Finally, Kia has the stuff to take the fight to the Genesis G90.
Kia's K900 is a fine car, but its impact on the large luxury saloon class wasn't nearly as big as the Genesis G90. We liked the price, but the bland exterior and interior materials kept it from being a real contender.
The K900 is no longer on sale, but its spot in the Kia range will be filled by a heavily revised model. Exterior-wise, Kia's design is sleeker than before. It's not visually stunning, but it is handsome in a quiet, reserved kind of way. That's the case with most luxury barges, so Kia is already on the right path. Kia is dropping the big V8, instead opting for a 3.8-liter naturally-aspirated V6 and the twin-turbocharged 3.3-liter V6 from the Stinger.
When it comes to luxury barges, however, the interior is far more important. That's where owners will spend most of their time, so you want a serene, high-quality space. In our opinion, that's where the previous K900 failed to perform.
A new video of the new K9 (as it's known in South Korea) highlights some of the nifty features the new model will have. As a start, the top-spec model comes with soft closing doors. The right rear passenger seat can be reshaped into a business-class seat. At the press of a button, the front seat moves forward while the rear seat reclines.
The rear-seat entertainment system consists of two high-resolution screens. These offer more functionality than you'd usually find on these systems. In addition to finding the nearest golf course, you can also follow the navigation or look at the weather report. You can also set the ambient lighting from the rear seat; there are 64 colors to choose from. A 17-speaker sound system also appears to be standard.
The main controls for all of these features are housed in the center seat seatback. From there, you can control the climate control, seat heating and ventilation, and the seating position. It also has a large storage space with USB charging ports and a single wireless charging space.
If anything, the front seats are even more impressive. The main surfaces are covered in leather and open-pore wood trim.
Other niceties include a 14.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a massive 14.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Like a smartphone, its background seems to mimic the weather outside.
The layout is very much like before. Kia is staying with the minimalist theme, but the climate control buttons remain separate. Underneath the center screen, there are also shortcut buttons for the major features. The centerpiece is a beautiful Maurice Lacroix analog watch.
Unfortunately, the K9 will not be coming to the USA. In 2019 Kia sold 390 K900s, and in 2020 that figure dropped to 305 units. It simply doesn't make economic sense for Kia to import it here.
Having said that, we do believe the latest updates make it more competitive against rivals like the Genesis G90 and Lexus LS. If Genesis can sell more than 2,000 G90s, Kia should be able to reach half that figure with this new model.
Unless Kia changes its mind, we'll never know.