2019 Kia K900 Debuts, Does Its Damndest to Get Noticed

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 kia k900 debuts does its damndest to get noticed

“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.

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.

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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  • Chiefmonkey Chiefmonkey on Apr 02, 2018

    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...

  • Bd2 Bd2 on Apr 02, 2018

    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.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?