2015 Kia Sedona SX-L First Drive

A new take on the minivan segment?

What It Is
A "multi-purpose vehicle," says Kia. We say it’s a minivan.
Best Thing
Smooth ride, plenty of features per dollar.
Worst Thing
Where's the vacuum?
Snap Judgment
With thoughtful features and an attractive price point, the Sedona deserves serious attention.


The Nissan Quest, Volkswagen Routan, and Dodge Grand Caravan are just three of the fifteen minivans that have been discontinued over the last ten years. For 2015, the Sedona not only soldiers on for another year, but it does so completely redesigned. Upgraded seat materials, new technologies, and changes under the hood give the Sedona an edge over its competitors, which haven't seen updates in years. We drove the Sedona around Southern California for a day to see just what it has to offer everyday consumers.

2015 Kia Sedona Side In Motion

Walkaround

Kia says the Sedona is not a minivan but an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). As a result, it is lower, shorter, and slightly wider than a minivan. Still, it retains a classic minivan appearance that may not be as old-school as a Town & Country, but doesn't have the same modern look as the Honda Odyssey. In most ways, it functions just like a minivan, offering seven or eight seats, sliding doors, and a long, wide silhouette.

All Sedonas now adopt Kia's signature Tigernose grille, which makes the minivan look much more youthful than the outgoing model. Top trim models bring extras like 19-inch chrome alloy wheels and unique panel trim, giving it a glossy and refined appearance.

Sitting Down

If you look at the minivan segment, each player has a signature feature that makes it stand out from the others in the pack. For the Odyssey, it’s the low-suction vacuum cleaner, and for the Town & Country, it is the multi-configurable seats with tailgate positioning. Surprisingly, Kia has many such features, most of which are available on mid-trim levels. Anti-microbial, anti-stain seats are standard. A smart power liftgate opens the rear gate automatically when the key fob is sensed for three seconds, and can be programmed to adjust to the driver's individual height. Thanks to new Uvo eServices, curfew and speed alerts warn parents if their kids aren't abiding by pre-set up rules. These features are available on the EX, which Kia says will be the most popular model.

We drove the SX-L trim model, which features Kia's exclusive first-class lounge seating with leg rests, winged headrests, and greater legroom. The only downside is that they don'y fold back out of the way like other rear seats available on the model.

2015 Kia Sedona Interior

There may be plenty of features on this model, but how do they function in an overall package? The wide Nappa leather seats in this model are extremely comfortable yet supportive enough not to induce napping. However, due to the layout of the cabin, the touchscreen can be difficult to reach from the passenger seat.

Driving

On the highway, through the city, and on winding back roads, the Sedona drove smoothly and confidently. It was surprising how little noise the engine produced, and overall, the drive was quiet except on the bumpiest roads. Looking out through the front windshield is easy, but rear visibility was limited thanks to the tall second and third row seats that got in the way. Luckily, a rearview camera helped navigate while backing up, and it even showed an aerial view of the vehicle as it pulls into a parking space, helping make sure drivers aren't over the line.

Despite its size, we didn't have many problems navigating the minivan. The vehicle's light steering feel complemented its overall theme of comfort. While not as nimble as some other minivans on the market, U-turns and three-point turns only required minimal effort.

Summary

Before the redesign, we would have easily looked past the Sedona in favor of other models. Finally, Kia has applied its signature tradition of packing in the most features per dollar to the new Sedona, and we think buyers will notice the difference. Priced more affordably than the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, yet offering a refined drive for its class, we think the Sedona is worth a good look in this segment. Its heaviest competition? In our opinion, the Odyssey remains the strongest competitor, but from a value-oriented perspective, the Town & Country also puts up a strong fight.

Basic Specs

3.3-liter GDI V-6, 6-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, 276-hp, $25,900-$39,700, 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

Click thumbnails for detailed view
5 comments
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