The 2019 Kia K900 is all-new. It gets a new look, new engine, new interior, and tons of upgraded features to help this one-time budget brand steal sticker-shocked BMW and Mercedes shoppers. Can this Korean masterpiece really take on the German metal that dominates the large luxury sedan segment? I spent a week channeling my inner grandfather in the 2019 Kia K900, and here’s what I think.
Cover up all the Kia badges and roll to a family reunion in the K900. Ask everyone to guess what brand this is — I’m willing to put my last dollar on no one guessing it’s a Kia. You’ll likely hear Mercedes, BMW or Infiniti, but I guarantee no one, other than your gearhead uncle, will say Kia.
What I’m getting at is the all-new 2019 Kia K900 looks good, and I mean dang good. It boasts the classic luxury car proportions that are quickly vanishing from the segment as more luxury car companies turn their focus on performance. Sure, the K900’s pure-luxury appearance may bore the younger crowd, but the older population who miss the rolling-couch days of luxury sedans will fall in love with the K900’s outward appearance.
The K900 does hijack some of its styling bits from other manufacturers — the taillights are a delicate blend of Bentley Flying Spur and Mercedes-Benz E-Class — but copycatting is what makes the automotive space tick. There are still plenty of original bits that make the 2019 K900 stand on its own, like its textured grille insert and stacked LED headlights and taillights.
Inside, the modern amenities take hold with its supple Nappa leather seating, metal speaker grilles, crisp 12.3-inch touchscreen, textured wood trim, quilted seats, endless soft-touch materials, metal-badged floor mats and more. While the exterior looks like a legit luxury car, the interior of the 2019 Kia K900 looks like a $100,000 car, giving it massive value.
The interior looks great, but is it as comfy as it looks? The answer is a resounding “yes!” Yes, it takes a while to figure out what each of the 20-way adjustment buttons on the driver’s seat and 16-way adjuster buttons on the passenger’s seat do, but finding the perfect position is a breeze once you sort that out.
Once you’re in that perfect position, the seats deliver the perfect balance of cushion and support, making long drives a pleasure. Even the rear seats are a joy with available 14-way power right-side seat, 12-way power left-side seat and ventilated seats as a part of the $4,000 VIP package. The only downside to the rear seats is their subpar 36.6 inches of legroom.
The ride quality and interior quietness are out of this world. The 2019 Kia K900’s chassis does a great job swallowing up any road imperfections and sending the K900 gliding over them. Even with Sport mode engaged, it still delivers a smooth ride. Road and wind noise, which were sore spots in the previous-gen K900, are also surprisingly low in the 2019 K900.
Kia keeps the 2019 K900 lineup real simple with one very appropriately named trim level, Luxury. This big, cushy sedan — grandpa car, as my wife called it — is loaded to the gills with premium features and tech, including a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, a crisp-sounding 900-watt Lexicon audio system with 17 speakers, a head-up display, 360-degree camera, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, front and rear 2.1-amp USB charging ports, actual functioning wireless charging pads in the front and rear, and tons more.
Because my tester also included the VIP Package, I was treated to a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with trick screens in the tach and speedometer that showed blind-spot camera feeds when I engaged the turn signal. This helped make quick work of lane changes in this behemoth.
Safety equipment is solid in the 2019 K900. It comes standard with everything you’d expect: blind-spot monitoring, blind-spot collision avoidance, driver-attention warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, lane-centering assist, and more. It can literally drive itself briefly before hollering at you to put your hands back on the wheel.
If there is a soft spot in its tech, it’s the 360-degree camera. The side-view cameras do not paint a clear picture of your sides, making them pretty much useless. Plus, you sometimes have to go through a dance of button presses and gear shifts to get this camera to show up, instead of it doing so automatically while parking.
The star of the cabin is the navigation system. It not only has great graphics, but it responds well to voice commands and rarely misunderstands me without having to teach it my fast-talking voice.
The all-new 2019 Kia K900 drops the old range-topping V-8 engine but inherits a new twin-turbo 3.3-liter V-6 engine that punches out a healthy 365 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 376 pound-feet of torque from a super-low 1,300 rpm.
The elimination of the V-8 may seem depressing on the surface, but the V-6 engine is not only lighter, but its more accessible torque slingshots this grandad-mobile to 60 seconds in 5.2 seconds, making it 0.4 seconds quicker than the last-generation V-8 model.
Handling is a different story. While it is a dramatic improvement over the floppy last-generation K900, the 2019 model is no sports sedan. It holds the road just fine and its brakes are top-notch, but high-speed cornering creates some uncomfortable body lean, and its numb steering feels a little like your driving a video game car.
With a base price of $59,900 and $63,900 as tested with the VIP Package, the Kia K900 is an amazing value. It is loaded to the gills with features that are pricey options on its BMW and Mercedes competitors. There are some trade-offs, of course, with the biggest one being the fact the K900 lacks the sportier side its German competitors boast. Sure, it is quick in a straight line, but things get hairy in the corners. Luckily, the K900 has strong brakes.
What Would I Do?
Some may scoff at a $60,000 Kia, but I don’t care what brand is on the steering wheel. Instead, I focus on bang for my buck, and the 2019 Kia K900 delivers that. If I had $60k in hand and was shopping for a luxury sedan, the K900 would easily land a spot on my shortlist.