By on March 20, 2018

Image: Kia Motors

Everyone’s favourite full-size, rear-drive Kia sedan returns with all-new clothing for 2019, and the Korean brand has seen fit to show us the car’s exterior before its debut at this month’s New York Auto Show. That’s good, as we’re not likely to invest much time in it at the show. Sorry, Kia.

Stubbornly refusing to vacate the full-size luxury field, Kia’s new K900 — sold as the prestigious K9 in the automaker’s home market — looks to bump up refinement in areas drivers found lacking. Given that the K900 is widely expected to borrow the Genesis G90’s platform and powertrains, ride quality and muscle shouldn’t be an issue.

Kia claims design teams on both sides of the Pacific worked together to shape the next-generation model’s body, and the resulting product certainly inspires neither scorn nor unbridled lust. Dignified proportions and flowing bodywork position the sedan as a premium offering, though we can’t help but feel the design (unlike that of its Genesis cousin) falls dangerously close to being generic.

Kia says its aim was a car with “elegance and gravitas.”

Moving in closer, there’s a few interesting things to look at, including the “Duplex” LED headlights and a “Quadric pattern” grille containing 176 “cells.” These shiny bits are supposed to make the viewer think of released energy, which is probably what you’re feeling right now.

Image: Kia Motors

Inside the cabin, where you’ll find real wood and quilted leather, you’ll also find a 12.3-inch touchscreen stretching across (and protruding from) the top of the center stack. Access to these functions comes by way of a console-mounted rotary knob, which is itself shiny and expensive-looking. And, because premium cars demand archaic timepieces, a Maurice Lacroix-developed analog clock peers out from that center stack. You’ll know him from your old copies of Swiss Watch Monthly.

The 2019 K900 stretches 2.3 inches longer between the wheels, growing in length and width, too. If the powertrains do indeed carry over from Genesis, expect a twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 making 365 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque, as well as a 5.0-liter V8 endowed with 420 hp and 383 lb-ft. Connecting those mills to the rear wheels (all-wheel drive is likely with the V6) is a silky eight-speed automatic.

We’ve covered the K900’s U.S. sales woes before, so we’ll spare you a repeat. For whatever reason, Kia doesn’t want to abandon the American luxury field, despite the presence of the far more high-profile Stinger in its lineup (and the fact the previous K900 is nearly invisible). In February, U.S. K900 sales rose by one vehicle, year over year (for a total of 32 cars). Over the first two months of 2018, the K900 roped in 11 fewer buyers than the same period last year (54).

[Image: Kia Motors]

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57 Comments on “2019 Kia K900 Piles on the Luxury, but Will Buyers Pile on the K900?...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I like the G80 better.

    And I’m looking forward to the G70.

  • avatar

    Good grief, those rear lamps.

    XG350 redux.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Make it V8 only. You’ll get everyone’s attention

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I hate to admit it but the current one is on my short list of used car buys in two years. So this one will be on the list as well. I have owned a new car before and to be honest I dont see the value. For me I much rather buy 1-2 years old lux car. I enjoyed my NEW car while it was new however my kids made sure that it wasnt new long. They are older now so its not much of a worry however like I said for me its about value.
    I personally would love a 2016 K900 vs a 2018 Camry or Accord.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Four door sedans are a shrinking market. Just about every car has a high end model. How about a Toyota Avalon instead? Luxury is about the brand. You can buy a just as good Coach purse, but the luxury market wants a “Coach” on it. Likewise people want the Mercedes Benz star, not the Kia logo on a car that is just as good.

    It’s the wrong product. It needs to be a full size SUV, but it still has the wrong brand on it.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    In a word, no.

  • avatar
    JMII

    How can a vehicle that sells in such low numbers make any sense to manufacture? This is not some bespoke Bentley or Rolls. I understand the need to for a halo car but Kia has the Stinger now so this thing serves no purpose. However its got to be a steal on the used market provided you can stomach explaining it to other people and the warranty is honored since I can only imagine you can’t get any parts for this thing at Pep Boys.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Keep in mind this model’s made in Korea, where it’s probably a pretty strong seller, so why not toss a few over here?

      • 0 avatar
        dukeisduke

        They’re free to do that, but how smart is it to spend the money that it takes to Federalize a vehicle (EPA testing, crash testing, all the DOT-marked stuff), and then sell only a handful? And then when they don’t sell, the geniuses in Korea will blame the head of the US operations, for not being able to sell a car that no one wants.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I’m sure they sell plenty of these in Korea.

      I like it. Unabashed comfort/luxury/power focus, a lot less aggression/sport. Let Lexus and Cadillac kill themselves chasing that one.

      Physically large, RWD, V8, quilted leather, wood trim, simple and handsome styling with a chrome grille.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Gtem and Mike are right, the KDM alone justifies this car, selling a few here is just a bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        2014 – US 1330 – CAN 23
        2015 – 2524 – 36
        2016 – 834 – 26
        2017 – 455 – 7
        2018 – 54 – 1

        With Sales like these, no redesign will help

        Ok, they sold 1,607 in Korea in 2017. Here is full data http://pr.kia.com/en/company/ir/ir-library/sales-results.do

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          slavuta, those are some impressive numbers. The death of the Ford Fusion is being speculated and it sold 210,000 units last year.

          How can other companies maintain such low volume?

    • 0 avatar
      genuineleather

      Don’t underestimate corporate ego: “We’re just as good as X! We should make a Y, too!”

      This is how we got a mid-engine Audi, a $100k VW sedan, two-seater Cadillacs, and every Kia above the Optima.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I like it. Its handsome and elegant.

  • avatar
    derekson

    The front end reminds me of the Continental.

  • avatar
    Peter Gazis

    It will not sell. Too many Americans have already owned a Hyundai/KIA product, and whould never buy another.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      Except Kia and Hyundai have among the highest buyer loyalty of any car brands…??

      those pesky facts!

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        arach

        Have you seen their sales down 12% last year. Losing 1/8 of your customers in a single year is not good.

        Plus what they are selling
        Accents,Rios,Souls,Electas & Fortes are the cheapest vehicles in their lineups.
        -Hyundai killed the Equus & Veloster
        -Sales of KIAs crossovers were all down
        -Genesis 500 dealerships only 20,000 vehicles sold

        Your stats don’t pass the smell test!

        • 0 avatar
          aquaticko

          Uh, Hyundai didn’t kill the Equus or the Veloster. The Equus became the Genesis G90, and the Veloster is newly redesigned for 2018….So, wrong there. Also, 20,000 vehicles sold is quite good for a 2-model lineup with no crossovers. Excepting the past 2 years, with the release of the F-Pace, 20K is more than Jaguar sold since 2007, despite being a luxury brand with decades of recognition.

          No doubt that Hyundai/Kia face a long-term problem of brand image, but don’t exaggerate things; it only undermines your point.

    • 0 avatar
      CKNSLS Sierra SLT

      Peter…

      HM………..NO!

      For the Brand Keys 2017 survey, nearly 49,168 respondents self-selected the categories in which they are consumers and the brands for which they are customers. Brand engagement measures rational and emotional aspects of the categories to identify how well brands meet expectations that consumers hold from consideration to purchase. Brands that best meet consumers’ expectations generate the most loyalty.

      “In an industry that is more competitive than ever, Hyundai continues to exceed customer expectations with vehicles, technologies and customer engagement that make things better,” said Dean Evans, CMO, Hyundai Motor America. “Maintaining loyalty is one of the toughest things to do and receiving this recognition eight years in a row shows how we are building a deeper and more emotional connection with our customers. We continue to work hard every day to maintain the loyalty we’ve built and encourage customers to return to the Hyundai brand.”

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        I want to like Hyundai/Kia, since a 3 year old, low mile, H. Genesis is insanely cheap, but my experiences with H/K have been anywhere between awful to mediocre. I owned a 2004 Elantra that was awful with a service department that could never fix annoying issues like vibrations and suspension issues. Their long warranty was useless when they routinely denied covering repairs under the guise that somehow it was excluded from coverage. Every H/K rental i’ve had in the past 3 years has been mediocre and felt so completely tired by 10K miles. Can someone explain the H/K hype?

      • 0 avatar
        Peter Gazis

        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        Great brand but sales are in free fall. Obviously there’s a problem with the survey.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    For America these things won’t sell. Same problems as the Stinger. The dealer experience simply is not focused on selling a few thousand Stingers or K900s. They concentrate on selling Souls, Optimas, Sportages and other volume sellers.

    When you go to a dealer to buy, they are well equipped for low income and low credit score customers. They will get you a loan at 17%, and then reduce to 11%. They are good at 72 or 84 month financing. But they really don’t know what to do for purchases of these expensive things. Or are not very knowledgeable. The lease rates don’t compete with Germans.

    These exist only because of Korean market. Variety is good, but neither these nor Genesis will sell until they get the brand right. In the case of Genesis they have a chance, but they sure screwed that too with the launch in Hyundai dealers.

    First establish brand, then dealer support and network, before trying to sell these luxury products. See prior generation Kia 900, Genesis, VW Tourages and Phatheon as some of the miserable failure for brands that have overreached.

    Luxury vehicle is not just about the product. It is about the brand.

  • avatar
    notwhoithink

    Looks nice, probably a bargain, and there’s zero chance I’d consider it simply because it says “KIA” on the front and rear. Not that I have an issue with it being made by KIA, any more than I have an issue with the various Genesis models being made by Hyundai. There’s just something about that brand that says “You paid $50,000 for this? Sucker!” And that’s a shame because the Optima, Stinger, Cadenza, and K900 are good looking cars. And if the JD Power ratings are to believed they’ve upped their quality game to be better than average. I’m not saying that KIA needs a luxury brand as well, but if they used the stylized “K” logo I think I’d be able to get over the mental hump (just as Hyundai started to use the Genesis logo on their cars instead of the Hyundai logo even before Genesis was a brand).

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The local KIA mega-dealer here always has $149 – $179 leases, that’s the only way they can push that metal. The KIA stigma is too much to overcome, they need a Mulligan on this car.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I dont like Korean cars. Weird mix of spotty quality, weird driving dynamics, odd styling, poor resale, zero prestige and on and on.
    (including turn signal lane change that blinks 5 TIMES in an un agreeable tone.)

    Lease them if you want. Buy- no way. Just too many fantastic Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru products.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    First, K9 means dog in English. A dog hundred? Uh, no. Secondly, is there an access controlled lounge to keep normal vorpal scum at Kia dealers unadmitted. Overweight and overwrought baseball cap wearing, they seriously think their caps turn them into fashion deities, loudly obnoxious Trump supporters and baby mommas, kids and momma both snot-nosed, one from too much drugs and from not enough prescribed drugs. Kia’s got a lot to overcome.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Went to the Kia dealer today on Vehicle Row, 12 separate manufacturer outlets, to see the Stinger. None.

    “We have one at our other dealership,” quoth the spotty thirtyish youth. Said other outlet, which I personally never knew even existed, is in a down-at-heels neighborhood across the harbor on a street that mainly exists for commuting to the bridge. Haven’t been on it in a decade. “We have one”. So, choice aplenty, uh huh.

    The place I did go to is next to BMW, and across the street from Audi. So obviously there are no plans afoot to compete head-on with the Germans. Or anyone else, since Honda and Mazda are less than a half-mile away. There’ll never be a K900 there either, I’ll bet.

    And not a chance in hell I’m even going to visit the other place with just one Stinger to choose from. Must be coining it flogging regular KIA blobs to the credit-deprived. There was just one Optima on hand, as the legions of dull gray CUVs expand inexorably with the conformist crowd.

    Cain’t sell what you don’t got. Cross Kia off list. I mean, what’s the point?

  • avatar
    ajla

    Many commenters on Buick/Cadillac/Lincoln posts:
    “Why won’t Buick/Cadillac/Lincoln just sell a larger, RWD nonsporty sedan with a V8?

    Many commenters on a Genesis/K900 post:
    “LoL Korean automakers, why bother building a larger, RWD nonsporty sedan with a V8?”

    • 0 avatar

      You can never please the ICE. Toyota tried with the GT86 and failed. Now Kia is failing because it’s not a Buick and this isn’t 1968.

      If Buick made the same thing, they’d be mad it didn’t have a sports package and would continue to complain.

      Not enough color options.
      My dealer won’t order one.
      I’m not paying more than $35,399.
      The MPG is too low.
      The seats are hard.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’m a long time TTAC commenter, so I fully understand the cathartic enjoyment that can come from complaining about many automotive things. I’m sure I’ll be wailing about something by the end of this week.

        Still though, as it is right now, this K900 checks *a lot* of boxes that people were claiming to want over the past week’s Buick/Lincoln/Cadillac posts. This *should* make those people happy.

        Yes, it isn’t perfect. But, I don’t want to make perfect the enemy of good. Not when cars like this are on the verge of complete extinction.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    So…

    Genesis:Kia::Lincoln:Mercury?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m getting tired of the Kia stereotyping. As a Kia partisan and 2-time owner of the brand, I have excellent credit and have had good service from my cars.

    But I admit that I drive a bit farther to visit the dealer who *isn’t* closest to me. However, the Toyota dealer nearest me is slimy, too.

    As for the K900, good luck to ’em. The drivetrains get great reviews, but evidently people paying that much for a car want to broadcast the ‘right’ badge. Maybe that’s why I drive Kias.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      @SCE to AUX – I’m in total agreement. The Kia vehicles I’ve been involved with are just fine and better than many other marques. There’s a lot of dislike of the Korean brands bandied about, much by folks who are too young to remember how bad they were to see how far they’ve come to the present, dislike that focuses on really nit-picky stuff. Me, I’m okay with Kia except for the name. K.I.A. is a bit difficult for this old sailor to accept. LOL!

    • 0 avatar
      jalop1991

      A few years ago I drove a 2 year old, 30K mile K900.

      Good God, that thing was bad.

      It’s not the badge people are avoiding, trust me.

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