Was The Old Kia K900 A Complete Failure?

2015 Kia K900

For years, Kia has branded itself as an automaker that can compete with the big boys for a lot less. While the South Korean brand started off by targeting millennials, it’s moved to a different segment, the upscale luxury division to take on Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW.

Unfortunately, as Doug DeMuro finds out in his latest video, the move hasn’t worked for Kia.

The new Kia Stinger is a good car that has what it takes to take on rivals in the sporty sedan segment. But taking on BMW’s 3-Series, Mercedes’ C-Class, and Audi’s A5 Sportback is a different ballgame than taking on the 7-Series, S-Class, and A8 – heavyweights in one of the most loyal sections in the industry.

To compete with the aforementioned luxury cars, Kia came up with the K900. When the car came out a few years ago, everything looked really good on paper. It was a large sedan with an available V8 engine at the front and drive going to the back. It also had Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty and a bunch of high-end features scattered throughout the cabin.

Check out Kia’s latest attempt at a luxurious full-size sedan, the 2019 K900

But, as the video below points out, it just didn’t work. And fair warning here, if you don’t like watching a car get massacred, you’ll want to avoid watching it. The review goes off on the K900, holding nothing back and faulting for the sedan for anything he spots.

After going through the regular motions of finding the weird quirks of the vehicle, he goes into more details on things he doesn’t like. Oddly, it’s claimed that the K900 isn’t equipped to take on real high-end luxury vehicles. For instance, the sedan doesn’t have a heads-up display, there’s no electronically-adjustable headrest function, it doesn’t have a touchscreen, the rear seats are ventilated, and it doesn’t come with a 360-degree camera. Those are things you need in a $60,000 luxury vehicle.

At the end of the day, DeMuro claims the only reason to get a K900 is to take advantage of its price and equipment as a used vehicle. Compared to a used Toyota Camry, it really is a luxury vehicle, especially as the two cars can be found at a similar price point. Up against a S-Class or even an E-Class, it’s not nearly as good. Hopefully Kia addresses these issues with the new ’19 K900.


  • Status

    Kia didn’t learn anything from the even older Amanti/Opirus and they repeated the same mistakes with the K900. You can’t make a luxury car on the cheap, and it’s not a luxury if it’s freely accessible and priced to move. Luxuries are expensive and difficult to obtain, and the K900 and the Amanti/Opirus were neither.

    If Kia really wanted to surprise the world, it would be to make a S-class beater that can command S-class money. Fortunately, that is a job for Genesis, not Kia.

    • Navy ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

      Status, you should incorporate Kia’s mission for its K900, first. Since the Kia K900 introduction to the public, it had received positive reviews like in 2015 Auto-Pacific Vehicle Satisfaction awarded the K900 with a satisfaction award; in addition, the Kia K900 ranked at the top of its segment, which coveted a Auto-Pacific presidential award in nearly 19 years of the history from a VSA score (Vehicle Satisfactory Award).

      U.S. News and World’s Report named the Kia K900 best “car” for families, and Decisive Magazine named the 2015 Kia K900 sedan as the “2015 Urban Car of the Year” at its 19th Annual Urban Wheel Awards. Consumer Guide Automotive has awarded the Kia K900 best buy; people who can actually afford such expensive cars will not head over to a Kia showroom when Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus are all they know especially when it comes to a lease deal.

      The Kia K900 can rival an S-class, but Kia mission was to offer a value-oriented sedan that comes standard with rear-wheel drive, available engines of different sizes, superb craftsmanship and quality, and a price that the top-tier brands cannot rival, period.

    • bd0007

      The current K900 was never intended for the US market (as was the Hyundai Equus), but after seeing what Hyundai was able to do with the Equus, Kia decided to bring the K900 over.

      Problem was, while the Equus had the Genesis slotting underneath it to, so to speak, “set the table” (many Genesis owners ended up moving up to the Equus), the K900 didn’t have such help.

      Also, didn’t help that the K900 came over MID-way through its life-cycle and being on the old Equus platform (which doesn’t support AWD) is out-dated.

      Any K900s Kia sold here is “gravy” – frankly, surprised that they sold over 2,500 in 2015 (thus, far, has sold 5,234 in the US).

  • Bill Nguyen

    It’s not really fair to compare this old gen model to modern cars. The car came out in 2013 for crying out… The new model is coming soon, why not wait till then instead of ravaging this lame duck now?

    • Merc1

      The S-Class came out for 2014 so that’s no excuse. What will the excuse be for the new K900 when it fails to beat the current S-Class, 7-Series and new A8?


      • Bill Nguyen

        The excuse will be, “it’s a KIA” lol

      • bd0007

        The K900 went into production in 2012 and is based on the Equus platform (which went into production in 2009).

        The successor to the Equus, the G90, is already in its 4th year of production – that’s how outdated the current K900 is, esp. when considering that it doesn’t even offer AWD which is a must for the US market.

        Genesis is already in the latter stages of developing a new platform that will underpin its crossovers, the new G80 and G90, so even the “new” K900 is kinda outdated.

        Also, the K900 doesn’t compete against the S Class, etc. – as it is a “tweener.”

      • Cobrajet

        Why would it need to beat them, no one else can, there are other cars in that segment that it can beat.

  • Autoexperte

      • Mr. Crankypants

        It was styled for the more conservative Korean market


          • Cobrajet

            They can think of it like a Buick.


  • Craig

    Replace all of the badges with ‘BMW’ badges and you would be amazed at how more impressed people – including Doug – would be with this car.

    • Matt

      Even Kia admitted this wasn’t their best work, nothing to do with people’s bias – just look at how well received the far better Stinger is.

      • Craig

        I disagree with you.

        • Matt

          Well then you disagree with Kia themselves.

    • TheBelltower

      This wouldn’t have been a good BMW ten years ago.

    • brn

      BMW often gets a pass. Kia gets a pass in the automotive press, but not with the buying public. If the badge said Lincoln, it’d be ripped at harder by the automotive press.

  • Jim Brashear

    The K900 DOES have heads up display and 360 view camera. In fact the Cadenza has 360 camera. The author is making stuff up.

  • Bash

    I think its cool, Of course i love the new one more now, but the older model is also fine.

  • Mr. Crankypants

    In being so annoyed this guy is so annoying

    • bd0007

      Don’t understand how this guy is more popular than Alex on Autos, Savagegeese and the Straight Pipe guys.

      • brn

        I enjoy both Doug and Alex. However, if you want a more consistent review, Alex is the easy winner.

  • Merc1

    To answer the question, YES.


  • jaykit

    Doug DeMuro is the Kia K900 of automotive ‘journalists’.

  • Cobrajet

    The name was the problem.

  • JL T0x

    I would think that Hyundai execs has some real intelligence. The K900 was never intended to “beat” the S-class. Utterly ridiculous huh. The Equus was meant to compete with the 7-series/S-class/A8/LS/CT6 but not necessarily become the benchmark. The Hyundai Genesis/Kia K900 were meant to be halo sedans for their respective lineups.

    The K900 was meant to shake up the mainstream, the upscale, & some of the “lesser” luxury brands. K900 was meant to possibly shake-up the Toyota Avalon, Buick Lacrosse, Infiniti Q70, Acura RL, Lincoln Continental, Chrysler 300, Ford Taurus sales maybe….to get consumers thinking about how nice a big sedan can become & not be astronomically priced.

    Now…Genesis is a totally different scenario. It should compete well against the modest trim levels for each vehicle category eventually. But Hyundai has to be really careful. Brand perception is everything – ask Cadillac & Lincoln. If every Genesis model has a mainstream equivalent, that will continue to hurt their mission to one day be respected like a Lexus or Benz or Bimmer at the standards of luxury.

  • brn

    If you’re a Kia fan, they’re giving away used K900’s.

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