I recently had the chance to drive the all-new Kia K900. You probably didn’t know there was a new K900. You probably didn’t know there was a K900 at all. But there is: it’s Kia’s flagship luxury sedan, sitting at the top of the Kia range, and the one I drove had a sticker price of around $65,000.
Yes, that’s right: $65,000 for a Kia. And not just a Kia, but a Kia luxury sedan. With an available V8. It’s an unusual car, for sure, and the sales numbers seem to reflect it: I reviewed the car courtesy of North County Kia, in the San Diego area, and they currently have more than 80 Kia Sorento crossovers in their inventory, compared with precisely two K900 sedans. That’s the level of K900 sales we’re dealing with, here.
And yet, the K900 is a pretty nice car. And it’s not just nice for a Kia, or for a “new player” in the luxury sedan game (the original Kia K900, which was even more anonymous than this car, came out in 2015), but it’s nice overall, with an excellent interior that includes a lot of handsome finishes and touches, great materials throughout and a lovely font that gives the car a bit more character than some more boring rivals. The K900 also benefits from wonderfully soft seats with excellent bolstering and good support — true of its luxury sedan rivals, too, but worth mentioning.
As for powertrains, the K900 offers two options. The base-level engine, which was included in the K900 I drove, is a 3.3-liter turbocharged V6 with 311 horsepower. Shoppers who want more power can upgrade to a 420-hp V8, which is an impressive powertrain for a Kia, as you wouldn’t traditionally expect to find a V8, rear- (or all-) wheel-drive full-size luxury sedan in the Kia lineup. With that said, the V6 is more than adequate and actually peppy — one of the few turbocharged engines with fewer cylinders I’ve driven that actually feels like a replacement for a naturally aspirated engine with more cylinders.
Not that performance is really the goal of the K900. Even though this is the flagship Kia, Kia’s performance sedan is the Stinger — and the K900 stays far away from that realm. It offers excellent comfort, a big back seat, and a big trunk, but this car is about relaxation and comfortability rather than performance and sportiness, and it certainly shows: it’s quick enough, but not especially poised or thrilling in the corners, and the steering is light and vague, like you’d expect from a luxury car.
Another thing you’d expect from a luxury car is equipment, and the K900 certainly delivers that in droves. It has all the usual stuff: navigation, heated and cooled seats, adaptive cruise control, many active safety features, a big center touchscreen and a configurable gauge cluster — but maybe the best part is the small blind spot monitoring cameras that turn on when you put on the turn signal. Signal a lane change and the cameras go on in the gauge cluster to show you precisely what’s in your blind spot, an amazing feature I sincerely hope every single car eventually adds.
So, as a luxury sedan, the K900 delivers: it’s comfortable, the interior is nice, it’s roomy, and it’s got a lot of tech. It also has powerful enough engines to compete with rivals. Where it falls short, of course, is brand name: if you’re in the market for a luxury sedan, are you really willing to put “KIA” on your grille? Are you willing to spend $65,000 for the privilege? Given the K900’s sales, the answer seems to be “no” for most luxury brand shoppers — but a select few will enjoy the K900 as the luxury car bargain that it is.