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2019 Kia K900 Luxury Review By David Colman - It's E15 Approved +VIDEO


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2019 Kia K900

Dollar-for dollar, there's nothing that compares in terms of luxury, fit, finish or comfort

By David Colman
Special Correspondent to The Auto Channel


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2019 Kia K900
For 2019, Kia has re-engineered their top luxury sedan in mechanical rather than cosmetic ways. This 4,555 lb. brute of a motorcar still looks like its predecessor from the outside, with its slightly protuberant, oversize grill, low slung greenhouse, and slab sided expanse of sheet metal. But under the skin, the K900 now relies on the twin turbo V6 which debuted in the Kia Stinger in 2018. Although the previous K900's 3.8 liter V6 displaced 500cc more than the new 3.3 liter V6, the Stinger V6 raises horsepower of the K900 from 311hp to 365hp. Torque jumps as well, from 293lb.-ft. to 376lb.-ft. But bear in mind that Kia has discontinued the previously available V8 in the K900. That sadly missed option generated 420hp and 376lb.-ft. of torque. So does the new motor transform the K900 into a veritable sports sedan?

Not really, because the K900 is primarily a lavish, spacious limousine that has actually grown an inch longer in length (202") and 2 inches in wheelbase (122") for 2019. No matter how you cut it, that's a lot of sheet metal and luxury trapping to jostle through a series of twisty turns. Whereas the departed V8 offered a nimbler power-to-weight ratio of 10.8lbs/hp, the uprated Stinger V6 can't match those numbers at 12.4lbs/hp. Complicating the matter is the power delivery of the V6, which can be quite peaky. At low rpm ranges, when you open the throttle moderately, the twin turbocharged engine responds with such an unexpected surge of power that you can find yourself unprepared for the rush. Yet when you really need that kind of passing power on a two lane road, the Stinger V6 doesn't measure up to the concerted poke of the departed V8.

Considering its size, however, back road handling of the K900 proved surprisingly agile. Kia has fitted this top line offering with All Wheel Drive for 2019, so plenty of grip is available at all corners thanks to AWD and significantly upgraded Michelin MXM4 tires. Flashy 20 spoke aluminum alloy rims added a sparkle to the rather somber looks of our "Panthera Metal" (metallic black) test vehicle. The front rims measured 8.5Jx19" with 245/45R19 tires, while the rear 9.5Jx19" rims carried 275/40R19 rubber. The Michelins were branded with a Treadwear Rating of TW500 and a Traction rating of AA.

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2019 Kia K900
But you'd be remiss to judge the performance of the K900 by largely irrelevant sports sedan criteria. Because this is most decidedly a plush luxury sedan keyed to sedate driving techniques, not back road bashing. In fact, the best place to spend your drive time in this Kia is not behind the wheel. It's not even up front, in the right hand passenger seat. Rather, you'll want to let someone else handle those pesky driving chores while you luxuriate in the splendid aft compartment of the K900. Note that I didn't call this area the "backseat" because it's about as far from a conventional backseat as the $64,895 K900 is from the its bargain basement brother, the $15,000 Kia Rio.

Regardless of the fact that you could buy 4 Rios for the price of one K900, the top Kia is a still a bargain at its base price of $59,900. There's really nothing in the market that compares in terms of luxury, fit, finish or comfort for that kind of money. If you're looking for a comparable product from Mercedes, Audi or BMW, plan on paying about twice as much. Of course, Kia indulged our press test car with one significant option for $4,000: the "VIP Package" which adds among other items, a 12.3 inch LCD/TFT Instrument Cluster. This benign sounding addition will open your eyes just a little wider than ever before thanks to its turn signal keyed live camera feed. This live time picture displays itself on the instrument panel by replacing the tachometer if you're turning left or the speedometer if you're turning right. It's the best parlor trick in the automotive world right now, to say nothing of the fact that it ingeniously contributes to driving safety in a way that's not been done before.

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2019 Kia K900
But there's much more to that $4,000 package than the turn signal video alert. You also get 3 zone climate control with B-pillar vents for the aft compartment. The headliner upgrades to "Premium" material, and the rear seats and headrests are fitted with multiple adjustment controls, as well as heating and ventilation elements. A central armrest flips down between the outboard seats to offer wireless phone charging, plus full HVAC and entertainment system controls. The rear area looks like the cabin of a private jet, and you will be loathe to climb out of this sequestered enclosure when you arrive at your destination. So you'd better plan on hiring a chauffeur for your Kia K900expeditions.


2019 KIA K900 LUXURY

    ENGINE: 3.3 liter Twin Turbo V6 Gas Direct Injection (GDI)
    HORSEPOWER: 365hp
    TORQUE: 376lb.-ft.
    FUEL CONSUMPTION: 18MPG City/25 MPG Highway
    PRICE AS TESTED: $64,895

HYPES: Beautiful Interior Fittings, Plush Ride

GRIPES: No Full Manual Override of 8-speed Automatic Gearbox

STAR RATING: 9.5 Stars out of 10