2019 Kia K900 Luxury new car reviews

The Kia K900 has been thoroughly gone through for the 2019 model year. The new K900 is slightly wider and longer than the outgoing model, but size-wise, it looks no bigger than an Accord sedan, which is about 10 inches shorter. The dimensions are spot on, and it offers plenty of space inside. 

AWD is standard on the K900 which Kia refers to as full-time Dynamic Torque Vectoring Control. As the name suggests, it can send torque to either the front or back as well as the sides. It is rear-biased, and in Sport mode, can send up to 80% to the rear wheels. Also standard on all K900s is the 3.3-liter, twin-turbo V6. Power output is still 365 horsepower, which is sent though an eight-speed transmission. 

We tested a K900 Luxury, which has a base price of $59,900. Ours totaled $64,895 after options and destination. 

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Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Director of Marketing & Digital Assets

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class, or “The one car every car aspires to be,” as the company proudly states, is good. Really, really good. Like, “so this is why people rob banks to get rich” good. And while I wouldn’t say every car aspires to be an S-Class (I know my F-250 certainly doesn’t), it is accurate to say that it’s been the luxury sedan to beat for decades. And that’s reflected in its price: The S-Class starts at $91,250, and that’s before any options: Want massaging ventilated front seats and an around-view camera, for example? That’s $5000. All-wheel-drive? $3000. Head-Up display? $990. AMG body styling and cool wheels? $5900. And that’s before you want a bigger engine, which pushes the starting price north of $100,000.

One car that definitely does aspire to be an S-Class? The Kia K900. It’s only available in one trim–the K900 Luxury–which starts at $59,900, and on paper looks remarkably similar to the Mercedes-Benz S 450 Sedan. Twin-turbo V6? Check (with three more horsepower). Expensive-looking exterior? Check. Beautiful interior? Check. Driver-assistance features and giant screens inside the car? Check. Our well-equipped tester wore only one option, the “VIP Package” which added a fully-digital instrument cluster, extra A/C vents and controls, and upgrades for rear-seat passengers. In fact, that’s the only option available, save for a few odds and ends like wheel locks. The rest of the K900’s equipment was included, as was standard all-wheel-drive, meaning it comes better-optioned than the S-Class by a mile. Total MSRP? $63,900, making it cheaper than the Benz by nearly $30,000.

And the Kia was good. Really, really good. Easily the best Kia I’ve ever driven, and a fine luxury car in its own right. I could definitely tell what car they rented before designing the K900, as the buttons, switchgear, finishes and driving experience were all eerily reminiscent of the S-Class that’s always dominated this segment. The K900 has all-wheel-drive, thick sound-insulated windows, a great infotainment system and a beautiful interior, and the package comes together to present itself as a car worth $100,000, as long as you tape over the Kia badge before you visit the country club. If you’d never driven an S-Class, you’d be convinced that this was the one car every car aspires to be.

But I’ve driven an S-Class, and I managed to find some holes in Kia’s story. In almost every way, the K900 is good, but not as good as the Benz. The buttons and switches don’t feel as sturdy. The interior doesn’t feel as expensive. The suspension, supported by metal springs instead of airbags, doesn’t seem as smart and composed. And the driving aids, while very good in the Kia, aren’t the pinnacle of technology like you’ll find in the Benz. Case in point: the Kia was able to cruise down the highway without hitting the car in front of me. The Benz is able to cruise down the highway while making you feel like you’re only touching the steering wheel because the government won’t let it drive itself–yet.

Plus, there’s no night vision option. Does anybody need night vision? Of course not, but if you’re shopping for a car that’s priced like a house, don’t you at least want the salesperson to ask?

All-in-all, the Kia K900 is awesome, and the best car most people who drive it will have ever driven. Plus, the mere fact that I just spent five paragraphs comparing a Kia to an S-Class is a huge win for Kia, especially when their entry is a full Honda Accord less expensive than the Benz. Which would I buy? Simple: The Kia all day, every day. It’s not as good as an S-Class, but it’s so close I’d forget the differences.

Jordan Rimpela Jordan Rimpela
None

Here’s the easy part: I love this car. If I were in the market for an executive sedan, this would be what I go for. I’m not though, and I doubt I ever will be.

If you like to show your wealth, the K900 is probably not for you. No one knows what this is. “Oh, it has Kia badges? It must be the new Optima.”

And don’t worry, no one will think it’s an Amanti, as no one remembers that car, either.

That’s not to say the K900 is a bland-looking car, because it’s not. It looks expensive, but without being garish. It has understated opulence, you could say. And feature-wise, this car is Goldilocks. Everything feels and looks just right. The leather feels nice, the controls feel expensive, and in general the cockpit is just a nice place to spend time. Especially cool is the display in the speedometer and tachometer that turns on when you’re turning left or right, letting you know exactly what’s in your blind spots. Not so cool? It has a sport mode. I tried it once and, just no. The car is plenty quick on its own and hanging onto gears longer just makes you look daft. This is a car for wafting along; I left it in Eco mode for the rest of my time with it. It rewarded me with not rubbish gas mileage.

Now for the hard part: I can’t recommend this car as a new purchase. As a five-year-old car though, this Kia speaks loudly. If the depreciation of the Hyundai Equus is anything to go by, the K900 should make one heck of a deal down the road.

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conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
11/8/19 5:41 p.m.

Have my sights set on a pre-owned K900 or Genesis G90 in 3 years. Having driven both of the Koreans, I don’t see the value proposition of the Germans, especially their ala carte pricing of features that should be standard at the price point.  Plus, Teutonic maintenance requirements and costs are absurd.  

MazdaFace
MazdaFace Dork
11/8/19 6:10 p.m.

Holy E36 M3 those gauges are amazing. Never thought I'd see the day where a $64k Kia would be a good deal compared to it's competition

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
11/8/19 6:36 p.m.

Awesome car saddled with a terrible name.

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