2019 Kia K900 Piles on the Luxury, but Will Buyers Pile on the K900?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2019 kia k900 piles on the luxury but will buyers pile on the k900

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.

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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  • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Mar 20, 2018

    So... Genesis:Kia::Lincoln:Mercury?

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 20, 2018

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Jalop1991 Jalop1991 on Mar 21, 2018

      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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