2015 Kia Sedona: Redesigned minivan a worthy choice

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Kia has vastly improved its lineup in recent years, including some “out-of-the-box” additions like the Sedona, Cadenza and K900. For 2015, the Kia Sedona debuts as a third-generation minivan with a fresh approach.

The Sedona is an optional three-row minivan positioned in a segment dominated for many years by the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Dodge Caravan.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

The Kia Sedona is offered in five trims: L, LX, EX, SX and SX-L. The EX is the only trim with an eight-passenger configuration as standard, with the larger seating arrangement as an option on the LX and SX. The L and SX-L are categorized as seven-passenger vehicles.

My Weekly Driver test vehicle was the top-line SX-L. Like all of its siblings, it had a 3.3-liter V6 with 276 horsepower, a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

The 2015 Kia Sedona is debut of the minivan's third generation.
The 2015 Kia Sedona is debut of the minivan’s third generation.

Like other Kia models, the Sedona has a rich list of standard equipment throughout the trims. The SX-L adds 19-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a heated and wood-trimmed steering wheel, wood interior trim and second-row lounge seats with airplane-style winged headrests and extendable leg rests.

The Sedona is more versatile than might be expected. With an optional hitch, it can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Its acceleration is impressive, with 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds. That’s pretty swift for a minivan.

If any minivan can infiltrate the market share of the minivan’s big three, but particularly the dominance held by the Honda Odyssey, it’s the Sedona. It has a new platform, a new (better quality) interior and a new powertrain — and all with one idea in mind.

Kia is calling the third-generation Sedona a “multi-purpose” vehicle in an attempt to distance itself from one of  the stigmas against minivans — that they’re boring.

The Sedona is far from mundane. It drives with a dignified presence on the road. It’s quiet, steady and surprisingly nimble in city driving or in other less-than-ideal circumstances.

I liked the front and second rows of seating. The driver and front-row passenger sit high, have near panoramic views and plenty of head and leg room. Second-row passengers likewise sit in comfort and have several individual controls.

The third row is where the Kia falls behind the Odyssey and its other top competitors. To utilize the third-row seats, a push-and-pull strap process is necessary. It requires strong arms and plenty of practice. It shouldn’t be a determining factor for a minivan buyers, but convenience means a lot to car buyers and the awkwardness could discourage those who were considering switching from the minivan leaders.

Likes:

Quiet, luxurious interior.

Many high-tech features.

Spacious second row, particularly when third row isn’t being used.

Priced well against rivals.

Quick 0-60 mph acceleration.

Dislikes:

Heavy, non-nimble third row of seats.

Sluggish freeway acceleration.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Kia Sedona

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.9 seconds.
Airbags: 10.
Fuel economy: 17 mpg (city), 22 mpg (highway), 19 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 276.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $39,700.00.
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.kia.com.
Price As Tested: $43,295.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/ 100,000 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/60,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“Given Kia’s tendency to push the envelope with its new products, we were honestly expecting something a bit more radical, but the 2015 Kia Sedona is undoubtedly a strong contender, and its vastly improved style and features make it a serious player where its predecessor wasn’t.” — AutoTrader.

“Against its rivals, the Sedona’s quietness, starting price, and trick Lounge seats make it worth a serious look.” — AutoWeek.

“If you’re after a minivan with ample features for marginally less than most of the competition, the Sedona is your van.” — Edmunds.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“It’s ‘brave’ for a manufacturer to try to compete against the Honda Odyssey, and good for Kia for continuing to make the effort. The Sedona isn’t as good as the Odyssey, but it’s a quality, less expensive alternative.”

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