The 2016 Kia K900 full-size luxury sedan remains an unlikely vehicle for consumers who associate the Korean brand with the small and inexpensive economy cars it launched in the U.S. two decades ago. But those buyers haven’t been paying attention; Kia now offers a line of smartly styled and feature-rich entries in a variety of segments. The K900 just takes it further upscale, following the script that launched Lexus 25 years ago.
just as it did when it launched the pricier and more luxurious Optima Limited mid-size sedan, Kia has priced the large K900 for value. The idea is to launch a more luxurious and larger model than ever before–but undercut the traditional competitors in the segment. That will bring new buyers into the brand’s showrooms, although we think it’ll get fewer conquests from the German brands than buyers moving up from mass-market models because they’re attracted by the value equation.
Whether Kia can wrap luxury into the same brand and same dealers as $14,000 subcompacts, however, remains an open question. Lexus had the advantage of a separate brand, dedicated showrooms, and a relentless focus on making its service absolutely first-class. Kia’s now spanning a very broad range of vehicles, but the K900 is a creditable first attempt that ends up somewhere between premium and outright luxury in style, capabilities, and tone.