2016 Kia K900 Luxury new car reviews

10 years ago, if you were shopping a Kia against a Lexus or BMW, you would probably be regarded as an extremely uninformed individual. Not so much anymore.

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Joe Gearin Joe Gearin
Associate Publisher

Kia is on a roll.

First they sprung the unexpectedly good Optima upon us. This mid-size sedan contained all the goodness of it’s Hyundai sibling, the Sonata, but it carried far more attractive bodywork, and somehow a more aggressive feel.

Now Kia is aiming high, with their K900 flagship. This super-luxurious machine was first seen by many in commercials featuring NBA star Blake Griffin. The NBA tie-in is appropriate, as the back seat of this luxo-liner is roomy enough to host a 1/2 court game of b-ball.

Like Lexus, Acura and Infinity before them, Kia is attacking this segment by offering more for less. More in this case includes heated and cooled leather seats, lane change warnings, radar cruise control, a power rear sunshade, heads up display, a sunroof with a panoramic glass roof, and on, and on…

Realizing that the Kia name offers basically no cachet, this feisty Korean has extremely aggressive pricing—at only $60,000 for this loaded V6 model. Compare this to the Lexus LS which starts at $72,000, and the 7 series BMW which starts at $81,000, or the Mercedes S class, which starts at $95,000, and you are saving considerable coin.

Are the standard-bearers of the ultra-luxury market worth the extra money? I suppose it depends on how involved you are with your driving. Yes, the Lexus offers smoother, and more accurate steering, the BMW offers a more compliant ride, and the Mercedes feels more substantial, but the K900 is hardly a loser.

While the K900 may not be perfectly refined, it’s an extremely nice place to spend time. The seats are multi-adjustable thrones, the V6 pulls strongly, and makes refined noises, and the K900 generally conducts itself with class and poise. The chassis does get upset over bad pavement, and the steering is a bit number than we’d like, but overall this is a strong contender in this market—especially when you consider you can buy a K900 AND an ND MX-5 for the price of a Mercedes S class.

If Kia keeps this up, ten to fifteen years from now it will be on equal footing with the class leaders, just as Lexus is today. Not bad for a car company who was known for entry-level economy cars just a few years ago!

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Ten years ago, if you had told me that Kia was going to offer a serious, full-size luxo-cruiser, I would have laughed. Well, I guess I'm laughing.

It's comfy, if feels solid, and even the V6 offers plenty of power. It's like 95% of the status quo at a seriously discounted price.

Some questions:

Can the public accept a Kia luxury car?

Where will Kia be 10 years from now?

Is Lexus looking over their shoulder?

Our test car was while which, to be honest, isn't the best color for a car in this class. Make mine dark anthracite.

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Comments
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rslifkin
rslifkin Reader
3/11/16 10:36 a.m.

Looks / sounds like a Kia version of the Genesis sedan to me.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/11/16 10:45 a.m.

I just wish they would have used a better name. K900 sounds like the title of a cyborg police dog movie.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
3/11/16 11:07 a.m.

In reply to Appleseed:

Yeah K900 sounds like something out of the 80's.

He brought you a TAB and a new coke, but now he wants to eat your BRAIN... K900 robot zombie butler.

Great looking car though.

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
3/11/16 11:13 a.m.
rslifkin wrote: Looks / sounds like a Kia version of the Genesis sedan to me.

I think (at that weight and interior space) that it is actually a Kia Equus (also a dumb name).

They are cool and fly low on the radar, which means I don't have German snob attached to me when driving it. I foresee one of these in my future. If it is standard Kia reliable, it might be like a 90's LS400.

nderwater
nderwater PowerDork
3/11/16 12:27 p.m.

The Kia version of the Genesis is the Cadenza--and it is also a nice, attractive car. But I can't imagine paying the $35K MSRP for one, and I say this as a customer who has purchased three Kia's in the past three years.

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
3/11/16 12:34 p.m.

Holy cow, how is it so heavy?!

mtn
mtn MegaDork
3/11/16 1:23 p.m.
nderwater wrote: The Kia version of the Genesis is the Cadenza--and it is also a nice, attractive car. But I can't imagine paying the $35K MSRP for one, and I say this as a customer who has purchased three Kia's in the past three years.

There is no Kia version of the Genesis. The Cadenza is an Azera.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
3/11/16 3:25 p.m.
The Kia version of the Genesis is the Cadenza--and it is also a nice, attractive car.

The Cadenza is front drive. It's analogous to an Avalon/ES350 whereas a GS350 would be a closer analogue to a Genesis sedan.

BTW, the Cadenza is very nice!!

I've only sat in and poked around a stationary K900, but i like them. I've driven an Equus and it was great.

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
3/11/16 5:02 p.m.
mtn wrote:
nderwater wrote: The Kia version of the Genesis is the Cadenza--and it is also a nice, attractive car. But I can't imagine paying the $35K MSRP for one, and I say this as a customer who has purchased three Kia's in the past three years.

There is no Kia version of the Genesis. The Cadenza is an Azera.

Closest is this, the Equus based off a stretched Genesis. all 3 are fantastic

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
3/11/16 5:02 p.m.
The_Jed wrote: Holy cow, how is it so heavy?!

Because it's a BMW 7-series, A8L, Merc S-class. It's 2-500lbs less than a 740/750, 5-600lbs less than an S-class and about 200lbs lighter than the A8L.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
3/11/16 7:55 p.m.

K900....wow, that brings back memories of early Kias here in the states. Wasn't one of them like the XC340 or something strange like that?

The Koreans are all over the place with car names. You have the Equus....which is idiotic. You have the Genesis....which is one of the best car names in history. You have the Santa Fe and the Tucson....which are just strange for a Korean car. You had the Tiburon, which I think was probably a character in Game of Thrones. And you have the Cadenza, which always makes me think Caddy Catera. They have no consistency in naming at all. Places, made-up words, letters and numbers, foreign words, etc....

The cars are pretty nice though.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
3/11/16 10:00 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

Tiberon makes me think of Toblerone and the Cadenza sounds like a piece of furniture.

JamesMcD
JamesMcD Dork
3/12/16 12:34 a.m.

When the Tiburon came out I always wanted to pronounce it "Tie-byoo-run," but apparently you were supposed to say "Tibber-on."

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
3/12/16 11:37 a.m.

Maybe K900 is the vitamin you're lacking, but didn't know you needed. We need the Kia Riboflavin.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid
SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
3/12/16 2:59 p.m.
irish44j wrote: K900....wow, that brings back memories of early Kias here in the states. Wasn't one of them like the XC340 or something strange like that? The Koreans are all over the place with car names. You have the Equus....which is idiotic. You have the Genesis....which is one of the best car names in history. You have the Santa Fe and the Tucson....which are just strange for a Korean car. You had the Tiburon, which I think was probably a character in Game of Thrones. And you have the Cadenza, which always makes me think Caddy Catera. They have no consistency in naming at all. Places, made-up words, letters and numbers, foreign words, etc.... The cars are pretty nice though.

I'd blame North America Marketing. Those aren't their names in other countries.

I like the K900. I think it's one of the best looking cars in a while.

einy
einy Reader
3/12/16 3:33 p.m.

This post made me go to Kia USA's website to take a peek at this car ... Nice rig, but starting at $49k?!? Ouch ... However, I bet a low miles two year old one with massive depreciation would be attractive.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy PowerDork
3/14/16 1:44 p.m.
Appleseed wrote: I just wish they would have used a better name. K900 sounds like the title of a cyborg police dog movie.

Should have been the K9001, so I could then make lame dragon ball references

Bobzilla
Bobzilla UltimaDork
3/14/16 1:46 p.m.

In reply to irish44j:

First Kia's were the Sephia. You're thinking of the Suzuki's. It was the SJ413, the Sammy predecessor.

Technically, the first Kia's were Festiva's, like the first Daewoo's were Pontiac LeMans.

BAMF
BAMF HalfDork
3/19/16 4:05 a.m.

Tiburon is the Spanish word for shark.

92dxman
92dxman SuperDork
3/19/16 10:42 a.m.

I drove one of these at an auto show a couple years ago and it was very luxurious but the price tag made my eyeballs pop out.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
3/20/16 4:42 p.m.

Man, all these name complaints are reinforcing a lot of white/murrika stereotypes.

oldtin
oldtin PowerDork
3/20/16 5:00 p.m.

If a wrangler comes in at 47k optioned out, why is a flagship Kia surprising at 49k with presumably comparable features to 70-90k cars? Doesn't seem out of line to me.

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