The Kia Sedona minivan continues to be a value-priced alternative to the competition. This third-generation Sedona was launched as a 2015 model, so it’s a fairly new product.
The 2017 Kia Sedona adds available advanced safety features, such as forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking. Upper versions of the 2017 Sedona gain an upgraded UVO e-Services infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 2017 Sedona SXL adds HID headlights with dynamic bending to better illuminate curves.
Performance isn’t usually a high priority for minivan buyers, but few are likely to be disappointed by the powertrain. Offered only with front-wheel drive, the Sedona contains a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. That’s the same engine used in Kia’s upscale Cadenza. A 6-speed automatic is the sole transmission.
Gas mileage isn’t as thrifty as some might expect, estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 20 mpg Combined city and driving. For the minivan class, that figure is around average.
Ride quality is where Kia’s minivan excels. Occupants can look forward to a relatively soft, comfortable road experience, enhanced by a pleasantly quiet cabin, especially in upper trim levels. Adding to the enjoyment is a satisfying infotainment system.
Although the Sedona is attractive, it’s undeniably a minivan, promising a useful level of practicality but short on imaginative details. In other words, it’s precisely what most minivan buyers hope for and expect to obtain.
Kia makes its Sedona available in five trim levels: base L, LX, EX, SX, and top-rung SXL. An optional Prestige package for Sedona SXL includes lounge-style second-row seating, Nappa leather, and a dual sunroof.
Three trim levels have eight-passenger seating with a second-row bench. A Slide-n-Stow provision moves seatbacks closer to the front, and seat bottoms can flip up. Sedona L and Sedona SX versions get seven-passenger seating, with a pair of reclining captain’s chairs in the second row. Third-row seats are mainly for youngsters.
Sedona has done well in crash-testing. Only two minivans have been declared Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Sedona is one of them, courtesy of newly available advanced safety features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. Those features are standard for the top Sedona SXL trim level, and offered in a costly option package for other models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave Sedona a five-star overall crash-test score, and a four-star rollover rating. A rearview camera is standard on all trim levels.
Sedona L ($26,800), the seven-passenger base model, includes a rearview camera, Bluetooth, keyless entry, anti-soil cloth upholstery, a 5.0-inch touchscreen, and 17-inch alloy wheels. (Prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Sedona LX ($28,850) adds a second-row bench for eight-passenger seating, power driver’s seat, power sliding rear doors, and power-folding outside mirrors. Most Sedona options, including leather seating and advanced safety features, are available on LX.
Sedona EX ($33,600) adds a 7.0-inch touchscreen, 3.5-inch driver information display, cooled glovebox, heated leather seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, pushbutton start, front/rear parking assist, power liftgate, rapid-charging USB ports, and 18-inch wheels.
Sedona SX ($36,900) gets an 8.0-inch screen, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Infinity premium audio, seven-passenger seating, power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, blind-spot detection, and 18-inch machine-finished wheels. Sedona SXL ($41,900) comes with the advanced safety suite, leather/wood steering wheel, 19-inch chromed alloy wheels, high-intensity headlights with automatic leveling, and surround-view camera system.
Viewed from the side, the Sedona comes across as exactly what is: a family-focused mover of people and cargo, a minivan. Clean lines up front provide a classy touch, centered on a more upright rendition of the familiar Kia grille. Headlights sweep back, joined by LED running lamps. Rear pillars are concealed by wraparound glass, and a lower back bumper eases loading of luggage.
Not that appearance matters much. Minivans are purchased because of their practical merits, not their inherent beauty.
Like the exterior, the Sedona cabin promises functionality, centered upon a horizontal-themed dashboard layout. It might not sparkle, but gets the job done. Still, two-tone layouts and areas of piano-black trim give the cockpit a bit of flair. Detail work suggests Kia’s upscale sedans: the K900 and Cadenza. Upper trim levels feature soft-touch materials.
Occupants can expect a high level of comfort and space in front, as well as in the second row. Captain’s chairs, installed in seven-seat models, practically qualify as luxurious. Headroom is sparse in the third row, and anyone assigned back there must squeeze through a space that’s barely a foot wide. Adults and older teens won’t enjoy riding all the way back.
Cargo space is excellent. Second-row seatbacks fold partially, but not flat into the floor. With 142 cubic feet of space behind the front row, few families will complain about the Sedona’s roominess. A 4×8-foot plywood sheet can fit in the back, but only at an angle. With the second-row seats up, there’s 33.9 cubic feet of space behind the second row.
Ample cubby storage includes a dual glovebox, with cooling available in upper models. USB ports are readily accessible.
Ride comfort gets the greatest applause, as the Sedona’s suspension irons out the impact of most imperfect pavement. Upper models with bigger tires still deliver a favorable ride.
Strings of bumps in the road can induce some bounciness. On the other hand, a Sedona shows almost no tendency to wander out of its lane while rolling down an Interstate.
A Sedona handles well enough in ordinary driving, especially at lower speeds. When pushed harder, the body tends to start rolling as well as pitching fore/aft, possibly causing passengers to feel a bit uneasy. Take a corner too briskly, and the tires just might begin to squeal in complaint.
Performance might not qualify as stirring, much less stimulating; but it’s not disheartening, either. Although the 6-speed automatic has been around for a while, it behaves adequately. Still, the V6 is pulling quite a bit of weight. A Sedona is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds. When also loaded with passengers and cargo, the engine might start to strain.
Overall, the 2017 Sedona feels a little like one of Chrysler’s original minivans.
Fuel economy is around average, but varies a bit according to trim level. Most models are EPA-rated at 18/24 mpg City/Highway, or 20 mpg Combined. SX models do a tad better, because they use electric power steering rather than a hydraulic setup, as on lower trim levels. The SX is EPA-rated at 18/25 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined. The SXL is heavier and abundantly equipped, dropping EPA figures to 17/22 mpg City/Highway, or 19 mpg Combined.
Despite having fewer standout qualities, the Kia Sedona can be a worthy, and less costly, alternative to more popular minivans. Starting below $30,000, the Sedona might have few memorable virtues other than an appealing ride, but it has no serious demerits, either.
Driving impressions by Aaron Cole, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.