As the minivan segment has matured, brand new entries have become increasingly scarce as the Honda, Toyota and Chrysler troika continue to dominate. Case in point: Kia offers the only completely new van for 2015, and it is the first new vehicle of this type from the Korean brand since 2006.
The 2015 Sedona is likely to find its place in the lives of more families this year, and not just those who approach the rental counter, where the old version often ended up, orphaned and unloved. This is because the latest model is a massive departure from its predecessor in terms of design. Nine years ago, Kia’s aesthetic reminded us of creatures emerging from primordial goo. Today the whole brand is very different, and from the Forte to the Optima, from the Cadenza to the Sportage, Kia’s showrooms are full of beautiful vehicles. The Sedona fits in and is arguably the best looking minivan on sale today, though it’s not a tough contest to win. That said, the styling isn’t frustrating, with large wheels almost in line with the bodywork, tight panel spaces, and a third-row window that tapers off with a dramatic sense foreign to the segment.
Overall, the interior design didn’t woo us, but the look mimics the clean lines of the exterior. And, aside from a few chunks of hard plastic at the top of the dash, the interior looks pricey, at least in the Limited model we tested. Two-tone leather seats, gloss black accents, and carefully crafted gauges are usually the stuff of premium brands, but here they are in a Kia minivan. Radio and HVAC controls are simple and intuitive, and the touchscreen navigation system operates quickly and logically. We were slightly annoyed with the fixed console between the front seats, however, as it is removable in most vans to allow for easier cleaning, additional storage possibilities and passage to the rear cabin.
Cubism, Minivan Style
Minivans aren’t bought for their looks, however. What a minivan really needs to do well is haul humans and cargo. The cargo capacity of the Sedona reaches a maximum of 142 cubic feet, which is a bit below the 150 cubic feet of the Toyota Sienna and the 149 cubic feet of the Honda Odyssey. Total passenger space is 158 cubic feet for the Sedona, compared to 156 for the Sienna and 170 for the Odyssey.
Measurements don’t tell the whole story. In the Sedona, the second row seats are particularly plush. Our $ 43,295 Sedona Limited came with sliding second row seats that Kia calls First Class Lounge Seating. They live up to their name, as they offer first-class legroom and comfort. However, if you are moving Junior into the dormitory, be aware that the second row seats are not removable. Lower models have Slide-N-Stow second row seats that slide and tilt forward to take up less room, but these seats aren’t removable, either. The third row is comfortable as long as the seats in the second row are not too far back. Like the competition, the third-row seats disappear into the floor, but the high effort and clunky mechanism is a far cry from what you’ll find in Honda, Toyota, and Chrysler vans.
Little effort is needed to drive the Sedona. The steering is light and the van is remarkably manoeuvrable thanks to the 36.8-foot turning radius. Outside of the parking lot, the suspension is smooth despite our Limited’s 19-inch wheels, and the 276-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 delivers its power with creamy indifference. We had experienced downshifts that lacked smoothness in a Sedona, but a second example we drove performed the same action with the silky feel of a Lexus ES350. The 3.3-liter V6 is standard on all Sedonas, but fuel consumption varies with trim level. The Sedona L, LX, and EX return EPA figures for 18 cities and 24 freeways, while opting for the SX trim level increases the number of freeways to 25 mpg. Go for the heavier and bigger Limited, and EPA fuel mileage drops to 17 in the city and 22 on the highway. In our hands, the Limited has driven 20 miles on every gallon of gasoline.
The acceleration is strong for a minivan. Our Sedona Limited hit 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and broke the quarter mile mark in 15.8 seconds at 91 mph. Once you’re on the road, going from 30mph to 50 takes 4.0 seconds, and running from 50mph to 70 takes 5.0 seconds. Minivans might not be bought for their drag racing, but the Sedona’s power and transit times make the highway merging with the football team aboard a little less stressful.
While we view engine horsepower as an important safety feature, minivan buyers are likely to be more interested in the Sedona’s collision warning system, blind spot monitoring, and 360-degree camera views. . Blind spot alarms and a rear cross-traffic alert system are standard on the Limited and SX and optional on the EX (the L and LX cannot be equipped with these features). Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning are only available on the upper Limited trim level. Unlike the latest Sienna’s collision warning system, the Sedona will not automatically apply the brakes. We’re okay with that, though, given that the 4,772-pound Sedona stopped at 70 mph in a 167-foot sports sedan.
Sedona’s pricing starts at $ 26,995, in which case the sliding doors don’t move on their own, the seats are cloth, and there’s no rear-view camera. As you move up the Sedona hierarchy, you add leather seats, power doors, additional paint colors, rear view camera, power folding mirrors, larger wheels, navigation, and more. Check all the boxes and you’ll end up with a Sedona Limited as our test car and a price tag slipping into the $ 40,000 range, but a well-equipped, leather-lined EX can be yours for $ 33,195.
Kia’s new minivan may not be the obvious choice in the segment, where Honda, Toyota and Chrysler are the top players. But the Sedona’s styling and value-driven pricing might just be enough to draw families to a Kia dealership. After all, it’s a formula that has worked for most of the brand’s other cars.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and uploaded to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and other similar content on piano.io