Kia K900 Years To Avoid (Best and Worst)

Kia K900 Years To Avoid – The Kia K900, a bold endeavor by the Korean automaker to penetrate the U.S. luxury sedan market, made its presence known from 2015 to 2020. Though the K900 is now available as a pre-owned option, there are certain years that savvy buyers might want to steer clear of.

In this article, we’ll take a comprehensive look at the Kia K900 years to avoid, offering a detailed breakdown year by year.

But before we delve into that, let’s take a moment to uncover the intriguing backstory of Kia’s audacious efforts to compete with automotive giants like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus.

Rewind to a decade ago and ask the average American about the Kia brand, and you’d likely receive a response like “affordable economy cars.”

Kia K900 Years To Avoid

To counter this stereotype, Kia embarked on a bold journey by introducing its flagship K900 sedan.

With aspirations rivaled only by the likes of the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes S-Class, and Lexus LS, Kia introduced the K900 to overseas markets as the K9.

However, a slight change in nomenclature was made for the North American market, renaming it the K900 to avoid any canine connotations.

The grand unveiling of the K900 took place at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, drawing widespread excitement.

Boasting premium interior materials, spacious rear-seat legroom, and even a groundbreaking V8 engine – a first for Kia – the K900’s 2015 debut marked a turning point.

Priced at a starting point of $55,000, the K900 significantly undercut its German and Japanese rivals, offering luxury at a more accessible price point.

It’s essential to note that the development of the K900 was a collaborative effort, with shared underpinnings and powertrains stemming from the Hyundai Equus and Hyundai Genesis sedans.

Given that Hyundai is Kia’s parent company, this synergy was expected.

Despite these efforts, the K900 struggled to carve out a substantial foothold in the U.S. luxury sedan market. The allure of premier sedans remained closely tied to other renowned brands, despite the K900’s two generations on the scene.

Even with modest sales numbers – totaling around 6,200 units – the K900 played a pivotal role in dispelling preconceived notions about the Kia brand.

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Fast forward to today, and the idea of investing $50,000 or more in a premium Kia Telluride SUV or the cutting-edge all-electric EV6 doesn’t seem as far-fetched.

Let’s embark on this insightful journey together, as we navigate through the intriguing history and pivotal moments of the Kia K900’s presence in the American automotive landscape.

Kia K900 Years To Avoid

We’ve undertaken an extensive investigation by poring over data from reputable sources including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),, Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, and RepairPal.

Through this meticulous analysis, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of recommendations for specific K900 model years.

It’s worth noting that these recommendations are based on the available reports, requiring us to don our “educated guess” hat to provide insights for certain model years.

The Kia K900 made its entrance with two engine options: a 3.8-liter V6 producing 311 horsepower and a 5.0-liter V8 churning out 420 horsepower.

Initially, rear-wheel drive was the sole configuration, with all-wheel drive becoming an option later.

Kia pulled out all the stops to market the K900, enlisting the endorsement of NBA superstar LeBron James to underscore its regal appeal under the “Fit for a King” campaign.

Kia K900 Years To Avoid

Staying true to Kia’s signature design, the K900 adopted the recognizable tiger-nose front grille and body contours reminiscent of the Optima and Cadenza sedans.

While the vehicle’s appearance was not polarizing, it lacked the unique identity and brand cachet required to compete in the luxury car segment.

The Kia K900 Years to Avoid: A Closer Look

2015 Kia K900

If we were to spotlight a Kia K900 model year to avoid, the 2015 version would top the list. This year has garnered the highest number of complaints filed with the NHTSA and ranks notably high on

Our recommendation aligns with the conventional wisdom of steering clear of the inaugural year of a new car model.

The 2015 K900 presents a higher likelihood of experiencing first-year hiccups that often get ironed out in subsequent iterations.

The concerns raised by owners mainly revolve around airbag and electrical system issues, with a solitary recall addressing problematic headlights.

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While these problems may not impact critical systems like the engine or transmission, they hint at potential nuisances that could mar the ownership experience.

2016 Kia K900

The 2016 K900 offers a contrasting narrative. With minimal complaints logged on and NHTSA, the outlook seems promising. Additionally, the complaints are distributed across various categories, indicating a lack of discernible patterns or concentrated problems.

However, it’s worth noting that two recalls have been issued for this model year. One recall is for flickering headlights, which also affected the 2015 K900.

The more concerning recall pertains to a possible engine compartment fire, attributed to an electrical short in the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit.

Kia has provided a straightforward remedy, involving the installation of a new fuse at no cost.

Nonetheless, as this recall is relatively recent (September 2022), it’s essential to verify whether the recall repair has been performed on a specific unit.

2017 Kia K900

The 2017 K900 is another contender to consider, provided any lingering recall issues have been addressed. This model year shares the engine compartment fire recall, and a mere two complaints related to brake concerns have been reported to the NHTSA.

Other than these points, the 2017 K900 shows no significant red flags. As with any used vehicle, engaging a qualified mechanic to conduct an inspection before purchase is a prudent step.

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2018 Kia K900

Setting aside the engine compartment fire recall, the 2018 K900 emerges unscathed from negative feedback. Neither NHTSA nor has registered substantial grievances against this model year.

Making a purchase decision based on the assumption that the recall repair has been carried out would be a reasonable choice.

Kia K900 Best Years

With a limited span of model years, the search for the most reliable options becomes a crucial endeavor.

Notably, the more recent years tend to stand out as the best choices, offering enhanced reliability, technological advancements, and peace of mind for discerning buyers.

Kia K900 Best Years

We’ll delve into the Kia K900’s best years, along with the years to avoid, providing you with insights to aid in your informed decision-making.

Kia K900 Best Years: A Glimpse of Reliability

For those in pursuit of the most reliable Kia K900 years, the focus naturally gravitates towards the later model years, specifically:

  1. 2018 Kia K900
  2. 2019 Kia K900
  3. 2020 Kia K900

The rationale behind these choices stems from Kia’s commitment to refining and improving the K900 as it evolved.

By addressing earlier concerns and incorporating valuable feedback from previous owners, these years offer a heightened level of reliability and satisfaction.

Early iterations of the Kia K900, such as the 2015 and 2016 models, encountered challenges that prompted recalls.

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Both model years were subject to a recall related to a malfunction in the multifunction light switch control board. However, Kia’s dedication to rectifying such issues became evident in the later variations of the K900.

These subsequent model years, including the highlighted 2018, 2019, and 2020 versions, have successfully eliminated these previous problems.

2020 Kia K900: A Peak of Reliability

Among the choices for the most reliable Kia K900 year, the 2020 model rises to the forefront as a standout option. According to insights from, the 2020 Kia K900 boasts a remarkably high rating among both current and past owners.

This acclaim is indicative of the strides Kia has taken to enhance the driving experience and overall satisfaction of K900 owners.

Kia K900 Best Years

Notable upgrades set the 2020 Kia K900 apart from its predecessors. An elevated infotainment system, for instance, signifies Kia’s commitment to providing advanced and intuitive technology.

Furthermore, a revised digital instrument panel is a remarkable addition, offering an effortless and user-friendly interface for drivers.

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This focus on ease of use contributes to the 2020 K900’s reputation as a reliable and enjoyable luxury sedan.

Kia K900 Problems

Purchasing a Kia K900, regardless of its model year, promises an upscale driving experience and a touch of luxury.

However, every vehicle, no matter how refined, has its quirks and challenges.

In the case of the Kia K900, it’s crucial to be vigilant about potential problems and mechanical faults that might arise over time.

We’ll delve into common Kia K900 problems and offer insights on addressing these issues for a smoother ownership experience.

Kia K900 Problems

Common Kia K900 Problems: A Closer Look

As reported by, several common problems have been identified across various Kia K900 model years.

Being aware of these issues can help you identify potential concerns and address them promptly:

1. Steering Pulling

Some Kia K900 owners have reported instances of steering pulling, which can lead to uneven driving and reduced handling performance.

If you notice your vehicle veering to one side while driving, it’s advisable to have the steering system inspected by a professional mechanic.

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2. Poor Headlight Illumination

Inadequate headlight illumination can compromise visibility, especially during nighttime driving or adverse weather conditions. Dim or improperly functioning headlights can impact safety.

If you find your headlights are not providing optimal illumination, it’s essential to have them checked and potentially replaced to ensure safe driving conditions.

3. Paint Flaking and Other Problems

Reports of paint flaking and other cosmetic issues have surfaced among Kia K900 owners. While these problems might not impact the vehicle’s functionality, they can certainly detract from its aesthetic appeal.

Keeping an eye on paint quality and addressing any flaking or imperfections promptly can help maintain the vehicle’s visual appeal.

4. Oscillating Vibrations

Some K900 owners have experienced oscillating vibrations, which can lead to an uncomfortable driving experience and potentially indicate underlying suspension or balance issues.

If you detect unusual vibrations, it’s advisable to have the vehicle’s suspension and alignment checked by a professional to ensure a smooth and safe ride.

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Is Kia K900 expensive to maintain?

Among all Kia models, the K900, the company’s top-of-the-line luxury sedan, comes with the highest yearly repair costs. According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for the Kia K900 is $697.

It’s worth noting that the most commonly reported issue for the Kia K900 pertains to no sound coming from the speakers.

Is Kia K900 Reliable?

The Kia K900 line, introduced in 2015, has had sufficient time in the market to gauge its overall reliability. suggests that the Kia K900 is generally dependable, particularly when opting for a well-maintained used car.

Even first-generation Kia K900s present a compelling value proposition, offering features like a V6 engine and a respectable array of technological and luxury offerings.

With prices often hovering around $25,000 or less, these vehicles offer attractive affordability. also supports the notion of Kia K900’s overall reliability, with most users expressing favorable ratings.

However, some users point out potential issues with the infotainment controls, noting occasional finickiness. Despite this minor drawback, the Kia K900 remains a strong contender in terms of value for money.

Why was the K900 discontinued?

The discontinuation of the Kia Cadenza and K900 speaks to a broader trend in consumer preferences shifting towards crossovers and SUVs over traditional sedans.

Despite this shift, Kia retains several sedan models in its lineup, including the Rio, Forte, Stinger, and the newly introduced K5 for the 2021 model year.

Is the Kia K900 rare?

The journey of the Kia K900’s sales figures is intriguing. Starting with 1,237 units sold in 2014, the numbers drastically dropped to just 36 in its official debut year. This makes the K900 one of the rarest vehicles in Canada.

The subsequent years saw modest sales, with 25 units sold in 2016, followed by seven in 2017, and a mere four in 2018.

These figures highlight the challenges faced by Kia’s larger sedans in the North American market.


Delving into the world of the Kia K900 reveals a nuanced landscape. While the luxury sedan segment presents its unique set of considerations, the Kia K900 has showcased both its strengths and areas for improvement over the years.

From the perspective of maintenance costs, it’s essential to acknowledge that the Kia K900 may entail higher annual repair expenses compared to other Kia models.

Being prepared for potential repair costs can contribute to a more informed ownership experience.

Regarding reliability, the Kia K900 has demonstrated its credibility in the luxury sedan category.

The Kia K900 remains a unique contender in the luxury sedan arena, offering a blend of performance, luxury, and affordability.

As you consider your options within the Kia K900 lineup, it’s imperative to weigh the common issues, reliability, and the brand’s evolution.

Whether you’re exploring the best years, years to avoid, or seeking reliable transportation, a comprehensive understanding of the Kia K900 landscape will guide you toward making an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and priorities.

So, if you’re ready to embark on the journey of owning a Kia K900, remember to navigate wisely and consider the Kia K900 years to avoid a gratifying ownership experience.