I Have Finally Seen Kia's Luxury Car In Person, And I'm Impressed

Kia K9 K900 los angeles auto show 2013Newspress USAKia’s K900 luxury sedan.

I didn’t get to sit in the K900, Kia’s new luxury sedan, when it premiered at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.

Now in Detroit for the North American International Auto Show, I’ve had my chance, and I have to say I’m impressed.

The K900 looks and feels like the luxury cars made by Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Cadillac. The leather is nice. With the doors closed, I was nicely insulated from the frenzied pace of the auto show.

In the U.S., Kia is more closely associated with the dancing hamsters that advertise the $US15,000 Soul than with luxury driving.

But the Korean automaker’s plan to move into the premium market is hardly stupid. It has set reasonable goals and controlled costs so that it doesn’t need great sales numbers to make the K900 a success.

At this point, I wouldn’t buy the K900. Its price point will likely be a bit over $US50,000, a lot of money for a young entrant with such established and terrific competitors. A bad review of the drive quality from Consumer Reports doesn’t help, either.

But looking around inside the K900, and it’s not too hard to believe that years down the line, Kia will be a real luxury player.

I don’t love the two-tone steering wheel, but points to Kia for trying something interesting.

Good quality leather in a front seat that isn’t crowded by too many buttons. This car wasn’t on, so I couldn’t play around with the infotainment system.

Maybe most impressive are the two rear seats, which can recline independently.

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