2019 Kia K900 AWD Review - A Bold Move Into a Small Segment
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The Kia K900 is driving straight into a shrinking segment - large luxury sedans. Worse, the leading seller in this segment is now Tesla's Model S electric vehicle. The number two choice for luxury buyers who don't need the size is the smaller, and much higher-volume Model 3. Kia has guts continuing to develop outstanding automobiles for such a tough segment in which to stand out. Or it is doing so for reasons other than sales.
The Car - What Is It? What's It Cost?
The 2019 K900 is a large luxury sedan. It has AWD and a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 gasoline engine. Hyundai is keeping the trims simple for now. There is only one, the "Luxury" trim. It starts at about $61,000. All of the entry-level luxury expectations are met with this one trim. The K900 has standard heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, a multi-color, multi-informational head-up display, and all of the driver and active safety aids one expects now from any top trim vehicle be it luxury or mainstream.
Our test vehicle came with the one optional "VIP" package which adds $4,000 to the price tag. Added content includes a large LCD meter display, a premium headliner, more front seat adjustability and some items that give us a clue to why Kia is really making this large sedan for an American public that has gone over to luxury crossovers and luxury electric vehicles. Those additions are ventilated rear seats and a Front-Passenger Chauffeur Seat Switch.
How Is It Propelled?
Kia installs a 365 hp 3.3L Twin Turbo V6 gasoline engine with all-wheel drive (AWD). That is coupled to an automatic transmission. The two work well together and the thrust is delivered smoothly and seamlessly. Kia has dropped the V8 engine for 2019 and it won't be missed. The twin-turbo V6 is more than enough for a car with this size and style of driving. It also offers 15% better fuel economy at 21 MPG Combined using Premium fuel.
How Does It Drive?
The K900 feels like an old-school American luxury car but better. It is comfortable and feels substantial when driven. On the highway, the Lane Following Assist (LFA) and Smart Cruise Control (SCC) pair to make the car semi-autonomous in the sense that you can set the cruise and it will steer you along and follow other cars in your lane. Pretty much every car maker has this technology now and it is available for under $30K on a variety of models. It's hard to stand out in the luxury world today.
The K900 is not sporty and is not a "sports sedan" as the term is normally used. It does not have as much road feel as other cars in its segment.
Although Tesla now absolutely dominates luxury sedan sales in America, we think the K900 will most often be compared to the Genesis sedan line made by Kia's parent/partner company Hyundai. There seems to be a lot of similarity between the cars themselves. One thing Kia lacks is the exclusivity and special dealer treatments that Genesis owners will enjoy.
The K900 will appeal to loyal Kia owners looking to move up to the best sedan offered by that company. We assume that the K900 serves as a flagship for Kia in markets in which limos are required for success. Kia sold 22 K900 cars in the United Stated last month. That makes the K900 one of the most exclusive automobiles sold in America by any brand at any price.