honda ownership in 2005-7.


  • avatar

    I don’t know that LeBron James is the best mouthpiece for this car. He’s a SJW now and the folks he whips into a frenzy can usually be found in used Subarus or Golfs.

  • avatar

    If a $60K KIA was the answer, WTH was the question?

  • avatar

    VW Phaeton, Hyundai Genesis, Kia K900. What do they all have in common, besides being failures? Generally well reviewed sedans designed to compete with the big gun Germans, and costing thousands of dollars less, but sold at dealers with generally weak reputations for treating the customer well. You can easily take an upmarket brand down to the masses (see Packard, Cadillac, Lincoln, BMW, Mercedes as examples), but it is 1000 times more difficult to take a downmarket brand up to high society – especially sedans in an SUV/pickup market.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know. Some brands do this just fine. GM and Ford have no issues selling loaded Silverados, F150, Tahoes, etc to rich folks. Jeep has no issues moving Wranglers and Grand Cherokees in the upper income set. Toyota sells them Land Cruisers, the list goes on.

      • 0 avatar

        Plenty of monied but unsophisticated shoppers in the US. Many of these tend to gravitate to large, unsophisticated vehicles. This is quite different from cars. Koreans will be 3rd in line (3rd-rate really) in upmarket cars, after Germans and Japanese who are far behind Germans. I am not sure how many more potential buyers will be left for them.

        Waste of time and effort if you ask me.

      • 0 avatar

        Moving luxury vehicles sold by a luxury brand is a whole different game than moving loaded up pickup trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      Here in Australia it is Mercedes Benz dealerships that you want to avoid. They are well known for poor service and unpleasant salesperson’s attitudes. I own a Mercedes and take it to an independent mechanic when required. I would even rather take it to my local Hyundai dealer if that made sense.

      • 0 avatar

        Interesting you’d mention that. In ’94, we went out to look at and possibly buy a new E320 Wagon. Wife and I were dressed in what I’d describe as “Walmart’s best.” But hey, it was a Sunday, and we’re not gonna dress up to go car shopping. At any rate, the local Mercedes dealership was open. The salesperson informed us that they’d do a demonstration drive with an appointment only. Would a day next week be convenient? No it wouldn’t… and we came home with Suburban #2 of 6 that evening.

        I did actually buy a new Mercedes the next year, a C280, from the dealer in Eugene. Did the deal over the phone, drove down the next day and picked the car up. Took less time to do the deal, including paperwork, than it did to drive down there (about 100 miles).

    • 0 avatar

      How is the Genesis a “failure”?

      It outsold everything but the E Class and 5 Series and that’s w/o having available AWD.

      And the G80 is continuing that (outselling the Lexus GS by more than a 2:1 margin.

      Based on last year’s sales – the A6, A8, GS, LS, XF, XJ, Q70, etc. were all even bigger “failures.”

  • avatar

    The K900 on the more modern G90 platform (which allows for AWD) should improve sales (maybe even up to around 2.5k – which was where the outgoing model did in its best year).

    Having the Stinger as a stablemate should help (just as the Genesis sedan served as a “bridge” to Equus sales).

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