By on March 29, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

“Hey, what are you doing with my car?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was my Kia K900.”

That’s the scene Kia Motors wants to see play out in parking lots across America, now that the second generation of the brand’s flagship has seen the spotlight at the New York International Auto Show.

On sale later this year, the 2019 K900 — which sounds like the name of a Soviet submarine — aims to attract the buyers its predecessor lacked through understated style, piles of luxury features, attractive interior fittings, and improved driving dynamics. Kia’s an eternal optimist, we’ll give it that.

Despite a full-size sedan segment that looks to be well on its way to oblivion, Kia isn’t about to abandon it just yet. The automaker wants to be remembered for building an all-around good luxury car, not just a decent luxury car with a mushy suspension. Top-down change was in order.

For 2019, the K900 adopts the brand’s “Gravity of Prestige” design ethos, a term that makes this author think of Charles de Gaulle.

Image: Kia Motors

Now sporting “duplex” headlamps flanking a “Quadric pattern” grille and a smoother, tauter-looking profile, the K900 is slightly longer and wider than the first-generation model. Formerly a rear-drive car, Kia decided the K900 should go all-wheel drive permanently. So, it has. Sending power to all four wheels is the same 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 found under the hood of the Kia Stinger GT and vehicles sold by the Genesis brand. Gone is the optional 5.0-liter V8, but few will mind. Output of the smooth V6 is a robust 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, managed by an eight-speed automatic.

Those looking to get the most out of the car’s rear-biased AWD and stiffer architecture can select from four drive modes (Comfort, Eco, Sport or Custom), but we’ve got a hunch most drivers will choose what’s behind door number one.

Inside, Nappa leather fills the cabin, with buyers choosing from one of four open pore wood trims. Some trees were harmed in the making of this sedan. Sound comes by way of a 17-speaker Harman Kardon/Lexicon audio system that Kia claims is its most powerful to date.

Image: Kia Motors

The touchscreen can’t be missed — it’s a 12.3-inch unit spanning the top of the center stack. A customizable digital instrument panel of the same width awaits drivers who check that option box, and there’s an available 9.7 inch head up display (HUD) if you’re really looking for information overload. Smack dab between the front seat occupants is a Maurice Lacroix-designed analog clock with Roman numerals, perfect for creating a timeless ambiance.

Driver assist features span the gamut, with forward and rear emergency braking among the many safety aids. Suffice it to say, this rig comes off the line fairly loaded. We won’t know the pricing until closer to its on-sale date.

Kia wants to appeal to buyers who appreciate road manners and bargain appointments, not just the latter. The brand plays up the new K900’s roadholding prowess and its efforts to banish NHV issues. Having driven the second-gen K900’s Genesis G90 platform mate, this author can attest to that model’s quality and ride — it’s a damn good car. Whether buyers take notice remains to be seen.

[Images: Kia Motors]

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34 Comments on “2019 Kia K900 Debuts, Does Its Damndest to Get Noticed...”


  • avatar
    mmreeses

    this car sorely needs a better name. As is K900 sounds like the newest mechanized [email protected]_. Yes, it’s a superficial reason. But humans are superficial animals.

    Strike a licensing deal with GM. Call it the Fleetwood. (only half-sarcastic)

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Yes GM could sell it as a generic alternative to the Nissan Versa

      Could sell it to movie studios. Only has to last til the Film is done shooting.

      Could sell it in eastern Europe. It’s almost as good as the Travants,Ladas and Yugos

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Bentley would like it’s rear end back.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The styling is too generic to “get noticed,” which is remarkable, given that Kias are usually quite stylish.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    Kia’s styling department uses 3 things.
    Scissors, glue sticks and pictures.
    Looks like some Ford pictures got into the mix this time.

    • 0 avatar
      PennSt8

      The front end reminds me of the mid-late 90s Ford Scorpio. I am also amused at the seat back trim that appears to be lifted directly from the outgoing A8.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Looks great. They will probably sell a dozen a month. They are competing in a markin wherein the most important item is the BADGE, not the engine, designs, leather interior, or styling.

    • 0 avatar
      docsoloman

      There are people who will waste thousands of dollars on a badge just for prestige, when they could save those thousands and still have an incredible automobile, the Genesis is a good example. To the snobs, knock yourself out.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I like it, I really like it.

    The market however will continue not to notice.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Gone is the optional 5.0-liter V8”

    FML.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I find it bland, and not in a good way like the A4 in today’s review.

    The interior looks nice though. Except for the 40″ widescreen TV. I’m trying to imagine someone like my grandfather owning a car with a screen like that. He’d probably be annoyed by having it in his peripheral vision at night, then glue a strip of velcro on the top and bottom of the screen, and affix a homemade cover to it. Hell, I’d be tempted to as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      Or Grandma can knit a woolen cozy cover for that screen. It could be a lucrative Etsy opportunity: “Lovingly hand-knit cozy for ugly infotainment wart – Made in USA.”

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    Any word on pricing ?

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I love this car, irrespective of the bi-focal whale shark visage. It might not make anyone quiver in his Lederhosen just yet but there will be meetings in buildings in Der Vaterland if this beauty is on-point in the tightening sedan market.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    So is this now more or less a bigger Stinger, just a little less “sporty”? The original K900s were really discounted after a while and/or low resale.. Wonder if this will be a better deal than the Stinger. Piggybacks (racechips.us) is already claiming > 500 lb-ft from the Stinger..

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Why would any automaker seeking to infer prestige release promo shots in that least elegant of paints: white? It makes the thing look like a refrigerator.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Who the heck is Maurice Lacroix? Sounds like one of those made-up, vaguely foreign sounding brand names on something you’d find at TJ Maxx.

    I can’t help but think this would be the perfect black-car fleet vehicle…cheaper than a big Lexus, big comfy back seat, sort of anonymous-looking. Say what you will about Kia and Hyundai, but their cars are pretty tough and run a long time.

  • avatar
    Oldschool

    Absolutely horrible exterior styling! Extremely bland and unoriginal. The rear has straight “S-Class” written all over it. What a joke!

    The interior doesn’t look too shabby tho.

    Question is, who’s honestly going to buy this when you can buy a Genesis sedan which looks a lot better and is actually trying to be a true luxury brand. Whereas Kias are still Kias, they are much better built cars in years past, but they are still considered economy or “value” based vehicles where they offer tons of features, but sacrifice too much on quality on an interior standpoint and probably reliability and other components.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Not bad looking. This car will probably be a terrific used buy when it’s three years old.

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    Hopefully enough people will buy one so in 2025 they’ll be available for $14,995.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Might make a great used car value in several years for anti-snobs who don’t want to pay extra for a Lexus or European name plate.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Wow, this is derivative.

    Front end: cheap copy of S-Class
    Rear end: cheap copy of Bentley
    Greenhouse: copy of MuricaPassat
    Wheels: cheap copy of last-generation Bentley Conti GT wheels
    Door cards: cheap copy of Lexus (new LS or LC)
    Dash design: cheap copy of big BMW
    Console design: cheap copy of Audi A6/A7
    Clock: cheap copy of Infiniti
    Seats: cheap copy of Lexus LS

    Is there any piece of this car that Kia didn’t copy from someone else? I guess maybe the engine. They were one of the first to use this type of turbo V6 in a luxury application.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    The Maurice Lacroix connection is fitting. Both are reasonably decent products meant for people looking to appear upmarket without spending upmarket money, but in the end offer nothing really unique or interesting to the buyer, so will never really exude the prestige you’re hoping for.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Mercedes called- I want my front end back!
    Bentley called- I want my rear end back!
    Audi called- I want my center console back
    Apple called- I want my iPad back!

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    I guess this all started with the Amanti lol.I don’t think this is a horrible looking car but I don’t see much of a market for it. Even the livery people would probably prefer to stick to what they know and get a Caddy or Lincoln…

  • avatar
    bd2

    The interior seems to be a nice place to be, but geeze, that exterior is just bland, bland, bland.

    Well, guess it makes sense since its largest market will be the Korean business executives.

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