Test Drive: Kia's flagship luxury sedan, the new K900, is both relaxing and stimulating

Test Drive: Kia's flagship luxury sedan, the new K900, is both relaxing and stimulating

May 5th, 2019 by Mark Kennedy in Business Around the Region

The 2019 Kia K900 is the Korean carmaker's flagship sedan.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

Do you want your luxury automobile to be relaxing or stimulating? The correct answer for most buyers is both: although most luxury sedans are biased in one direction or the other.

The world-class interior of the 2019 Kia K900 features natural wood accents.

The world-class interior of the 2019 Kia K900...

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.

Just like you wouldn't want a life limited to "only coffee" or "only cocktails," versatility in luxury sedans is a plus.

The new Kia K900 luxury sedan leans toward comfort, although its standard all-wheel-drive and twin-turbo-charged V-6 engine suggest it has some adrenaline in its bloodstream.

Kia is not the first name on most buyers' lists when shopping for a luxury sedan, so it needs to stand out in some substantial way. The K900 is Kia's flagship, and most of its virtues are inside where generous walnut trim and polished metal accents making driving the K900 like sitting behind an executive desk.

The driving experience is divinely quiet, with the kind of cabin isolation that used to only be associated with Lexus and Mercedes. Oddly though, the K900 feels most like the BMW 7-series, with buttery power encased in interior color tones you'd expect to see inside a box of Whitman's chocolates.


Model: 2019 Kia K900 Luxury

Exterior color: Panthera Metal

Interior color: Black

Engine: 3.3-liter V-6, twin-turbo

Horsepower: 365

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 25 mpg highway, 18 mpg city

Local Dealer: Kia of Chattanooga, 2136 Chapman Road

* Price (as tested): $64,895

Kias are available locally at Kia of Chattanooga at 2136 Chapman Road.



The 2019 Kia K900 is the second generation of the Korean carmaker's biggest and most expensive sedan. New for 2019 it packs a twin-turbo V-6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Kia says the K900 will sprint from zero-to-60 mph in under six seconds.



The base price of our Luxury trim tester is $59,900, as the car limbos under the psychologically important $60K bar. Alas, our tester includes the VIP package — which adds $4,000 in extras such as a 12.3- inch touch screen and tri-zone climate control — and rings up at $64,895 including a $995 freight charge.



Our "like" list included the sublime cabin quietness, perforated Nappa leather seats, an elegant dash, gleaming 20-spoke wheels, and a 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty. Our favorite feature though is an innovative blind spot-view monitor. Any time you use the turn signal to change lanes a virtual gauge cluster displays a camera view of your blind spot. This is a useful feature for those of us who have difficulty craning our necks.


View other Test Drive stories by Mark Kennedy

Looking for a used or new car?


The rearward visibility is a bit cramped, especially with rear window-shades deployed. The V6 engine is a step down in displacement from the former V-8, and the lengthy exit chime when you turn off the engine is a bit melodramatic, like the final notes of a TV show theme. Combined city-highway fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon is modest.



No matter where you are, this car wants to find a freeway, where its sound isolation and awesome power really shine. The all-wheel drive system can send power fore and aft as needed.



The K900 has all the perks of the best luxury brands without the added expense.

Online: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.

Contact Mark Kennedy at mkennedy@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.

The back seat of the Kia K900 has ample leg room.

Photo by Mark Kennedy /Times Free Press.