2016 Kia Sedona SXLPosted on March 2nd, 2016
Stylish minivan for active families
By Nina Russin
When Kia redesigned the Sedona for 2015, the goal was to maintain its minivan functionality with sexier design. The car’s profile is most similar to a crossover, with a distinct hood and body versus the ‘one box’ configuration of traditional minivans. Design chief Peter Schreyer added a unique grille treatment, wrap-around headlamps and an aggressive front fascia to give the Sedona road presence, with an aerodynamic back end accented by a roof spoiler.
Inside, a sweeping center stack leads to a large center console with storage, separating two captain’s chairs. Buyers can add captain’s chairs to the second row with retractable leg rests, reminiscent of first class seating on airplanes.
The 2016 car is basically carryover from last year. All models now come standard with a rearview camera. Buyers of the upscale SXL can add chrome side sill trim for some extra pizzazz. Cars equipped with the optional technology package seat eight passengers.
Base price for the test car is $39,900 excluding the $895 destination charge. Options include xenon headlamps, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, an around-view camera, adaptive cruise control, 115-volt power outlet and a rear seat entertainment system, bringing the final MSRP to $44,690.
Test drive in Phoenix, Arizona
The fact that the Kia brand is known for value doesn’t diminish the fact that the Sedona test car is not cheap: its MSRP putting it firmly within the entry luxury segment. As such, the automaker has equipped the upscale SXL model with the amenities buyers in this segment have come to expect.
Power comes from a 3.3-liter direct injection V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. It’s a wonderfully peppy powertrain, with enough torque to provide excellent acceleration off the line and in the 20-to-50 mile-per-hour range drivers utilize merging into high-speed traffic.
Although the electric power steering on the test car helps to boost its fuel economy by a mile-per-gallon as compared to the less expensive EX with a conventional hydraulic system, on-center response suffers from the numbness that plagues most of these systems. Given the choice, I’d opt for slightly poorer gas mileage and quicker turns of the wheels when I need to make an emergency evasive maneuver. This is not to say that the driver feels disconnected from the wheels, but the response, especially at high speeds, is on the soft side.
A MacPherson front and multi-link rear suspension provide a supple but not overly soft ride. Stabilizer bars on both axles keep the chassis flat in the corners. To its credit, the Sedona doesn’t have the ride-and-handling of a mom-mobile. It’s actually quite sporty.
Ventilated disc brakes in front and solid rotors in the rear stop the Sedona in firm, linear fashion.
In keeping with its crossover styling, the Sedona has a narrower greenhouse than some competitors. There are some rather large blind spots to the back created by thick D pillars. Standard blind spot monitoring on the test car illuminates LED signals in the side mirrors when vehicles in adjacent lanes pass through the driver’s blind spots. I found the feature extremely helpful when trying to maneuver through rush-hour traffic.
Adaptive cruise control maintains a preset distance between the Sedona and the car in front, enabling drivers to use the feature in stop-and-go traffic. Not being a huge fan of lane departure warning, I was happy that the optional feature was easy to disengage. On the other hand, the surround-view monitor that is part of the same optional technology package is a godsend, giving the driver a complete view of the vehicle perimeter. Parents with small children who might inadvertently wander into the driveway should opt in.
Minivans are living rooms on wheels at heart: the home away from home for families on the go. Despite its nod to crossover styling, the Sedona falls into this tradition with an abundance of storage around all three rows of seating, satellite radio, the newest version of Kia’s UVO infotainment system with navigation, tri-zone automatic climate control and Nappa leather seating on the upscale test car.
I found the power driver’s seat easy to adjust upward for a clear forward view. Keyless entry and start makes it easy for the driver and his/her family to enter the vehicle after dark with a minimum of fumbling. Dual sunroofs bring a welcome dose of ambient light inside the car during the day while optional xenon headlamps project longer, brighter beams than halogen after dark.
Heated and ventilated front seats keep occupants comfortable in temperature extremes. I always appreciate heated seats in the winter when I head off to the trailhead before sunrise. A cooled storage area in the glovebox is another welcome perc: a great place to stash some cool refreshments for after the run.
Owners who load large cargo in the back will appreciate the hands-free liftgate that opens when it senses the key fob for three seconds. Third-row seats fold into the floor while second-row seats fold up and to the sides to create a large load-in area.
The Kia Sedona comes with front, side and side curtain airbags, antilock brakes, traction control, stability control and tire pressure monitoring. The ten year/100,000-mile factory warranty includes five years of roadside assistance: up to 60,000 miles.
The Sedona received a five-star crash test rating from the National Traffic Safety Administration.
Like: A stylish, well equipped minivan with seating for up to eight passengers.
Dislike: Soft on-center response from the electric power steering system.
Model: Sedona SXL
Base price: $39,900
As tested: $44,890
Horsepower: 276 Hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque: 248 lbs.-ft. @ 5200 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 17/22 mpg city/highway2016, Luxury 2016, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Kia, performance, pricing, standard safety