Source : The News Wheel – April 07, 2016 Minivans have always had a stigma of not being “cool.” Well, the 2016 Kia Sedona is changing that. During the hubbub of the New York International Auto Show last month, the Sedona minivan was named one of Autotrader’s Must Test Drive Vehicles for 2016. This list is used to highlight the vehicles on the market that new car buyers should test drive before making their final purchase decision. “We are excited that the Sedona was recognized by Autotrader as a Must Test Drive offering,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America. “With its abundant roster of standard safety, technology, and convenience features, the Sedona is an ideal choice for families as well as buyers with active lifestyles. This award is a testament to Kia’s continued commitment to world-class quality and top-notch design.” The winners of this prestigious accolade are determined based on a variety of categories. This includes exterior styling, interior quality, cargo capacity, standard and available technology, and ride quality. Despite being a practical family vehicle, the Kia Sedona managed to leave a lasting impression on Autotrader’s editors with its stylish exterior and interior; powerful 3.3-liter V6 engine; and unbeatable features. According to Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader, “All of our editors love the reclining second-row seats found in the SXL, and other high points that led us to our ‘unexpectedly good’ conclusion include a huge sunroof over the middle and third-row seats plus tons of storage bins that make traveling with a family just a little bit easier.” So the next time you’re out looking for your newest mommy-mobile, don’t forget to check out the 2016 Kia Sedona—Autotrader doesn’t think you will be disappointed in the slightest.
This entry was posted Kia-buzz blog on September 23rd, 2015
We are happy to announce that our beautiful minivan, the Sedona (known as Grand Carnival in some markets) has been dubbed the ‘Ultimate Minivan’ by Cars.com and MotorWeek in the USA! After a multi-day comparison test consisting of detailed analysis of many minivan models, Kia’s all-new Sedona was picked the winner.
Sedona’s SUV-like styling and decidedly premium interior helped it top the segment full of long-standing stalwarts, while beating its competitors in criteria like technology, features, and drivetrains.
Kia Motors America Vice President of product planning, Orth Hedrick, proudly said that “the fully reimagined Sedona has been a tremendous success for Kia, connecting on multiple levels with families and active lifestyle consumers alike.” Needless to say, the friendly Sedona has clearly been the popular choice for families with children.
The Kia Sedona has positioned itself as the leading minivan in the industry, winning many other accolades ranging from the J.D. Power APEAL Award to the 2015 Autobytel Van/Minivan of the Year. And its class-leading safety was yet again confirmed by being named a 2015 Top Safety Pick by IIHS in the United States.
If you‘re looking for the right vehicle for your family, how about checking out the all-new Sedona?
The all-new 2015 Sedona comprehensive safety features and elegant style have help garner some impressive accolades like the NHTSA Overall 5-Star Crash Safety Rating, 2015 Autobytel Minivan of the Year title and 2015 IIHS Top Safety Pick.
By Christian Seabaugh | Photos By Brian Vance
From the March 2015 issue of Motor Trend
Growing up, I had a lot of fun in our family’s minivans. Our family’s first car was a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan SE that my dad used to shuttle me to early-morning hockey practice. (My little brothers would hide half-eaten bagels in the seats.)
More on Motortrend.com: 2015 Kia Sedona Earns NHTSA 5-Star Safety Rating
When it wasn’t schlepping hockey gear and old bagels around, our family used it for our annual summer vacation from Brooklyn to Bethany Beach, Delaware. Filled with boogie boards, Game Boys, and what felt like everything my mom owned, our forest-green Grand Caravan became everything from an Army helicopter to a karaoke room as my brothers and I entertained ourselves on the journey. To my 9-year-old self, nothing was cooler than that van and the fun-filled vacations it promised.
More on Automobilemag.com: Ward’s Auto Announces 10 Best Interiors for 2015
Sometime between the time our family’s second minivan caught fire in 2002 (long story) and the end of the decade, the popularity of the minivan plummeted. The market went from more than 11 models at its peak to just eight or so, depending on who’s counting. The meat of the market is covered by the five Big Test competitors you see here: the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country S, 2015 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite, 2015 Kia Sedona SXL, 2014 Nissan Quest LE, and the 2015 Toyota Sienna SE. We asked each of the five manufacturers to provide us with a fully optioned minivan so we could test all the family-friendly amenities each has to offer. Most complied, though Chrysler and Toyota both sent us mid-level models. We left the lame-duck Dodge Grand Caravan on the sidelines because for all intents and purposes it’s identical to its Chrysler stablemate. We left the Mazda5 and Ford Transit Connect Wagon out, as well, as both are smaller than the traditional American minivan.
More on Automotive.com: Spied! 2015 Kia Sedona Draws Inspiration from KV7 Concept Van
Ride & Handling
Although going fast can be nice, for most minivan buyers there’s no driving trait more important than ride and handling—after all, poor ride and handling characteristics can result in carsick children stuck in the third row. (Ask me how I know.) To test each van’s ride and handling abilities, we devised a drive loop in Los Angeles’ ritzy Palos Verdes area. This diverse loop included stop-and-go suburban traffic, bits of highway speeds, and a rough section of road.
Of our five contenders, the Kia Sedona found the most favor with our Big Test judges. “Driving this thing is actually a lot of fun,” digital director Chris Clonts said. “This is the car that encourages me to be myself in it, to push it a little bit. If I had my family with me, it would give me confidence that I could be safe in it under any conditions.” The Sedona’s body was exceptionally well-controlled in both the twisty and rough road portions of our loop, without the shimmies and shakes some of its competitors had. The Honda Odyssey also impressed during our drive loops. Though some judges thought the steering felt a bit on the light side, all agreed it was accurate. The ride was comfortable, too, without much roll and harshness from road imperfections, but we dinged the Odyssey for its road noise. The Honda’s engine sounds smooth and refined (even if it insists on being in sixth gear), but it was one of the noisiest vans here, with road, wind, and rain resulting in a loud and lively cabin.
The Chrysler Town & Country packs the biggest punch under the hood.
Both Kia and Honda managed to fit their minivans with suspensions that help cornering performance in addition to providing compliant and well-sorted rides in the rough stuff, but the Nissan Quest wasn’t so lucky. Nissan appears to have fit the Quest with the softest springs possible. The end result is lots more noise, pitch, roll, and overall harshness transmitted to the cabin than in the Honda or Kia. “I’d hate to be stuck in back of this thing,” I wrote in my notes. “An absolute vomit comet.”
Opposite the Quest on the ride spectrum were the Town & Country and Sienna. The sport-trimmed Toyota, with sporty steering feel and a stiff suspension, is surprisingly nice to drive in corners, but that’s at the detriment of its overall ride quality, which tosses and bounces its occupants around on rough pavement. “The ride around town is rough but tolerable,” opined senior production editor Zach Gale.
The Odyssey is stellar from a practicality and comfort standpoint.
The similarly sport-oriented Chrysler took bumps in the same vein as the Sienna, though without the benefit of the Toyota’s sharp steering. The sole spot where the Town & Country differentiated itself from the Sienna was in noise, as there was a worrying amount of shakes, squeaks, and rattles coming from the cabin.
Ever wonder why the space shuttle and the Soviet version, Buran, looked almost identical? That’s (mostly) because American and Soviet engineers both overcame the same set of engineering obstacles with the same design solutions. What does this have to do with minivans? It appears that at some point over the development life of the minivan, all major manufacturers came to the same conclusion about engine size, type, and power. All five of our contenders sport V-6 engines with around 3.5 liters of displacement, around 260 horsepower, and about 250 lb-ft of torque. All but one feature six-speed automatic transmissions. Performance numbers might seldom matter to minivan buyers, but here goes: The Sienna SE is the hot rod of the group. With its 3.5-liter V-6 making 266 hp and 245 lb-ft of torque, the “Swagger Wagon,” as Toyota is eager to call it, hustles to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds and goes through the quarter mile in 15.8 seconds at 89.9 mph. Though the Sienna’s brakes initially feel a bit mushy, stomping on the brake pedal will stop the vehicle from 60 mph in 121 feet, the second-shortest distance of the five vans.
The Kia Sedona was hot on the Sienna’s tail. The heaviest van here also packs the smallest yet second most powerful engine of the bunch. The Sedona’s 3.3-liter V-6 makes 276 ponies and 248 lb-ft of twist, good for a 7.8-second 0-60 mph run and a 16.1-second quarter mile with a time-traveling trap speed of 88.8 mph. Despite its heft and relative speed, the Kia had the shortest stopping distance at 118 feet. The remaining three were neck and neck with the Kia, with the Chrysler ahead by a nose. The Town & Country packs the biggest punch, its 3.6-liter V-6 making 283 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Chrysler matched the Kia to 60 mph and through the quarter mile but was traveling slower (at 86.4 mph). The Town & Country needed 126 feet to halt from 60 mph. The Quest was close behind. The only van here to eschew a six-speed automatic for a CVT, it features a 3.5-liter V-6 good for 260 hp and 240 lb-ft. The combo gave the Nissan a 7.9-second 0-60 mph time and allowed it to go through the quarter mile in 16.1 seconds with a 90.1 mph trap speed. The big, boxy Nissan needed 126 feet in our 60-0 mph panic stop test. Honda’s Odyssey was last by a hair. With a 3.5-liter V-6 making 248 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, the Odyssey accelerated from 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds and rolled through the quarter mile in 16.1 seconds at 87.1 mph. The Odyssey tied the Quest and Town & Country for the longest 60-0 mph stopping distance, needing 126 feet.
Fuel costs currently are dropping, but we can’t count on them to stay low. We need to consider the hit to the wallet filling these 20-plus-gallon fuel tanks could pose. Although EPA fuel-economy numbers are helpful, they’re not always real-world representative, so we tossed the keys to our Emissions Analytics crew to generate some accurate fuel-economy data. Not surprising given its relative age, the Chrysler Town & Country brought up the rear. EPA-rated at 17/25/20 mpg city/highway/combined, the Chrysler van achieved 16.4/25.3/19.5 Real MPG with our test crew. The Kia Sedona’s performance, however, was a surprise. The Sedona slightly outperformed its admittedly low 17/22/19 mpg EPA rating, achieving 17.3/23.8/19.7 R-MPG. That’s a slight improvement versus EPA on the combined cycle and an 8-percent improvement on the highway.
Next up is the Toyota Sienna. We weren’t expecting that much given its middling 18/25/21 mpg EPA rating, yet shockingly the Sienna outperformed the whole segment, netting the best fuel economy in this test: 19.4/27.1/22.2 R-MPG. That trumps EPA’s numbers by an impressive 8 percent around town and on the highway and 6 percent combined.
The Sienna really punches above its weight in the numbers.
Although the Sienna’s Real MPG performance was a pleasant surprise, the 2014 Nissan Quest underachieved. EPA-rated at 19/25/21 mpg, the Quest returned 18.6/24.3/20.8 on the Real MPG cycle, a noticeable dip across the board. Last but certainly not least is the Odyssey. Boasting the most impressive EPA numbers of the group at 19/28/22 mpg, the Honda slightly underperformed in the hands of our Emissions Analytics team. It achieved 18.7/27.0/21.7 R-MPG, which are all just slightly below what the EPA measures. Of course, always remember that your mileage may vary.
According to automotive market research data, almost half of minivan buyers don’t have any children at home. We therefore evaluated the cabins of our Big Test minivans with the needs of both families and empty nesters in mind. The Kia Sedona is the clear choice for childless buyers. The newest van in the segment had the nicest cabin of the bunch, thanks to Nappa leather, real wood, and a segment-best infotainment system. Behind the front seats, the Kia has one of the most comfortable second rows of the group. Though complicated, the second row’s captain’s chairs have leg rests and the ability to both recline and slide fore and aft and side to side, giving the second row the best seats in the house. The same can’t be said about the Sedona SXL’s third row, which is cramped and has the smallest amount of headroom in the test thanks to the standard twin sunroofs. Although the third row folds down easily, those neat captain’s chairs can neither fold forward nor be removed, limiting the cargo space of this particular model. (Non-SXL Sedonas feature second row seats that slide up and “spoon” with the front seats, boosting cargo volume.) Buyers with children will be better served by the Odyssey. Although the Odyssey shows its age on the technology and materials-quality front, it’s stellar from a practicality and comfort standpoint. The roomy second-row bench flips down and folds forward to ease access into the third row, and although they’re heavy, the seats remove completely in three pieces for cargo hauling. The third row is pretty comfortable, too, with plenty of room for two adults or three children to fit comfortably. Toss the Honda’s vacuum and cooler into the mix, and you’ve got a serious family-favorite. “The HondaVac is a novel touch,” Clonts said. “What a fabulously useful built-in accessory. Same goes for the Cool Box up front.”
Thanks to its “zero gravity” seats and an air conditioner that never blew enough cold air, the Quest figuratively put our judges to sleep. “Weak-sauce A/C + cushy seats = naptime,” I wrote in my notes. Aside from its comfortable seats, the Quest won points from judges for its power-folding third row and the hidden storage tub underneath a trunk panel. Though the Quest was recognized for the high quality of its interior, the LATCH anchor points were the only ones in the test that were hard to locate.
Nissan appears to have fit the Quest with the softest springs possible.
Although the Toyota got a thorough refresh for the 2015 model year, you can’t tell from sitting in its cabin. Hop in and you’re welcomed by a sea of hard, dark plastics and some questionably styled “sport” gauges, which Clonts called “Walmart-ish, or something.” The Sienna’s materials may be low-grade, but the Toyota still packs a handful of thoughtful touches—take its second-row center seat, for instance: The featherweight center seat quickly and easily removes, folds up, and stows in a compartment in the cargo hold. If you want to lose the center seat on the Odyssey, you’d better make room in your garage. There’s no getting around the fact that the Chrysler Town & Country is nearing the end of its product cycle, and nowhere is that more evident than in its interior, which was ranked by judges as the most uncomfortable, with hard seats, tight legroom, and complicated folding mechanisms. That said, the Chrysler still has an ace up its sleeve that no other minivan has: Stow ‘n Go seats — both the third- and second-row seats fold flat into the floor.
Safety is important for all new-car shoppers, but it’s especially so for minivan buyers. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is incomplete for our contenders, but crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reveals not all of our competitors are built equally. Just three earned the IIHS’ coveted Top Safety Pick nod: the 2015 Kia Sedona, 2015 Honda Odyssey, and 2015 Toyota Sienna. Both the Sedona and Odyssey earned a Good (highest possible) score on moderate-overlap front, side-impact, rear-impact, roof strength, and the small-overlap front collision tests. The Sienna earned a Good score on all of the above tests with the exception of its Acceptable score on the incredibly difficult small-overlap test, which simulates what would happen in an offset collision with an object such as a tree.
The other two minivans didn’t perform well on the IIHS tests. The better performing was the Chrysler Town & Country. The Town & Country earns Good scores all around with the exception of the small-overlap front test, where it earns a lowest possible Poor score. The Quest managed to do worse than the Chrysler — its roof-strength score was rated as Acceptable, and its small-overlap score was Poor. According to an IIHS video, the Quest is one of the worst-performing vehicles in the small-overlap front crash test, and that weighed heavily on the minds of our Big Test judges. “No vehicle can ever be optimized for every organization’s safety standards,” Gale said, “but I don’t like that the Quest got only Acceptable for roof strength and Poor for the newer and admittedly difficult small-overlap front test.” Clonts weighed in, too: “If anybody thinks safety ratings don’t matter, consider this: Almost every single one of the judges mentioned that it was a little uncomfortable being in the Quest knowing about its poor safety showing.”
Four of these minivans might have the Chrysler Town & Country to thank for their existence, but heritage doesn’t win awards. The Town & Country is the best-selling minivan in the country, but there’s no overcoming its dated and cramped interior, lackluster driving dynamics, and poor crash-test scores. The same safety concerns that sunk the Chrysler sink the Nissan Quest, as well. As comfortable as the Quest’s seats are, its awful crash-test performance coupled with its lackluster fuel economy and driving dynamics went over like a lead balloon.
Driving the Sedona is actually a lot of fun.
Toyota fares better than its Chrysler and Nissan rivals. Yes, its black hole of an interior and a rock-hard suspension are less than ideal, but the Sienna really punches above its weight in the numbers with the lowest cost of ownership of the bunch and impressive fuel economy and safety scores. There was little doubt in our minds on the finishing order for the bottom three contenders, but judges went back and forth between this Big Test’s top two finishers for weeks—so little differentiates the two. Although both minivans are clearly complete packages above and beyond the rest, ultimately the Odyssey earns the silver medal. We love the Honda’s versatility, roominess, and features, but we aren’t completely sold on its fuel-economy merits given its Real MPG numbers. Nor can we justify giving its lackluster cabin materials a pass considering its sticker price. And that leaves us with the new kid on the block. The Kia Sedona might not sport segment-leading fuel economy or cargo volume, but it is hands-down the most stylish, comfortable, and best-driving minivan on the road. The Sedona is a value-rich vehicle that its owners are sure to enjoy, whether they’re schlepping to work or down the coast for another fun-filled family vacation.
5th Place: Chrysler Town & Country
The long-in-the-tooth Chrysler is tops in sales but last in our Big Test. Still, the T&C is a great value and shows promise for the future.
4th Place: Nissan Quest
A comfortable cabin isn’t enough to overcome the Quest’s lackluster crash-test scores or driving dynamics.
3rd Place: Toyota Sienna
It doesn’t blow our socks off subjectively, but it’s tough to argue with the Sienna’s stellar efficiency and performance.
2nd Place: Honda Odyssey
A long-time MT favorite is still a segment standout and excellent hauler, but it’s not our Big Test winner.
1st Place: Kia Sedona
A van with this much style, substance, and safety might be all it takes to make the minivan cool again.
The New York Times
Published Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
AUTOMOTIVE writers are often asked what vehicle to buy. Considering the bounty of choices versus needs, wants, budgets and brand loyalties, it’s akin to querying your barista on whom to marry.
That understood, here’s counsel from a reviewer who has driven more than 500 cars over the last 10 years: No vehicle makes life easier for families than a minivan. While Americans have abandoned them for crossovers, my advice is sincere. Minivans are nimbler than large sport utility vehicles, low floors make for easy loading, and children can’t ding other cars with sliding doors.
Kia labels the new Sedona a multipurpose vehicle. Let’s be clear, though: It’s a van, and let’s drop “mini” since the Sedona and its competitors, the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country, are big rigs. Children are unaware that their future college dorm rooms may be smaller than the vehicles in which they ride to soccer practice.
For 2015, the Sedona, once anonymous, is streamlined and appealing. Above, the dashboard is calming and uncluttered.Behind the Wheel: Review: 2015 Kia SedonaDEC. 12, 2014
Kia’s design team has created a deceptively elegant people hauler. It’s as fashion-forward as it gets in this segment. An upward kink in the lower glass beltline is in chic contrast to the Odyssey’s jolt of a lightning bolt. The Sedona’s cabin quality has gone from worst to first. Plastic lumber trim looks real, leather on the SX Limited is as smooth as the baby bottoms it will haul. It’s fancy enough that parents might designate Sedona a child-free zone.
The Sedona carries up to eight; the top-shelf SX Limited hauls seven with reclining midrow thrones inspired by first-class airline seats. They should be for weary parents. Two caveats: The seats aren’t heated and don’t fold flat against the front seats to create a large cargo space, features that lower-trim models provide. Seats are not removable in the Sedona, nor is the large center console. It’s easy to climb into the third row, but the stylish, tapered roofline means those over 5 feet 9 inches may find their hair restyled against their will.
The Sedona’s 3.3-liter V6 engine delivers 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The gearbox is a 6-speed, and the Sedona is pulled by the front tires. Drag-racing the soccer coach sets a bad example; know that 0-60 happens in about 7.5 seconds.
Don’t believe for a second that any van is remotely sporty, but driving dynamics do not get much better in this segment than in the Sedona. Kia keeps improving steering feel, though a little more communication would be nice. It’s comfortable and quiet, no shouting to get a child’s attention.
The SX Limited’s fuel economy is E.P.A. rated at 17 miles per gallon in the city and 22 on the highway; I saw 18. Lower-trim models improve on that by a few m.p.g.s. Sedona is an I.I.H.S. top safety pick. Fully loaded at $43,295, the SX Limited offers warnings for forward collision, rear cross-path and lane departure, along with radar-assisted cruise control. The “bird’s-eye” camera system that displays the entire perimeter is a welcome feature in a large vehicle.
A last bit of advice? At $26,995, the base Sedona has the same powertrain, room and design as the Limited. Crossovers may be the fashion statement families prefer these days, but arriving relaxed and happy never goes out of style.
All-new 2015 Sedona has earned a spot on the Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list. The Sedona was recognized by the editors for its impressive interior style, comfort, and overall execution, including the available second-row “First-Class” lounge seating.
By: IRVINE, Calif., April 16, 2015 – Kia Motors America’s (KMA)
The all-new Sedona completes Kia’s design-led transformation under the direction of chief design officer Peter Schreyer. It combines CUV styling, inside and out, with exceptional quality and offers unique interior features,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, KMA. “This is the second-consecutive year that Kia has earned a spot on the Ward’s 10 Best Interiors list, following last year’s inclusion of the ultra-popular Soul. This award is a testament to Kia’s continued commitment to world-class quality and top-notch design that is as beautiful as it is functional.”
Starting at $27,495, the completely transformed Sedona comes in seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations and offers available Nappa leather trimmed seating surfaces. Exclusive standing and sliding second-row seats slide and fold upright for enhanced cargo hauling without the hassle of removing heavy seats. Sedona’s front center console is unique to the segment and allows for generous storage space between the front seats, while the large dual glove box offers a cooled lower storage area for convenience.
“Minivans may not be as popular as they used to be, but the all-new Kia Sedona gives us reason to think this segment is in store for a resurgence,” said Tom Murphy, executive editor, WardsAuto World magazine. “Kia takes stylistic chances with the Sedona interior. Sedona is unique in its interior design with two-tone leather set off with white piping and orange contrast stitching. The van’s comfortable and spacious, with way-cool second-row lounge seats with footrests. It’s also flexible, with third-row seats that fold into the floor. Finally, a minivan that is truly cool!
Kia smartly re-enters the minivan segment with an upgraded Sedona
By: Mark Toljagic Special to the Star, Published on Fri Mar 27 2015
Until cryogenic freezing or anesthetic drugs are available over the counter, the minivan may be the best way to complete long road trips with children.
Minivans work marvelously because the farther apart you can seat the kids, the quieter the voyage will be (sans medication). My wife and I have been making the trek south every spring since our three daughters were tots.
Canucks still have an affinity for minivans. Many of the Dodge Grand Caravans, Toyota Siennas and Honda Odysseys we saw in Florida bore Ontario and Quebec plates.
After years of watching the others eat its lunch in the segment, Kia re-entered the fray with a reconstituted Sedona minivan for 2015. Last redesigned in 2006, the new Sedona is sleeker, shinier and considerably cooler than its predecessors, so much so that it might be the best-looking thing with sliding doors.
Engineered to impress, the Sedona doesn’t have to rely on low, low monthly payments anymore.
Kia specified plenty of high-strength steel. Along with structural adhesives and large-diameter welds, torsional stiffness is now 36 per cent higher than any competing van. It’s quieter than the Sienna and Odyssey, although Chrysler’s Town & Country still may be the librarian’s choice.
The Sedona is a couple of centimetres longer now and rides on a wheelbase stretched almost 4 cm. More space between the axles ought to yield additional passenger space, but while there’s more legroom for middle-row occupants, the third row and cargo area appear to be a little pinched.
The well that swallows the split-folding third-row bench is smaller than those of the Odysienna. Blame the Sedona¹s tapered profile. Lithe design comes at a price, that being less space in back, especially when equipped with the headroom-stealing dual sunroofs.
Being seasoned minivan owners, we took the Sedona for a 5,000-km test drive to Daytona Beach. Despite the proliferation of cheap flights from nearby U.S. airports, our family still makes the trip the old-fashioned way: a two-day marathon fueled by stale coffee and dry granola bars. We fled Toronto on a rainy Saturday morning. We crossed the border with relative ease and soon joined the I-79 at Erie, Pennsylvania, and steered our van southward.
Kia had given us a Sedona in full-zoot SXL+ trim, which included leather upholstery, second-row lounge chairs and a bevy of electronic driving aids, including surround-view cameras, lane minder and smart cruise control.
The Sedona felt weighty and immensely solid in my hands; expansion joints were a distant thrum under the 19-inch Continentals. With the multi-link rear suspension soaking up everything in stride, no road imperfections could unsettle this van.
The cockpit is wide and you sit in nicely bolstered seats, ensconced in leather and warmed by two sunroofs in the SXL. The instrument display is crisp, but Kia likes placing buttons in uniform rows, which doesn’t seem very intuitive. The climate controls baffled me throughout our journey.
Another peeve is the fixed console between the front seats. In the old days, the space was unobstructed, which allowed easy passage to the rear seats where mom could mete out justice with severe prejudice. Newer vans offer flexible consoles and trays that can be removed as required.
Not so the Sedona. Its console is permanently fixed, although it makes a nice home for the gear selector and useful cubbies. And the console can cool drinks, too.
South of Pittsburgh the topography gets lumpy as the road rises to meet the weatherworn Appalachians of West Virginia. Surprisingly the speed limit rises too, allowing us to legally breach the slopes at 70 mph (112 km/h).
The Sedona is up for the challenge with its direct-injected 3.3-L DOHC V6, a smallish motor that puts out a robust 276 hp and 248 lb.-ft. of torque. It works through a conventional six-speed automatic transmission that provides silky gear changes. The engine is scarcely turning 2100 rpm at 120 km/h, which adds to the serenity.
The loping motor makes for decent fuel economy on the highway, averaging 10.2 L/100 km (28 mpg) during our trip at supra-legal speeds. City driving proves less frugal; expect around 14.5 L/100 km (20 mpg). In comparison, an Odyssey we drove previously along the same route averaged 31 mpg, thanks in part to its cylinder deactivation system.
We divide our Florida d
It’s hard to be a product planner in the automotive industry these days, as just when you think you’ve got a particular niche all figured out a Korean company comes along and eats your lunch. It’s hard not to see the 2015 Kia Sedona as anything but a game-changer, a minivan that’s come along out of nowhere after years of settling for being a value-leader and flipped the script by introducing substantial luxury and style into the people moving equation.
The all-new Kia Sedona is a shot across the bow of both the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey, two minivans that have seen their price tags and features list inflate over the course of the past decade. The Sedona is at least as good – and in many ways, better – than these two class leaders everywhere that counts. If I worked for either Toyota or Honda, I’d be scared, because this Kia is the best van I’ve driven in quite a long time.
Yeah, I’m Serious
I know, I know – am I really gushing over a minivan? The very definition of an automotive appliance, essentially a box on wheels? It’s true that there are few segments of the market more passionless, but someone forgot to tell the Kia Sedona’s designers that they should be setting the bar low. From the outside, the van bears the aggressive egg-crate grille affected by most of Kia’s modern line-up, framed by canted, malevolent headlights and a pleasantly curving bumper. In profile it’s all slab, but nicely detailed, with only the hatch area coming across as semi-generic.
Inside the Sedona it’s an entirely different story. I need to point out that I drove the SXL+ model, which sits at the very top of the minivan’s family tree and which explains why my tester was packed with leather, wood trim, and almost every conceivable luxury feature. In fact, the Sedona’s cabin reminded me more of the brand’s K900 flagship sedan than it did lesser efforts like the Sienna or the Odyssey (or even Chrysler’s Town & Country laggard), which is saying a lot from a fit and finish perspective.
Does Your Van Come With An Ottoman?
The 2015 Kia Sedona is offered in both seven and eight passenger editions, and the SXL trim makes available a unique second row configuration that includes a pair of leather-upholstered, fully-reclining buckets that feature fold-out ottomans. It was a little weird to drive around with both seats fully extended – kind of like having a couple of dentist chairs in your rear-view mirror – but there’s no denying their novelty, nor the comfort they provide on long road trips. They’re also a substantial upgrade over the van’s third row of seating, which is more child-friendly than anything else.
Each seating position, regardless of size, is still treated to the Sedona’s comfortable ride, and those at the back of the van will appreciate the digital temperature controls mounted over the right side sliding door. Up front, there are heated and cooled seats, a heated steering wheel, a very usable infotainment system, and even a top-down camera system that helped manoeuvre the van through tight spaces (when the cameras weren’t encrusted in snow and ice, that is).
Dynamically, It’s Still A Van
The 2015 Kia Sedona’s passenger compartment is a sight to behold, but don’t be confused into thinking that this minivan somehow sheds its hefty curb weight and tall centre of gravity and turns in a premium driving experience to match. There’s nothing wrong with what the Sedona brings to the table – you get 276 horsepower from a 3.3-litre V6 engine, sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission – but there’s little about its driving character that sets it apart from its rivals in the same way that its daring design does. Even so, in wet slippery snow the Sedona felt secure and stable, and I never found myself wishing for all-wheel drive.
Fuel efficiency checks in just this side of average, and although the van offered ‘Eco’ and ‘Comfort’ drive modes, I found myself happy to just keep it in ‘Normal’ and enjoy its well-weighted steering. It’s worth noting that SXL vans are penalized somewhat by the additional mass of all that luxury gear, posting somewhat less impressive fuel efficiency as a result.
Focus On What’s Important
One of the reasons that minivans have moved so far upscale in terms of price and features is that their manufacturers learned long ago that in the absence of a fun behind the wheel experience, it’s best to accentuate the practicality and comfort of these upright land yachts. The Sedona SXL is the perfect example of this philosophy, and although you trade in some utility for those awesome second row seats (they don’t tip forward like those found in lesser editions of the van, which compromises total cargo capacity), overall it’s a refreshing take on what these rolling boxes have to offer and feels closer to what an aftermarket outfitter could do with such a large, blank canvas than any of its rivals.
When paying close to $50,000 for a minivan, it better damn well feel like it’s worth every penny, and in that respect the top-tier Kia doesn’t disappoint. If you’re looking for all-wheel drive, you’ll have to turn to Toyota, if you need an integrated vacuum cleaner (?) then Honda has your back, and if you want the illusion of performance then the Grand Caravan R/T has you covered, but neither of these vans match the execution, feature count, or interior quality of the Sedona SXL+.
With its restyled, retooled, re-engineered 2015 Sedona, Kia aims to compete and undercut at the highest level of luxury and convenience.
LAKE ELSINORE, CA.—Now this is the way to properly test a vehicle. Stretched out in the reclining back seat with a latte in hand, adjusting the air-conditioning and telling the driver to not spare the horses.
A Rolls-Royce Phantom? The new Maybach? No — a minivan, and a Kia at that.
Love ’em or hate ’em, minivans really are the most comfortable vehicles on the road. Lots of space and headroom, plenty of cargo room, and a smooth, wallowy ride that’s like flying business class far above any turbulence.
The top-of-the-line version of the new Kia Sedona is especially like that, with its leg rests for the second row that let you stretch right out, just like in the Toyota Sienna.
Between sips on my latte, I’m comparing notes with the driver. He’s another auto hack like myself, and he drew the short straw to be behind the wheel for this half of our California road trip. Not that it’s bad to be driving — it’s just not so relaxing as being stretched out in the back.
A Rolls-Royce Phantom? The new Maybach? No — a minivan, and a Kia at that.
We’re trying to think of what’s unique about this latest generation of the Sedona, what sets it apart from its competition.
After all, the Toyota Sienna had those reclining seats and now has the new Easy Speak feature, letting the driver talk through the rear speakers to the third row. It also has optional all-wheel drive. Both are unique to Toyota.
The Honda Odyssey has a built-in vacuum cleaner, albeit something of a gimmick, and underfloor storage. It can also run on fewer cylinders to save fuel.
The Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country go even further with the underfloor storage, tucking both rows of seats neatly under the carpet to create a completely flat floor. Current incentives undercut all the other prices.
So what does the restyled, retooled, re-engineered Sedona have? “There’s the Drive switch!” calls out my colleague suddenly, after several minutes of scanning the cabin while I sat with eyes closed, music in my head.
“It switches between Eco, Comfort, and Regular to change the steering feel and gear-shift patterns. Here, I’ll put it in Comfort now. Oooh — feels looser!”
He kept jabbering on as we cruised up the interstate toward Lake Elsinore, flipping the switch between the three Drive settings. In truth, when I took the wheel later and flipped the switch for myself, I couldn’t tell any difference.
I’m sure it was there but it just didn’t really matter. This is a minivan, after all. Leave it on Regular and get the kids to soccer.
In fact, Kia’s put a lot of thought into this new van. It’s not a big market in North America and the models mentioned above are all that remain to choose from, as buyers shun the suburban stigma of the minivan in favour of large SUVs.
The Sedona is completely redesigned to compete for those other van buyers, offering similar features for less. There are seven different trim levels for the new Sedona, starting at $27,495, which is $1,200 cheaper than the 2014 model, and rising all the way to $45,995.
That’s almost $6,000 more than the current top-of-the-line Sedona, which demonstrates Kia’s intention to compete and undercut at the highest level of luxury and convenience.
From the outside, the new Sedona gets a flatter nose with a mesh grille, which is supposed to denote “bold SUV styling” for any buyers still on the fence. There’s a rear spoiler and “dynamic rear-quarter glass,” as well as LED lights front and back.
Under the hood is the new 3.3L Gas Direct Injection V6 engine from the Sorento, which creates 276 hp and 248 lbs.-ft. of torque. That’s slightly ahead of the Japanese minivans but a little behind the 283 hp of the Dodge and Chrysler. All models have a six-speed automatic transmission and can tow 3,500 lbs., like all the competition.
But minivan buyers don’t really care about the niceties of the engine and drivetrain, except for fuel consumption.
Official consumption figures vary with the models, mostly due to their different weights. The SX gets a combined 11.4 L/100 km with its Eco setting, but the loaded SXL+ we’re driving gets an official 12.5L/100 km.
In fact, we’ve been getting an indicated average of 17.8 L/100 km on our test drive, which includes city streets, interstate and a mountain road. That’s thirsty, but it’s not scientific, and I did tell the driver to not spare the horses.
Most drivers are more concerned for comfort and convenience, which is what I’m thinking about with my eyes closed as we drive north.
There’s a large, 8-inch colour central display screen for Navigation and other information, and all models except the very base also use that screen for a rearview camera.
The $35,495 SX level and above is where the van starts getting luxurious, with a power tailgate, the selectable Drive switch, a heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats, and automatic climate control.
At this level, you also get blind-spot detection and front- and rear-obstacle detection, flashing a warning at the driver if something’s in your path.
Various different trim levels offer either seven- or eight-passenger seating, but you need to go up to the $40,995 SXL if you want the second-row reclining “aviator” seats, which limit space to seven people.
There’s another price to be paid for the fancy seats, though. While the third row folds flat under the floor in all levels, the second row folds up vertically and pushes forward against the back of the first row. The aviator reclining seats are thicker and so take more space for this.
Like the Honda and Toyota, the second-row seats are a pain to remove and don’t provide the superior cargo room of the stow ’n’ go Dodge and Chrysler. It’s still a lot of space though, and more than an SUV — plenty of area to lay down a bicycle, for example.
The SXL also has two sunroofs, with the rearmost panel operated by the rear passengers.
If you want Navigation, you must top out with the SXL+, which also has adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and lane departure warning, and a 360-degree camera on the central display.
None of the models, however, include a DVD system for passengers. A few years ago, when my kids were younger, I would have thought this unforgivable. Now they’re teenagers and never forsake their cellphones for screens, so I no longer care to buy them in a minivan.
But I have my eyes shut and I’m just enjoying this drive. My colleague is still switching between the Drive modes to try to feel a difference. It’ll be my turn to take over the wheel soon, so I’ll take another sip of latte now and enjoy the coffee for its sweetness.
A minivan, and a Kia at that. Who’d have thought it?
2015 KIA SEDONA
Travel expenses for freelance writer Mark Richardson were paid by the manufacturer. Email: email@example.com
PRICE: $27,495 - $45,995
ENGINE: 3.3L V6
POWER/TORQUE: (hp/lbs.-ft.) 276 / 248
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (claimed, L/100 km, regular)
- L, LX – 13.2 City, 9.7 Hwy., 11.6 comb.
- SX – 12.9 City, 9.5 Hwy., 11.4 comb.
- SXL – 14.2 City, 10.5 Hwy., 12.5 comb.
COMPETITION: Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country
WHAT’S BEST: Luxurious feel to cabin, smooth ride, lots of technology
WHAT’S WORST: Probably thirsty, no Navigation except at top trim, no DVD
WHAT’S INTERESTING: More than half the body structure of the new Sedona is made from ultra-high-strength steel, compared to eight per cent of the current Sedona.