Kia is now building the 2019 Kia K900 atop the Genesis platform. With upgrades the engine to a twin-turbo V-6, and enriching the tech features. In Korea, it is a standard limousine-quality sedan. What will its identity and brand recognition be in the U.S.A.? In price it's up against vehicles such as the Mercedes E-Class, in size it could draw buyers from the BMW 7-series and the Lexus LS, but will its position as a lower-cost luxury car option be effective?
What is the Genesis platform upon which the 2019 K900 is based?
Kia and Hyundai, both South Korean automobile manufacturers, are now intertwined due to Kia's bankruptcy. Hyundai has launched a new luxury brand in the U.S. (and elsewhere) called Genesis, the first here since Tesla in 2004. Kia is using designs from the new Genesis line to redesign the K900.
What kind of performance does the new K900 offer?
The 2019 K900 replaces the previous engine offerings with a single twin-turbo V-6, 3.3-liter displacement, and 365 horsepower output. It is also used on other Kia and Genesis models. In the U.S. the engine will arrive with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. While the K900 is a comfortable back-seat ride in much of the world, Kia recognized that U.S. buyers will drive it themselves and has designed it to be more athletic and sporty. A multi-link suspension and electronic dampers support a wider wheelbase and nearly a foot more of length, and the stretching also gives the car a fifty-fifty weight distribution. The all-wheel-drive system can distribute the power to keep the driving enjoyable based on several performance settings. In other words, you're driving an executive car, but you'll be surprised how nice it feels to do so.
What's the K900's interior like? Is it sophisticated, luxurious or sporty?
Nappa leather, nicely appointed is the first impression. There's also the Maurice Lacroix clock atop the infotainment which seems to catch people's eyes. Lots of screen space delivers the driver's instruments, adjusted for driving style, and also present other nav, sound, and infotainment features. Kia has taken plenty of care to provide tactile experiences (fluidly operating switches, leather-wrapped haptic steering wheel) and aesthetic ones (two-level dash, natural wood). The seats are comfortable and carefully designed for plentiful adjustments, heating, and cooling.
What are the K900's electronics like, especially the infotainment system?
There are up to 24.6 inches of infotainment display available. The 12.3-inch display is one of the easier systems to work with and another 12.3-inch for instruments, plus a 9.7-inch head-up display if desired. Driver assistance and safety systems are channeled through these displays and also a haptic steering wheel which delivers direct tactile messages to the driver's hands as needed. Displays reconfigure based on Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Custom driving modes. With the VIP package, infotainment system controls are available front and back.
What kind of audio system does the 2019 K900 have?
Sound in the K900 is streamed from Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto sources plus satellite radio. Top-shelf audio performance technology in the K900 includes a 17-speaker Lexicon system which adds to the interior visually as well as audibly with premium-quality grilles.
How are the handling and ride of the new 2019 Kia K900? What kinds of changes were made to give them new characteristics over the 2018 K900?
The re-engineered front and rear suspensions are supposed to make the K900 more responsive and athletic than the previous model, and reviews say that goal was achieved. An electronically controlled suspension will add refinement to the K900's road-feel experience. Other design changes have been made to ensure that the occupants of the K900 are isolated from both the road noise and engine and drivetrain sounds.
What driver assist technologies and active safety systems does the 2019 K900 have?
Most of the usual range of technologies are available including 360-degree view camera, blind spot monitoring linked to the turn signals, lane-keep assist, and forward collision avoidance. A driver-attention warning system and rear-cross traffic alert are also included, but there's more: Kia's semi-autonomous features debut with lane-follow assist if lines are visible and a smart cruise control system.
With great pricing and a quality ride, what's not to like? Why might U.S.A. customers bypass this deal?
The old Shakespearean question, "what's in a name" is part of the challenge. It's a Kia, and that's a stopping point for drivers who haven't surveyed the entire field. Kia is not sufficiently synonymous with luxury at this point. The brand has also not established a unique identity to represent what kind of luxury buyers will enjoy: active or passive, sophisticated or simple. Kia is aiming the vehicle at what they think the U.S. market will want their K900 to be, active and responsive, even though that is very different from the car's more traditional executive-style experience delivered to buyers in much of the world from South Korea to the Middle East. U.S. customers could find this confusing, but they could also be missing a great opportunity to buy a great luxury car for an excellent price.