In the last decade or so we’ve see just about every car company try and create, and recreate an optional for just about every conceivable category there is, and in some cases, they’ve created brand new segments we never thought of before. Sports car manufacturers have begun making SUVs, while truck dominant companies have started making sedans. High end manufacturers have started making cheap introductory models, and even entry level car manufacturers have started making high end luxury models. Hyundai was the pioneer of that last new segment, debuting the Equus some years ago as an “affordable” luxury car, for those with money, and like to ride in style, but want to keep more of their cash than your average Mercedes S600 owner. And just as happens with any car segment, if there is one, more are sure to follow, especially if that first brave soul is successful. So, not too long ago, Kia decided to enter the economy/luxury car market with their K900, and for 2019, that upscale model has gone even further up.
At first glance the K900 doesn’t look like a typical Kia, and we’re willing to bet that is by design. The wide stance and tiger-nose grill create something of al Alfa Romeo vibe up front and the wide-set taillights and trapezoidal exhaust pipes have ‘Mercedes-Benz’ written all over them (not literally as that would be serious copyright infringement we believe). But the overall shape and tone of the car’s personality seems to be sturdy with a hint of refined sportiness.
Inside, the K900 gives you leather standard, and finer quality Nappa leather as an option. The cabin itself isn’t adorned with too much or too many unnecessary features, which is actually quite nice when juxtaposed to some of the German cars that seem as though they are just tossing in extras to justify their prices. The 12.3-inch touchscreen sits front and center as the hub for all things infotainment, including controlling the 17-speaker Harmon Kardon/Lexicon sound system or the 64-color ambient lighting system to find just the right mood and lighting for any drive. The dashboard also features another 12.3-inch screen for the driver’s chosen set of gauges, and there is also a 9.7-inch heads-up display as an option as well.
Seats up front are heated and ventilated as standard issue as you might expect in a car of this class. The driver is given 20 ways to adjust their seat, while the passenger is limited to ‘only’ twelve. Rear passengers are treated to adjustments, heating and ventilation, if and only if, the owner chose that option upon purchase.
Power for the K900 comes from a very potent 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that makes a serious 365-horsepower and equally impressive 376 lb-ft of torque. That power is funneled through a second-generation eight-speed automatic transmission that feels as though it has worked through many of the kinks and growing pains of its predecessor — never feeling lost or out of gear, and making quick, decisive shifts at all the right moments. Power is sent to all four wheels (standard) using a trick torque vectoring system which has the ability to send as much as 50 percent of the power to the front wheels and up to 80 percent to the rear wheels depending on the chose drive mode, and corresponding road conditions. Sadly, 2019 will not see the return of the might 5.0-liter 420-horsepower V8, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for a possible smaller, more powerful turbo V8 in the near future.
The K900, as expected, comes with a litany of safety features — all the best money can buy. A 360-degree camera system will be available for starters, as will things like rear automatic braking, as well as lane follow assist are joined by a safe exit assist and a blind-spot warning system that actually displays what is in your blind spot on either the left or right. Knight Rider eat your fuel pump out!
The 2019 Kia K900 has a starting MSRP of $59,900. Now, just like the Hyundai Equus, some people may initially shriek out of sticker-shock, but once the idea of an economy-car begins to fade, and the notion that the K900 is truly a luxury car that comes in at discount of a 20 grand at a minimum versus its German competitors, suddenly the idea of an “affordable” luxury car doesn’t quite seem as crazy as it once did after all.