It’s time as soon as once more for extra Kia massive sedan goodness. Like final time, we choose up within the early 2010s. Kia’s second full-size sedan developed beneath Hyundai’s controllership was the K7, or Cadenza in all markets outdoors South Korea. Pitched as a value-priced premium front-drive automobile, it competed towards the likes of the Toyota Avalon and Nissan Maxima, however lacked any outlined consolation or sporty traits. Cadenza additionally had a bland company design courtesy of the corporate’s new Euro-like styling mission, and former VW designer Peter Schreyer.
Shortly after the Cadenza went on sale, Kia turned its sights towards an excellent bigger sedan: A brand new rear-drive one to occupy the luxurious area, a category above the Cadenza. It was the most important automobile Kia supplied in almost twenty years, the primary rear-drive Kia for the reason that (Mazda Sentia) Kia Enterprise of 2002, and the primary rear-drive sedan Kia ever bought within the North American market. It’s time for K9.
As talked about in our final entry, the K9 used the identical platform as Hyundai’s new Equus flagship. Equus was newly in its second technology in 2010, because it moved away from its odd roots as a longitudinal front-drive V8 designed in a three way partnership with Mitsubishi. Given that the Equus was the businessman’s luxurious sedan phase chief within the South Korean market, it was essential that it debut first and get a head begin over Kia’s new massive sedan enterprise.
Like Cadenza, Kia marketed its sedan with a special identify in all markets outdoors South Korea. K9 was not viable in North America, so that they added a few zeros to its badge. Presto, K900! Other export markets obtained the big sedan because the Quoris, however that identify was not chosen for North America as Kia flirted with a Ok# sedan naming scheme (however by no means dedicated).
Though it shared a platform with the Equus, the K9 was a distinctly completely different car with its personal exterior design and a special total mission. Namely, it was not permitted to intrude with the flagship standing of the Equus. Equus was all the time a bit bigger, flashier, and had extra chrome and an optionally available hood decoration. It was type of like that point GM made a Cadillac Corvette that was not allowed to intrude with the opposite Corvette.
Both vehicles shared the identical 119.9-inch wheelbase, however the Equus was allowed one other model, with a 12-inch stretch (131.7″ wheelbase). Well past long-wheelbase consideration, that Equus was bought as a limousine. Lengthwise, the K9 was 200.4″ total, whereas the usual Equus inched it out at 203.1 inches. Both vehicles had an equivalent width of 74.8 inches, and an total peak of 58.7″. Their weights had been very related at round 4,200 kilos, although the Equus weighed as much as 4,497 kilos totally loaded – about 100 greater than the K9.
Engines had been principally shared between the 2 vehicles, and most markets used the multiport or direct injection model of Hyundai’s Lambda II 3.8-liter V6. The former model managed 286 horsepower and 264 torques, whereas direct injection meant 329 horsepower and 291 lb-ft. The 3.3-liter Lambda II V6 was supplied solely within the K9, which all the time had direct injection and managed a greater energy determine than the multiport 3.8. The 3.3 made 296 horses and 257 lb-ft.
The Equus typically used a 4.6-liter V8 that was not shared with the K9. Other V8 motivation in Equus and K9 was supplied by Hyundai’s Tau sequence, once more in multiport or direct injection guises. The K9 solely obtained the 5.0-liter direct-injected engine, which supplied a formidable 419 horsepower and 376 lb-ft of torque.
For American market functions, all K900s arrived with the 5.0-liter V8 as commonplace, as Kia tried to distinguish its new luxurious automobile from its different V6-powered sedans. Canadians with their costly gas and economy-mindedness might choose the three.8-liter direct-injection V6 or the V8. Regardless of the market, all examples of the primary technology K9 had been motivated by the identical eight-speed automated.
As far as styling, whereas the Equus went for flashy and stately in an nearly American means, the K9 took a softer method just like the then-current Cadenza. The Tiger Nose was current and accounted for within the K9, and extra outlined than it was on the Cadenza. The K9 used a easy vertical slats grille in chrome, surrounded by the gentle edges of the entrance clip. The grille regarded as if it had been pressed into the entrance finish gently. The decrease valance sported one other grille, a lot of which was blocked off by way of shiny black plastic trim.
And although it debuted across the identical time because the refreshed Cadenza, the fog lamp and valance trim therapy had been extra akin to the unique, much less aggressive Cadenza design. Lamps between the 2 vehicles had been very related in form, although the K9 sported LEDs whereas the Cadenza had HiD bulbs. The K9 had an early implementation of the sq. LED clusters that type of appear like these outdated digital camera flash blocks.
The K9’s hood had an influence bulge within the center and a few character strains that trailed from the decrease fringe of the hood and vanished on the A-pillar. A gentle, spherical wheel arch had few distinguishing traits and surrounded a wheel design that was similar to the Cadenza. On the fender, two rounded fake vents had been an indicator of the K9’s potential buyer base in North America.
Fender ports resided under a soft-ish character line that ran alongside the aspect and turned inward on the rear fender. Overall it regarded barely much less aggressive than the Cadenza. With an nearly equivalent chrome strip under the doorways, onlookers can be forgiven in the event that they mistook the K9 for a Cadenza or vice versa.
The K9’s profile gave a bit nod to the truth that it was a rear-drive automobile. The door form and aspect window design had been nearly equivalent between it and Cadenza, the K9 was only a barely longer take. At the rear, the K9 went extra conservative than the Cadenza, with massive lamp clusters (not LED) joined collectively by a strip of chrome. The gentle curves continued and wrapped across the rear, the place they shaped a sharper ridge on the trunk lid.
The rear therapy was someplace between a recent Avalon and an LS 460 however did little to encourage or give any indication it was a luxurious car. Front and rear had been massive Kia logos, with their standard black background and chrome ring. The total look was very subdued; the K9 was a “don’t notice me” type of luxurious sedan.
Inside K9 took its cues from the brand new Cadenza inside design, with further buttons and energy gear. There was a winged sprint form usually in contrasting colours (black plus seating shade). A big infotainment display within the heart of the sprint was a focus, with an identical floating heart stack as on the Cadenza. Seats featured distinction piping for further aptitude, maybe to distract from the very ugly three-spoke steering wheel that places your creator in thoughts of the one within the closing Monte Carlo.
The K9 entered manufacturing in 2012, and all examples (besides Russian ones) had been made at Kia’s Gwangmyeong, South Korea manufacturing unit. Production was not shared with the Equus, which was made in Ulsan. In addition to its rear-drive and V8 chops, Kia promised North America the K900 was loaded with options and included as commonplace many stuff you’d pay further for at different makes. Blind-spot detection and a head-up show had been commonplace, and the LED lighting was adaptive. There had been even Audi-like rear local weather and seating controls situated on the armrest.
Curiously it took Kia a few years to start importation of the brand new K900, as the primary fashions didn’t arrive till the 2015 mannequin 12 months. Like the Cadenza, the K9 was obtained as a extra conventional tackle a luxurious automobile, the type of car the place one wafts alongside at a delicate tempo with a V8 with a hushed whisper. As a gross sales prospect in 2015, you may see the place that is headed.
Available in two trims, Premium and Luxury, the K900 began at $54,500 ($69,099 adj.) and topped out at about $59,900 ($75,945 adj.). Notably cheaper than different rear-drive sedans of its ilk, the K900 reassured that it supplied worth in its phase. Its closest competitors was in all probability the Infiniti Q70, which requested $49,850 ($63,203 adj.) with V6 however was (wowza) $62,850 ($83,489 adj.) with V8.
And how did the K900 fare? In a world the place the luxurious sedan was dying, and the consolation sedan much more so, the K900 had its greatest 12 months in 2015 when it bought 2,524 examples. 1,330 individuals purchased it early in 2014. Sales by no means reached 1,000 examples once more in 2016, 2017, or 2018. Like the Cadenza, Canadians averted the K900 just like the plague. Sales of 524 in 2014 dropped to 36 within the K900’s official debut 12 months. Surely one of many rarest automobiles in Canada, the K900 bought 25 extra in 2016, seven in 2017, and 4 in 2018.
Two large vehicles, two failures for Kia in North America. Undeterred, whereas the K900 was within the midst of its first flop the corporate would provide up an all-new Cadenza to seize a special front-drive sedan buyer. We’ll choose up there subsequent time.
Become a TTAC insider. Get the most recent information, options, TTAC takes, and the whole lot else that will get to the reality about vehicles first by subscribing to our e-newsletter.