When I heard that Kia was unveiling a second-generation of the K900 luxury sedan at the New York Auto Show, I was one of the dozens of people who couldn’t wait to see it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I don’t blame you. To recap, the Kia K900 is a full-size luxury sedan from Kia. "Oh, you mean the Stinger?" you might understandably ask. No, this is a different car. That’s right: Kia makes not one, but two rear-wheel drive sedans — and one of them is a full-blown luxury car based on the Genesis G90 platform.
The new K900 looks great and more luxurious than ever, but I think I like the first-gen a little more. The first-gen K900 has a little more character thanks to rear-wheel drive and a V8 option. The new one is only available with the Stinger’s V6 and all-wheel-drive, which kind of make it just another luxury sedan rather than the quirky misfit with no reason to exist.
Don’t get me wrong, the new K900 still has absolutely no reason to exist. And that’s exactly why it’s one of my favorite cars currently on the market. It’s a good-but-not-great luxury car that didn’t even get that good of a DougScore, but it’s amusing and ambitious that Kia is making a full-size luxury sedan that absolutely nobody has heard of. The fact that you could get the first-gen model with a 420-horsepower V8 is downright hilarious.
The best thing about the K900 is the value. Doug already covered how it actually isn’t much of a value if you buy it new, but have you seen these things on the used market? Of course you haven’t! Nobody has! But they’re out there and they’re dirt cheap, making them one of the best used car values in the luxury world. Forget that CPO Mercedes and go get a used Kia instead.
Another thing I love about the K900 is the fact that it spits in the face of badge snobbery. You see, we Americans are very self-conscious about the brand of cars we drive. The Volkswagen Phaeton was a massive failure in the U.S. because nobody wanted to spend Audi money on a Volkswagen, even though it was a tremendous luxury sedan. The fact that it said "VW" on the grille instead of having a few rings on it doomed the car in the States. Why do you think the big Japanese brands have to sell their luxury cars under different names? Nobody in the U.S. wants to spend more than $50,000 on a Toyota — so they have to call it a Lexus, give it a different grille, and put it in its own fancy dealership with better coffee.
And Hyundai/Kia is no different. Hyundai just launched Genesis as its own brand because sales of the Hyundai Genesis and Hyundai Equus were slow, largely because they shared showrooms with Elantras and Accents. So now that Genesis is its own brand, why on Earth would the company keep producing the Kia K900 into a second generation?
Probably just to improve the image of the Kia brand, which is still commonly thought of as a manufacturer of cheap cars of subpar quality. And that would be fine if anybody knew the K900 existed — but that’s not the case. The K900 has even less of a reason to exist now that the Stinger has arrived. The Kia Stinger surprised everyone not only by existing, but by being one of the best-performing and best-looking sport sedans on the market, going toe-to-toe with established German competitors.
But nope. That isn’t enough to kill the K900. In fact, the Stinger only makes the K900 stronger by sharing its wonderful engine. Even the sharp, industry-wide decline in sedan sales isn’t enough to stop the existence of the K900. Kia, a brand whose bread and butter is still compact cars and crossovers, has two halo cars — and I can’t help but admire that. Find a Kia K900 for sale