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[Behind the Wheel] K7 Premier feels brand new with dramatic face-lift

Kia Motors’ full-sized K7 sedan has been always compared to its competitor, the Grandeur, a same-class sedan from its sister company Hyundai Motor. And the rival Grandeur has always topped the sales rankings in the category, selling 46,790 units this year as of June, while K7 sold 12,652 units. 

Kia Motors’ latest K7 Premier has been face-lifted to bring the car “up to date,” the automaker said, but the changes were so extensive that it almost feels like new generation of car.

Kia Motors’ K7 Premier (Kia Motors)
Kia Motors’ K7 Premier (Kia Motors)

The Korea Herald drove K7 Premier’s 3.0 gasoline model on a 170-kilometer test drive from Paju to Namyangju, both in Gyeonggi Province.

The addition of the word “Premier” suggests a step up, and the changes were noticeable even from outside the car. The automaker has increased the length of the car body by 25 millimeters to 4,955 mm and inserted a larger radiator grille on the front and Z-shaped patterns in the LED rear lights, which are connected to the lower part of the car, creating a sleeker, bolder look. 

In the interior, the biggest change was the improved noise proofing, for which the automaker installed thicker glass panels in the front and the side windows. 

The steering wheel has also improved, giving a feeling of unity with the car while cornering or changing lanes. The automaker said it had used rack mounted motor-driven power steering for the 3.0 gasoline model, in which an electric motor module controls the steering.

According to the automaker, even the standard trim is equipped with various safety and comfort features, including a 12.3-inch digital dashboard, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, nine airbags and a collision warning system. 

Kia Motors’ K7 Premier (Kia Motors)
Kia Motors’ K7 Premier (Kia Motors)

It has also included advanced driver assistance systems in the standard trim, including a blind-spot monitor and lane following assist, a first in a full-sized sedan. Such features were only available in the upper K9 series. 

Kia said it placed internet of things technology in its “Car to Home” function, which allows a driver to control IoT devices at home from inside the car. A driver can also turn on and control the vehicle at home through this function. The IoT feature, however, is only useful if drivers own IoT devices at home.

By Kim Da-sol (

The Korea Herald ratings

Design: 4 stars
Fuel economy: 4 stars
Safety: 4 stars
Price: 4 stars

Overall: 16/20