Sophisticated and stately, the entirely redesigned 2019 K900 brings a new definition of premium luxury to the Kia portfolio. Although it s slightly longer and wider than the outgoing model, this K900 actually looks tighter thanks to its reimagined proportions, especially with respect to its profile. Combining a balanced design with flowing lines, tensioned surfaces and geometric details, the K900 introduces a modern air of elegance to the large sedan segment. Kia s designers were inspired by a design ethic they call The Gravity of Prestige. Kia photo

Front-runner or underdog? Kia K900 looks to define itself

Sometimes being a leader in a car segment can be misleading. For example, my tester this week can promote its high rankings in its segment. The segment of the auto industry it is categorized in, however, has a dwindling number of competitors.

The 2019 Kia K900, which is redesigned for this model year, would still lead the pack if there were as many competitors as the current Democratic presidential candidate field. Staying with that analogy, the K900 isn’t a frontrunner nor a well-known name or the old timer with a long pedigree. No, it would be the quiet candidate, or underdog, that just stays true itself, without compromising, but also exploits its conservative side along with a wild, progressive side.

So, is the Kia K900 the ideal candidate? If you’re talking large luxury sedans, the answer is yes!

Large luxury sedans are a dying breed, so it’s nice for Kia to stay engaged with their flagship sedan. The redesigned looks are attractive. The blend of conservative styling with bold flare adds distinction. The grille is understated, but then moves to styling on the hood that subtly gives way to similar styling on the side panels. The back side regains its conservative composure but again teases its wild side with dual exhaust pipes. All-in-all, the K900 has gorgeous looks. It’s exactly what you’d want a large, luxury sedan to look like.

When it comes that, you want solid performance, combined with comfort. The K900 delivers. There’s a 3.3-liter twin-turbo V6 engine that makes 365 horsepower and 376 lbs.-ft. of torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission is outstanding. My all-time favorite Kia vehicle is the Stinger, and this is the same engine found there. So the K900 drives like the sporty Stinger, but due to some engineering tweaks, boasts a little more refinement thanks to a multi-link suspension.

The K900 perfectly balances performance and refinement which is why it’s a segment leader as other competitors are too refined or too sporty with not enough smoothness.

The hardest thing for Kia to accomplish is to get themselves into consideration in the luxury segment. If you blindfolded someone and covered all badging and placed them inside the K900, they would think they were in a Lexus. IIn all fairness, the K900 can go toe-to-toe with many in the segment when it comes to luxurious and comfortable interiors.

The K900 doesn’t go for bold here. When compared to some of its German rivals it can seem more conservative and less lavish. But when compared to the equally conservative Lexus, it offers plenty of quality interior materials and ample luxury along with high-end touchpoints.

A nice feature that you don’t often see is heated and cooled rear seats (along with heated and cooled front seats). Rear legroom is tremendous with even long-legged adults enjoying the comfort afforded them.

The infotainment system is simple and intuitive. The Kia has the huge advantage over Lexus with reference to the layout and ease of use of their infotainment system. The 12.3-inch touchscreen is responsive; there’s a nice mix of gauges, too. Interaction with smartphones is through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Fuel economy lags behind others in the segment. The K900 has an EPA rating of 18 mpg/city and 25 mpg/highway. I averaged barely 20 mpg in a week’s worth of suburban driving, although this car does have all-wheel drive going for it, which does detract some from the fuel economy. I did get into the turbo a lot as I enjoyed that Stinger engine a bit too much at times.

There is one trim only for the K900. Can I get a hallelujah for that? Base price is $59,900. With the VIP Package, which included the rear ventilated seats, premium headliner and power adjustable rear seats, my tester had a final MSRP of $64,895. It may be hard to justify spending that kind of money on a Kia, but this car is as nice, if not nicer, than most others in this segment.

The K900 is like that candidate you’re not sure about in a crowded field. Give it a chance and it might become the frontrunner.

2019 KIA K900

  • Price/As-tested price………………………………………… $59,900/$64,895
  • Mileage……………………………………18 mpg/city; 25 mpg/hwy
  • Engine……………………………………… 3.3-liter V6
  • Horsepower…………………………… 365 hp/376 lbs.-ft.
  • Transmission…………………………… 8-speed automatic
  • Drive wheels……………. All-wheel drive
  • Final assembly point……………. Gwangmyeong, Korea

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