Kia’s been constructing the Ok900 luxurious sedan for half of the previous decade, however I am keen to guess lots of you will have by no means heard of it.

The primary-generation Kia Ok900 was truly a reasonably candy experience, balancing upscale appointments and excessive worth, however had bother discovering success. Maybe consumers simply could not reconcile the concept of a full-size luxurious sedan from Kia, the model with dancing hamsters in its commercials. Regardless of the trigger, this completely good automotive was an especially poor vendor. Since its introduction in 2014, Kia has solely bought simply over 5,200 Ok900s within the US.

Somewhat than minimize its losses, Kia is hoping to do higher with a vastly improved second-generation mannequin, which I lately had the prospect to pattern in Korean-spec K9 guise. Is it second time’s a allure for Kia’s massive luxurious sedan?

Luxurious facilities

The Ok900 is a really luxurious proposition, and places its finest foot ahead with a well-appointed cabin behind its delicate shut doorways. The match and end have dramatically improved over the outgoing Ok900, with richer leather-based and better high quality stitching. Actual uncovered wooden and brushed metallic accents on the dashboard, steering wheel and consoles spherical out the premium inside.

At evening, the motive force and passengers are handled to ambient lighting with seven “mood-enhancing” colour themes designed in partnership with colour specialists Pantone. If none of these seven pre-set designs fit your fancy, the 14 factors of LED illumination may be personalized to any colour within the RGB spectrum by way of a menu within the infotainment system.

And actually, what sort of luxurious sedan does not have an analog clock in its dashboard? Kia is the most recent automaker to accomplice with a watchmaker for its timepiece, with a Maurice LaCroix Masterpiece clock within the Ok900’s cabin. This little bit of dashboard jewellery seems beautiful with its guilloche dial and Roman numeral indices, but it surely’s only a regular electrical clock behind that fairly face.

It would not be a correct luxurious sedan with no fancy analog clock within the dashboard.

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Displayed prominently on the dashboard and A-pillars are speaker grilles that look nearly like actual copies of the Burmester system you will discover in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Behind these audio system sings the 14-speaker Lexicon premium audio system. Audio high quality is fairly good — actually adequate for satellite tv for pc radio and streaming audio — however that is no audiophile’s rig on wheels. Fortuitously, the Ok900’s cabin is so darn quiet that the system does not should cope with a lot street noise and might actually shine even at average volumes.

The entrance seats are comfy and broad with adjustable bolsters, lumbar help and surfaces which can be heated and ventilated. While you swap the drive mode into Sport, the bolsters routinely shut up a bit, hugging the motive force as if in anticipation of curves. That is some spectacular consideration to element.

The Ok900’s cabin options actual wooden, leather-based and brushed metallic.

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The backseat expertise is, in some methods, higher than the entrance. The broad heart console options redundant infotainment controls permitting rear passengers to command both the principle dashboard system or their very own particular person leisure shows. The proper-rear passenger may even whir an unoccupied entrance seat ahead and out of the best way for an enormous expanse of legroom. (This maybe makes extra sense in Korea, the place the K9 serves as a luxurious livery car, form of like a contemporary Lincoln City Automobile.)

UVO dashboard tech

The Ok900 will get an ultra-wide eversion of Kia’s UVO infotainment system, primarily based round a 12.Three-inch touchscreen show. This new era of UVO appears to borrow a little bit of its design from BMW’s iDrive — notably its means to show map and auxiliary data in a split-screen configuration. Nonetheless, I discover that UVO’s menu construction, group and management interface is considerably less complicated and simpler to know than any of the German techniques.

The onboard maps are straightforward to learn with easy animation. The system tends to inform the motive force to “flip now” about an eighth to a quarter-mile too quickly, which may result in some confusion in navigation, but it surely’s seemingly only a quirk of the Korean-spec software program.

The UVO system options customary Android Auto and Apple CarPlay USB connectivity, however you may need to give Kia’s personal interface a strive first. The baked-in software program comes with helpful options like a voice memo system that can be utilized to shortly report audio notes for playback later. I do my finest brainstorming on the street, and actually love this characteristic.

Homeowners can customise the colour of the ambient cabin lighting or select from seven Pantone temper enhancing themes.

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UVO contains visitors and ETA updates, but it surely additionally notifies you once you’re approaching sharper curves, harmful freeway segments the place accidents are extra seemingly, and even velocity bumps on facet streets. Climate updates embody a line telling me if it is a good day to scrub the automotive or not. We in all probability will not get wherever close to that degree of element within the US-spec Ok900, but it surely’s value mentioning these options of the Korean software program as issues that may ultimately make their means Stateside.

The Ok900’s will get quite a few driving help upgrades, too, due to Kia’s Drivewise suite of applied sciences. Full-speed adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go visitors, and ahead pre-collision alert and brake help assist when visitors all of a sudden comes to a whole cease. There’s lane-keeping steering help, lane departure alerts, blind-spot monitoring and a rear cross-traffic alert system, as effectively.

Powertrain and efficiency

Globally, the K9/Ok900 can be out there with a Three.Eight-liter V6 and Hyundai/Kia’s outdated workhorse 5.Zero-liter Tau V8. However within the US, we’re solely getting one engine: the turbocharged Three.Three-liter V6 from the Kia Stinger GT.

This twin-turbo V6 makes 365 horsepower and 376 pound-feet of torque, mated to an eight-speed automated transmission and solely out there with all-wheel drive. And earlier than you get too enthusiastic about that Stinger connection, keep in mind that the Ok900 is a bigger, heavier automotive, and has a way more comfort-oriented mission.

There’s loads of energy for passing and cruising. Round city, the eight-speed automated feels good and unobtrusive. The Ok900’s exhaust be aware is quieter than the Stinger’s, even when the automotive is in sport mode. Drivers can select between Sport, Eco, Consolation and a customizable drive mode. Missing an adaptive suspension, these modes largely regulate the burden of the steering, the habits of the transmission, the responsiveness of the throttle and add additional engine acoustics within the Sport setting.

The North American Ok900 will solely be out there with the twin-turbocharged, all-wheel drive powertrain.

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Trip high quality could be very plush. I am instructed the suspension can be firmed up earlier than reaching the American market, however I hope not an excessive amount of. The Korean market K9 feels very nice and I might hate for pressured sportiness to wreck this soft cruiser. Keep tuned for a full report when US-spec Ok900s turn into out there for testing later this yr.

Out there later this yr

Kia will not be solely including extra content material and high quality to the Ok900, it is re-emphasizing the automotive’s worth proposition, as effectively. Pricing hasn’t been confirmed simply but, however I do not anticipate it to vary an excessive amount of from the outgoing mannequin’s $50,000 to $65,000 worth vary.

In the meantime, the first-generation Ok900 has discovered a second life as top-of-the-line values within the pre-owned luxurious market. If Kia can hold its pricing in examine, the brand new 2019 Ok900 may additionally faucet into that market as a really compelling various to a pre-owned BMW 7 Collection or Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It will even be taking photographs throughout the bow of the Genesis G90, Lincoln Continental and Lexus LS offered that consumers can look previous the badge and see the worth.

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