Kia K900 Powers Rear Wheels, Brand’s Push into Premium Segment

Kia K900 Powers Rear Wheels, Brand’s Push into Premium Segment

Nappa leather upholstery, a V8 powering the back half and reclining rear seats; none of those would make sense in a Kia-branded products a few years ago but things are changing quickly. 

Hyundai led the way with its Genesis and Equus sedans, and now Kia is following suit by bringing the K900 to North America. Called the K9 in other parts of the world where it is already sold, the car comes standard with 3.8-liter V6 or an optional 5.0-liter “Tau” V8. Sound familiar? It should because this is a derivative product that shares much of its DNA with the Hyundai Genesis and Equus.

The V6 makes 311 hp while the V8 pumps out 420. Both engines are matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, although Kia adjusted the gear ratios to suit both mills individually. Kia hasn’t released fuel consumption estimates yet and pricing will remain unannounced until closer to the K900’s arrival in dealers during the first quarter of next year.

SEE ALSO: 2013 LA Auto Show Coverage

Nappa leather is offered, but the standard equipment list doesn’t include it. Instead, buyers get “high-grade” leather at the entry level – whatever it may be. Genuine wood inlays are also available in white sycamore or dark “charcoal” poplar. The front seats include heating and cooling on all models, while the “VIP” package brings chilled chairs to the back as well.

An available technology package adds an “Around View” parking monitor to give drivers a bird’s eye view while backing up. Other safety features include land departure warnings, adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring. Kia’s first cross traffic alert system is included with the V8 models. Pre-tensioning seatbelts, collision warnings and pre-pressurized braking before an anticipated collision as also part of Kia’s “Advanced Vehicle Safety Management system.

It also features the largest TFT instrument panel of any product from the brand so far. The 12.3-inch color display can be configured with a variety of themes depending on which drive mode is selected. There’s also a 900-watt stereo with 17 speakers scattered through the car.

Just like Hyundai’s high-end sedans, rear seat passengers have access to climate controls via a panel build into the fold-down center arm rest.

Kia’s push into the premium segment hasn’t been as aggressive as Hyundai’s. The brand first introduced its Cadenza and is now ready to offer a second product that will try to court more affluent buyers.

GALLERY: Kia K900 Live Photos


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Discuss this story at our Kia K900 forum.

  • JD Power

    This isn’t about power…it’s about saving fuel. C-max is pricey.. prius beats it ..and toyota will only get better. Worried about the power? too funny. seems every review of economy cars is about power. given the option for a 60hp diesel..i’d jump all over it. you can pass me all day long… too funny.

  • ColumWood

    Power is still relevant I think. Not for performance driving, but just for a liveable amount of power to get up to speed, merge, etc.

  • steveinglendale

    Performance DOES matter, even in hybrids. Guess what, styling and perception of oneself also matters. So, there are now alternates to Prius’s Citroenesque styling, pathetic power, and wonky handling, etc. Vive La Difference! FYI – we got a ’13 Fusion Hybrid well knowing it wouldn’t get 47 mpg. It’s a different driving style, but done well it’s very happy at 75-80 mph hwy @ 41 mpg. And for almost all trips it’s the go to car other than our SLK350, Dodge Durango, Mini Cooper, or ’69 Alfa Spider – all great runners, great driving experiences with special purposes. So, yes, drive them all, consider your priorities, and enjoy the experience whatever gets you happy!

  • Oscar Grant

    Hybrid is all about saving the money on gas genius…If i want a performance based car i would go with cadillac, bmw or mercedes,,

  • steveinglendale

    Oscar, glad we agree – different vehicles for different purposes, as I pointed out. So, been there done that (5 Mercedes including the current SLK 350 which BTW is a Merc), and style, function and pleasure mixed together in different amounts DO count to an awful lot of us. And so hybrids are not ALL about saving money on gas. Think Porsche, BMW, Lincoln hybrids and luxury EV’s among many others here now and so many more soon to come. Toyota was first to take a chance on the mass market and are still a good option at the bottom end as this article and so many other comparisons point out. So, enjoy your tin can plastic fantastic econobox whatever it might be, or overpriced 450+ hp performance lux coupe or sedan and feel smug about it. It’s OK, too. And just so you’re aware of the state of the art the highest performance vehicle (not all out top speed, but measured on the ‘Ring) that you can buy for the street use is a plug-in hybrid. It’s a Porsche that can easily top 200+ mph and get 94 mpge (OK, not at the same time, and it’ll cost you some $$$$)

  • Fred

    The C-Max has a LOWER starting price, not higher. And of course power matters, for driving pleasure and safety alike. I drove a 60hp diesel Peugeot in Europe, and believe me, you do not want such a car.

  • Adrian L

    Not true. And for fully loaded models, you pay much more with Toyota

  • ranger.rick

    I think the cmax is an ugly car.

  • Roger

    And the prius is a swan

  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Oscar Grant

    What happens when u crash a tesla? Buy a new one or send it to repair shop?

  • Richard Joash Tan

    the Model S has a 5 star rating which exceeds due to a lowest chance of injury and nearly destroys the equipment used for crash tests

  • n8r0n

    For one, you’re more likely to walk away unharmed than with just about any other car.

  • Oscar Grant

    I will wait till C-Max catches up with the Prius sales number and Ford stock catches up with Toyota Motors!

  • bgs

    Great review, gave a nice balanced rundown of the highlights of each car. I would disagree with the price comparison made however, contrary to what this video says and what commenters repeat, the cmax is LESS expensive than the Prius V. Base SE cmax is $25995 MSRP, lowest price for prius v is the “two” which starts $1.5K more. ($27445) I know this because I’m considering both cars and that much less $ makes for another plus for the Cmax . Just wish it had more space.

  • sg

    I am tall and need headroom. For me, the C-Max has the headroom, the Prius V did not.

  • Offew1988

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт… http://is­&#46­gd/PSD7aV

    Power is still relevant I think.
    Not for performance driving, but just for a liveable amount of power to
    get up to speed, merge, etc.

  • Klinkster

    Then you’re an idiot. Try and use the seat height adjustment.

  • $6345059

    Maybe he does NOT want to lower the seat to the floor to get headroom! dumba$$

  • bayski

    yea……….I’m an tall “idiot” also……and I bought the C-max too…….guess you must be a short “small” man………………..

  • Adrian L

    Klinkster, putting more air in the tires raises the whole car, not just the ceiling

  • Robook

    According to real world data on Fuelly Cmax hybrid averages 39.6 mpg (7+ below EPA) while the Prius V is hitting 42.8 (= EPA). The data for Cmax Energi is even more interesting. The electric battery range of the Cmax Energi is 21 compared to 11 for the Plugin Prius. However, the Plugin Prius averages 78 mpg compared to 64.1 for the Cmax Energi.

  • Roger Carr

    Umm, Prius V has the same automatic climate control across all trim levels.

  • PapaJ

    The Prius is slow, ugly, and noisy. The C-Max is quick, good looking to my eye, and limousine-quiet.

    Also if the Toyota gets 43 MPG and the Ford gets 40 MPG, for an average driver logging 15,000 miles per year @ $3.50/gallon the annual cost difference is all of $75, well worth it for the superior ride/interior/technology in the C-Max

  • Oscar Grant

    The first prius was introduced in US market in 2001 and we can still see those old ugly priuses around. Lets see if C-Max lasts that long!

  • PapaJ

    Oscar — Yes, long-term reliability is a question mark with the new Ford. We have owned several Toyotas, including a Lexus RX330 and our current 2012 Highlander and they don’t break. However,Ford warrants its L-Ion battery & EV bits for 8 years/100,000 miles, so that gave me enough assurance to buy the C-Max.

  • Adrian L

    Time will tell. There’s a few Prius advocates who seem to think they can see into the future and state that C-max reliability is poor. The car is simply too new to make that claim.

    I couldn’t be happier with my 2013 C-max. Every comparison video I came across came to the same conclusion: apart from trunk space (the V wins) the C-max is a better car and you get way more options (Nav, Premium audio, leather) for the money.

  • Roger Bobowicz

    I own a V, level 5 trim, and have not tested the C Max. Both are apparently capable hybrids. I will say the Prius V is a very smooth ride and exudes quality in it’s road feel…at really high speed it does have some tire noise though. The powertrain is smooth and has adequate power, the power button is available if needed, I have not used it much if at all,. The seats are the most comfortable I have experienced, i have the fake leather ones. MPG overall is 47.5mpg for the last year. It will occasionally do tanks of well over 50mpg I have 7 of those out of 34 tanks, this is actual math mpg, not the car’s meter. Cargo room and layout are a plus for example i carried a twin bed size mattress and bedspring flat (with the driver seat forward for that stint). Looks are subjective, but to my eyes the V is a little streamliner compared to the more upright CMax with it’s complicated front graphics. One plus not mentioned often is that the V has a spare tire, I understand the CMax does not. I agree the interior is a little plain-Jane in the V. The C Max wasn’t on the market yet when I bought mine, otherwise I might be driving it, but I am impressed with the hybrid powertrain set-up in the V.

  • Guest

    I can’t attest to the C Max because I have not driven it. I can only say that I have a Prius v (level 5) that I purchased 19 months ago. I LOVE IT! Drives so smoothly & easily and the car hasn’t given me a single problem since I got it. I also love the height — not too low and not too high. I have the car in white and it is so good looking! As is evident from these comments, I am very pleased with my car and so glad I chose it.

  • hybridbear

    I’ve found the brakes on the Toyota hybrids to be much worse than the brakes on the new Ford hybrids. We have a new Fusion Hybrid and my parents have a C-Max Energi. We also test drove a C-Max Hybrid before buying our Fusion. The brakes on the Toyota Camry Hybrid that we compared against and on the Prius Liftback are way more jerky and less linear than the Ford brakes. Ford really got the brakes right and we consider that to be one of the strong points of the Ford hybrids.

  • William Crews

    I bought my wife a 2012 Prius V; trading in her beloved Camry. She wanted something fuel efficient but, with enough space to haul the kids and her teaching supplies to school everyday. Fortunately, the V came out just in time and we looked at it after looking at some minivans and crossovers. The fuel economy just isn’t there in the other two categories and it was really important for us. So after looking at and driving the V, we bought a used one with 1351 miles on it. It is the 3 level trim (mid-level) and someone had traded it back in for a 5 level trim. We couldn’t be happier with it. I can live with the fact that it’s underpowered and not the most dynamic driver. It’s a hybrid; I bought it for economy and it surpassed my expectations in that regard. All the Prius haters make me laugh. I’m sure the Ford C-max is an impressive car and had it been out when I was shopping, I would’ve considered it but, it wasn’t. The Prius drives smooth, has enough power when you need it via the power mode and has excellent fuel economy. On top of all that, it is very comfortable to ride in. I don’t know where they got the V in this test but, to my knowledge, all of them have dual climate zone controls. The back seat leg room is off the charts and I find it hard to believe the Ford C Max has more. I’m a long-legged 6 ‘ tall guy over 200 lbs and I can stretch out in our back seat. Great storage in the back and on highway, this car averages 49.7 with 2 adults and 3 kids and luggage. On top of all this, Toyota has worked all the major bugs out of this car model over the years and it’s backed by their warranty.

  • PD311

    I test drove each of these cars today. I can’t disagree more with the reviewer’s opinion that the C-Max has better interior than the Prius v. The knobs and handles in the C-Max were very flimsy, felt ready to break. Displays were small and harder to read in the C-Max. The seat was much more comfortable in the Prius v (I drove models with imitation leather.) Prius v was roomier and had far more storage. Overall the Prius cabin was of much higher quality and far more driver friendly.

    The C-max was the clear winner in speed, steering and quiet ride, but the Prius v is acceptable in each of those categories. Those that put a premium on fast, aggressive driving would likely choose the C-Max given these two choices. Then again, if that is what’s most important to you, you’re probably not looking at either of these. If you’re like me, a city driver looking for an economical, comfortable, smooth ride with room for the dogs, then the Prius v seems a good choice.

  • Adam

    One big difference here, and yes I’m biased to Toyota, is lithium ion vs nickel hydride. Toyota has used the nick/hyd battery for a while, and when you compare the cost and the reliability of this system it should be a no brainier. The regular Toyota Prius has been JD Powers most reliable car 5 years running, and the V uses the same exact technology. Ford has been doing a great job with its design, both inside and out, but when you add up maintenance cost, reliability, and resale value, the Toyota wins

  • Adrian L

    Sorry, but even considering resale value when buying a car seems deeply unsexy to me. It’s like picking beige because it hides the dirt well.


  • North Larry

    Bought a Prius 2013 V after test driving both. At first after reading reviews I was leaning towards the C-Max. But that is what test drives are for. And not just the driving part. When we first saw the C-Max and got in it, it was way down to the Prius V. Why? Well overall it is much closer to a regular Prius than a V for cargo room. So if you are getting a V you want a bigger vehicle that is fuel efficient. The C-Max comes very close to not even being in the same class as the V in this regard.

    Technically there is more passenger room in the C-Max. BUT not even there in operation. The C-Max has higher head room. But the rear seat does not move back. V is way more usable passenger room.

    We enjoyed the ride in the V much more. Now that I own one I can say the acceleration is not good, but the power mode gives a lot of power when needed. However for 98% of driving, the non-acceleration from a stop, the V is awesome. Super comfortable, good handling, incredibly tight steering.

    I am getting around 44-45 in mixed driving. I have heard there is a break in period as well. Overall though the V is a great car and the C-Max is a virtual non-competitor to the V no matter what the car sites say. It is closer to the regular Prius in space than the V. That is what it should be compared to.

  • North Larry

    BTW I saw a couple of comments on styling and looks. The V does not look much like a regular Prius to me. The V really makes the Prius shape sing. I think it looks awesome. And visibility is just amazing. Best visibility especially front in any car I have ever driven. Has to be ridden in to believe.

  • CoastRider

    I am very interested in seeing the new, remodeled 2015 Toyota hybrids. Articles say they will have more power, better efficiency, better batteries, better handling, will be a bit more sporty, and have a new shape. Should come out in late 2014?

  • Shiratori1

    Shittiest name (and car) EVER.

  • Chris

    Good job, buddie. You are the most impartial person I’ve ever met… so when did you take it for a test drive? and where?

  • coffee geek

    Way to add insight and critical thinking into the conversation. Dipshit much?

  • kia lover

    jajaja, don worry guys, this is a BMW or MB driver that is pissed off as he is paying $899 for his 535 lease and he had to pay thru the roof for every option :>)) nothing like a disgruntled german auto owner……poor thing its ok,we know that Kia is an “Ugly, shitty car” at least according to you, but we are paying hundreds less for our leases jijjijiii and traveling and playing golf with the left over funds we have..cheers

  • Jeff

    Nice looking car, somewhat Jaguar-esque in my opinion. Wouldn’t buy the first model year of any car, but my 2012 Optima has been superb. I would not hesitate to buy another Kia.

    Especially like that this comes with “land departure warning”, you know, in case you’re about to go on an ocean cruise or become airborne… (sometimes typos are just too good to pass up!)

  • Kirk Masters

    We love our C-Max. Small issue with the large fuse caused battery issue which is now fixed. Under power a car and you may never be happy. Hit the pedal in a C-Max and it goes. There are times that you may need that punch. Pulling a small trailer, no problem. Add leather, nav, voice commands, nice audio, remote key locks, kick open the rear and you have most of the toys that we all love to have. Want Ford to fix one small thing with a software update. Fuel economy seems to be okay. Average seems to be around 38 mpg total, cold start, etc. When warm, 40-52 mpg. Better in the city. Will see how it does in the summer as it is cold now.

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