We’re behind the wheel of the 2015 Kia Sedona minivan this week, which receives a complete revamp this year and delivers outstanding value and amenities regardless of model chosen.
From the entry L, (starts at just $26,100) to top line SX-Limited, (starts at $39,700) consumers will be amazed at how far Kia minivans have come. Be it a new family just starting out or one that demands all the best in luxury features, Sedona has a good looking minivan available at the right price.
With an awe inspiring new design that impressed every person that rode in our tester, Sedona centers its minivan technology on interior creature comforts and good exterior looks. Most notable is our SX Limited’s second row lounge bucket seats, featuring a full reclining position with extended leg rest similar to a recliner in the living room of your home.
All Sedonas feature three row seating in either seven or eight passenger arrangement. Our SX Limited came standard with beautiful dual sunroofs, all the powers, tri-zoned climate control, touch-free automatic rear hatch that powers up when your hands are full, power front seats with driver lumbar, Infiniti surround sound stereo with Sirius/XM and Navigation with UVO e- services, Nappa leather seating, heated first- and second-row seating and all the latest safety features including back-up camera, parking assist, traction controls, four wheel disc ABS brakes and high-tech air bags. Other cabin highlights include 12 cup holders, a cooled glove box that will fit several 12-ounce cans of soda, new and impressive instrument panel and lots of convenient storage compartments.
One notable second row seating reality is cargo space, or lack thereof. Both the recliner and regular bucket second row seats fold forward and upright, right behind the front seats. So, instead of stowing down and under, cargo room is compromised although it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Although no actual bench seat is available on eight passenger models (the middle second row seat is another small bucket seat), there’s still a max of 142 cu. ft. available, and a noteworthy 78.4 when the third row is folded under. Also, one of the non-reclining second row seats is completely removable, opening up for some more room. As for benefits of losing a little cargo room, the recliner seat does allow for a fully reclined “sleeping position” which is something a tired passenger will appreciate on a long trip. (Take note mom and dad, the bigger kids will love it, as they will the third row, too).
The only option on our Sedona was a $2,700 SXL Tech package, where Xenon headlamps, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, smart cruise control and a really neat surround view rear cross traffic monitor adds to the safety aspects. Although expensive, I recommend this option.
Under the hood, a 3.3-liter V6 that develops 276 horses and 248 lb. ft. of torque powers all 2015 Sedona minivans. Coupled to a fine shifting six-speed automatic, the front drive Sedona will handle all tasks and get you from zero to 60 in about eight seconds, which is good for its size. The only concern is fuel mileage, where the heavier top line SX-Limited delivers 17 city and 22 highway while the lighter weight less expensive models improve to 18 city and 24 or 25 highway (your dealer will explain). The latter MPG numbers aren’t actually that bad when compared to the competition and the reality that the curb weight of the Kia Sedona is now near 2.5-tons! Still, MPG is an area where Kia can spend some more development time in the future.
Another Sedona quality I really like compared to other minivans is the front row layout, where a full console with a shifter sits between the bucket seats. I never really liked the dashboard mounted minivan shifters, which is the norm when it comes to the competition. Granted, the console eliminates the ability of the passenger to move to the second row quickly and also takes away some storage capabilities. However, the tradeoff is a better looking motif and a more “proper” look if comparing to a crossover style vehicle.
On the highway, drivers may select from three drive modes of Normal, Comfort or Economy on SX and SX-Limited models. These modes affect RPM transmission shift points and electronic steering operations and are not tied to the suspension. Also, expect a very quiet ride, good comfort and solid traction thanks to 19-inch tires on chrome finish wheels.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 120.5-inches, 4,720 lb. curb weight, 6.7-inch ground clearance, cargo space of 33.9 behind third row to 142.0 cu. ft. with all seats down and forward, 21.1 gallon fuel tank and a 36.8 ft. turn circle.
Overall, Kia continues to build outstanding vehicles and persists on its unyielding assault on just about every class of vehicle built. From subcompact to crossover to luxury sedan, the days of laughing at Kia vehicles are long gone, thanks to Kia quality and excellent pricing. If you’re shopping the minivan market and not planning to test driving a Kia Sedona, it could be a major mistake.
Just ask NBA mega-star LeBron James. He drives a Kia.
With the popularity of sport utility vehicles taking the large family vehicle market by storm, many have said the writing is on the wall for the previously well-established minivan concept. Kia Sedona says this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
What Sedona lacks in exterior styling compared to SUV rivals, it makes up for in one very important aspect – space. Being near six feet tall, I didn’t expect much from the reclining second row seats, and I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised. Okay, so my feet did touch the front seats while in a full reclining position, but it still wasn’t that uncomfortable. Afterall, I was lounging in a recliner at a brisk 65 mph freeway speed – how could I complain?
Besides, those rear seats would generally be put to use by the children of a large family anyway, who would have more than enough room to relax in style.
Sedona’s on road driving experience can be compared to piloting a large boat – but it’s a luxury yacht, not a freighter. It’s not surprising, as the 2.5 ton curb weight and overall exterior styling resembling a toaster would not likely bring high expectations from even the most staunch performance critics. However, Kia does well with what its got and the ride comfort and overall experience is, in our opinion, above average for what Sedona is working with.
The 276-horsepower 3.3L V6 offers more than enough power to get our burly minivan moving as quickly as needed. Our tester’s 6-speed automatic transmission performed smoothly and efficiently.
In full disclosure, I have to say I’m a huge fan of the current line of Kia vehicles. Their offerings are generally paired with great prices, above average warranties and relatively inexpensive options packages. To those not concerned with having a luxury badge, but demand a superior driving and passenger experience, Kia deserves a look.
Sedonia’s fuel consumption numbers are just about par for the course as far as minivans are concerned. Its 17 city, 25 highway performance falls just short of the best-in-class 19 city, 28 highway produced by the 2015 Honda Odyssey.
Speaking of competitors – has anyone noticed all minivans look the same? Either there’s some type of conspiracy going on, or, we’re thinking there’s room for some styling innovation in the minivan sector.
For those in the minivan market, we recommend giving Sedona a test drive. Keep on the look out for its great drivetrain performance and its spacious interior. We doubt it will disappoint.
Entry Price: $26,100
Price as tested: $43,295
New exterior design
Entry level has no rear camera
Second row seats eat up some cargo space