The 2015 Kia K900 extends current Kia design themes into a much larger vehicle than the Optima mid-size sedan, but breaks no new ground in styling. That may well be the safest course for a new entrant, but the downside is that it fails to make the K900 stand out in any way.
The K900 is a long car, with the classic proportions of a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan, including a long hood, a shorter and high trunk, and short overhangs. It rides on large 19-inch chrome multi-spoke wheels and tires. Like most new sedans, both the windshield and the rear window are steeply raked. At the front, Kia’s signature chrome-ringed grille is low and almost upright above a band of air inlets in the bottom of the front fascia, with a pair of quad-LED headlight arrays swept back under a clear lens in each fender on the V-8 model—perhaps its nicest single detail. A strong shoulder line at the rear leads into a slightly upswept lip on the trunk lid, with wraparound LED lights below it and a pair of chrome-outlined exhaust ports in the lower bodywork.
From many angles, the K900’s styling produces echoes of other vehicles: the front is something like that of a Tesla Model S, which has an oval grille and swept-back lights, and the rear carries distinct echoes of the most recent Lexus sedans. Save one crisp accent line on the flanks, the forms are largely soft and rounded, especially at the front end—as opposed to the mix of rounded and crisply lined design found on the latest German models. It all works fine, but absent the distinctive grille, you might be hard-pressed to identify what brand produced the K900. The K900’s one truly dissonant exterior note is a chrome-trimmed “vent” on each front fender between the front wheelwell and door. Not only does it have no function, it’s shallow enough to be visibly fake.
Inside, the Kia K900’s cockpit is comfortable and stylish, largely fitted with soft-touch materials and luxury surfaces like wood and matte silver metal. There’s quite a lot of glossy piano black plastic in the dashboard, a material we fear is quickly become a cliché. On the high-end V-8 model of the K900, the seats and certainly other surfaces are covered Nappa leather in black or white with contrasting piping (it’s optional on the V-6 model). High-gloss walnut or poplar wood trim are matched to the two colors, respectively. The usual luxury touches—a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control—are all present, as is a console-mounted knob to navigate through the menu options on the large central touchscreen display.
It’s all pleasantly straightforward and easy to use, but the effect falls somewhere between premium and luxury. A few surfaces are still hard plastic, in places passengers likely won’t touch, and there’s nothing remotely extravagant compared to the features found in German sedans or various Lexus models. Perhaps the best way to view the design would be quiet luxury, for those with little need to show off a prestige brand and a desire to get value for their luxury-car dollar.