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
Get the Flash Player to see this player.
Discuss this story at our Kia K900 forum.