As a childless male in the automotive industry, driving a minivan for a week seems absolutely foreign. How do I test a seven-passenger minivan in a way that’s relevant? However, thanks to two large dogs and a musical girlfriend with a band, we put the Sedona through its paces.
Korean brothers Kia and Hyundai have never offered up the same compelling products in the minivan space as their Japanese and American counterparts. While the Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country sells on price and innovative features, the Sienna and Odyssey position themselves as reliable, refined options in the family-hauler segment. The Sedona (and former Hyundai Entourage) never found its niche, much like the Nissan Quest, and soon fell by the wayside.
What is the Kia Sedona?
Simply put, the Sedona is the only minivan currently coming to North America from South Korea. Also named the Carnival in other markets, Kia’s minivan is powered by a 276-horsepower 3.3L DOHC V6 engine with direct injection mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Five-cycle fuel economy tests give the Sedona SXL (nearest trim to our test model) a rating of 14.2L/100km city, 10.5L/100km highway (other lesser trims return significantly better fuel economy numbers).
The base Sedona rings in at $27,495 with seven-passenger seating, satellite radio, and steel wheels. The LX adds UVO infotainment, eight-passenger seating, and 17” alloy wheels for $29,995, while SX models receive 18” alloy wheels, tri-zone climate control, and power sliding doors/lift gate for $35,595. Top-trim SXL models, starting at $40,995, offer leather seating, cooled front seats, luxury 2nd row captain’s chairs, and dual-panel sunroof.
Our tester, a fully loaded SXL+ model that receives additional safety and entertainment equipment, retails for $46,295 with an additional $200 premium paint option, excluding $1,665 for delivery.
Driving the 2015 Kia Sedona
The Sedona, offering up gluttonous amounts of features and technology in upper trims, is a pricy option. Our tester, near as makes no difference to $50,000, is as luxury has you can get when it comes to family haulers.
Unfortunately, stereotypical Korean suspension tuning is at full force in Kia’s latest model. While Kia and Hyundai have both made great strides in the suspension department, especially in the Sonata and Forte, the Sedona doesn’t benefit from this new level of knowledge. Instead, the ride is choppy, off-putting, and undeserving of a vehicle retailing for as much as it does.
Nor does the Sedona instill confidence in anything but the best of conditions. While our tester was fitted with winter rubber, the Kia had control problems resulting in some hairy moments.
To top it all off, the 3.3L V6 is excellent, but thirsty. While the engine in the Sedona does give the big-bodied personal bus some scoot, fuel economy suffers equally as much as your wallet.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Kia Sedona
Conspicuously missing from the order options is rear-seat entertainment. With kids looking to be constantly entertained in this day and age, no screens are available behind the 1st row, something that’s been offered by competitors for quite some time.
On the other side of the equation, the Kia Sedona does provide the driver with one of the nicest cabins available in the segment, even rivaling class-leader Honda with the quality of build materials. But, when it comes down to it what’s going on immediately around the driver is not what sells minivans. Power-sliding doors and a power lift-gate do what they can to ease the pain of parenting, but the Kia has glaring misses.
Overall, the Sedona, while it’s certainly good looking, requires a serious rethink in equipment and engine options if it desires to be a volume player.
Comparing the 2015 Kia Sedona
All of the Sedona’s minivan counterparts come from America or Japan. The stalwart Chrysler Town & Country and soon-to-be-gone Dodge Grand Caravan twins provide the best value. The Toyota Sienna offers up all-wheel drive, while the Honda Odyssey gives you an optional vacuum in top-trim models. The Sedona is cheaper than most, but the others offer up a better bang for the buck all around.