Kia’s updated and improved K900 is a 2020 Car of the Year contender
- Comfortable ride
- Superbly crafted interior
- Great value
- Anonymous exterior styling
- Leisurely transmission shifts
- Wallowy suspension
The 2019 Kia K900 was one of the surprise vehicles at the 2020 MotorTrend Car of the Year program. Despite the mainstream badge on the hood, many judges praised the big Korean car as a proper full-size luxury sedan that’s strong in value and premium fitments. Now riding on a long-wheelbase version of the same architecture used in the Kia Stinger and Genesis G70, the 2019 Kia K900 proves it’s more than some low-rent copycat.
The K900 draws its 365 hp from a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V-6 paired to an eight-speed automatic, and you won’t miss the outgoing model’s old 5.0-liter V-8. After some initial turbo lag, the K900 rockets up to highway speeds effortlessly and stays remarkably planted. However, the transmission is clearly tuned for chauffeuring; its downshifts are rather leisurely compared to its sportier-tuned platform mates.
Comforting and coddling passengers remains the 2019 Kia K900’s mission statement. Although its handling has improved significantly over its predecessor, the K900 still prefers cruising down the highway to the next destination over carving up winding roads.
You can even set the adaptive dampers to Comfort+ (aka Korean-spec mode) via the drive mode selector’s Individual setting and indulge in the ultimate plush ride. Not that you need to. “Comfort mode absorbs so much road rash that the chauffeur’s voice will not quaver when he looks in the rearview mirror and asks, ‘You OK back there, Mr. Kim?’” executive editor Mark Rechtin said. However, technical director Frank Markus found the K900 wallowy over big road undulations. Rechtin also found the brakes “a little iffy” and noticed substantial chuffing from the standard all-season tires.
At $64,895 USD, the 2019 Kia K900 is a huge bargain for a full-size luxury sedan, especially considering its top-notch build quality and overall ambiance. International bureau chief Angus MacKenzie declared that although the K900 is half the price of a BMW 745e (which also competed for COTY honors), it was much more than half the vehicle. MotorTrend en Español managing editor Miguel Cortina concurred: “This kills the 7 Series in every way—even design wise.”
The big Kia’s quiet cabin and spacious accommodations drew plenty of compliments. Detroit editor Alisa Priddle described it as having a “Zen-like feel,” and road test editor Chris Walton called the K900 a “legitimate luxury car” that’s just shy of a sedan wearing a Genesis badge. Multiple judges complimented the VIP package for reinforcing the K900’s strong value proposition and luxury car credentials. “The rear-seat package is especially impressive, as it offers as much luxury and space as the Audi and BMW,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said.
In typical Kia fashion, the infotainment system is intuitive to use. The Lexicon surround sound system matches similar units found in more expensive vehicles. The logical interior layout makes the K900 even easier to live with every day; everything from the wireless charging pad to the massive 12.3-inch touchscreen and USB ports is within easy reach. Rear-seat occupants also have controls for the infotainment system mounted on the folding armrest, just like more expensive full-size luxury sedans. Driver assists like blind-spot view monitor give the K900 a feature that even BMW and Audi don’t have.
More on Kia: So what’s it like to own a $50,100 USD Kia Stinger for a year? Find out here.
Quibbles? Mundane exterior styling. Compared to its predecessor, the 2019 K900’s conservative three-box design flies under the radar. Despite some cool styling flourishes like the layered headlights and taillights, the K900 plays it too safe. Being anonymous upon your arrival is one thing. Having zero stage presence is quite another. Looks aside, the K900 shows that Kia can build a proper luxo-barge at a much lower price point, with content the equivalent of something that costs much more.
|2019 Kia K900 AWD|
|Base Price/As Tested||$60,895/$64,895|
|Power (SAE net)||365 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque (SAE net)||376 lb-ft @ 1,300 rpm|
|Accel, 0-60 mph||5.4 sec|
|Quarter Mile||13.9 sec @ 102.2 mph|
|Braking, 60-0 mph||121 ft|
|Lateral Acceleration||0.87 g (avg)|
|MT Figure Eight||25.7 sec @ 0.72 g (avg)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb||18/25/21 mpg|