Minivan shoppers rejoice?you have another great choice with the addition of the 2015 Kia Sedona. Or, maybe the Kia will just muddy the water adding yet another compelling option when it comes to buying a new minivan.
Often maligned as being too ?soccer-mom?, the minivan, in our opinion is one of the most practical vehicles on the road and that?s probably where the bad rap come from ? most people want that bright red sports car, not a big box that will haul eight passengers or four by eight sheets of plywood.
A few months ago Barbara went to the introduction of the new Sedona and came away impressed by Kia?s new rendition of their multi-purpose vehicle (that?s what Kia calls them to steer away from that ?minivan? nomenclature. Now we had a chance to live with the Sedona for a week to get a more than a first impression.
Speaking of first impressions, the Sedona gives a good one with its fresh new styling, complete with the Sedona interpretation of the Kia family ?tiger nose? grille. The design comes from Kia design chief Peter Schreyer, who before coming to change the look of Kia, was responsible for the memorable designs of cars like the Audi TT, Audi A6 and Volkswagen New Beetle. Now he?s redesigned the entire Kia lineup and it looks great and very distinctive.
Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America, summed it up like this, ?The all-new Sedona is the final model to undergo Kia?s design-led transformation under the direction of chief design officer Peter Schreyer.? He continued, ?Beneath the strong lines is a vehicle designed for today?s active lifestyles with more power than the previous Sedona, a longer wheelbase for improved leg room and unique seating configurations, including available ?First Class? second-row seats.? Combined with intuitive technology and safety, the Sedona brings new levels of sophistication to a segment that?s been filled with bland and predictable practicality.?
The horizontal styling treatments on the front and rear surfaces make the Sedona look lower, wider and more muscular. The signature Kia ?Tiger Nose? grille, defines the front fascia and chrome accents give the Sedona a more elegant, upscale persona. The rear end continues the wide look with strong horizontal lines and an integrated over-window spoiler treatment.
Design magic lends itself to the Sedona interior where there?s more room in most areas while the size of the Sedona actually shrinks slightly. The dash area is driver-friendly with large controls and instruments, well organized in horizontal pods.
Shoppers can select from seven- and eight-passenger seating configurations both filled with a multitude of convenient storage spaces. An available feature of the seven-passenger seating is Kia?s new ?first-class? lounge seating. The two second row seats can be moved back to create extra legroom and space for the retractable lower-leg rests that give recliner-like comfort. The available first-class treatment extends to airplane-style winged headrests and heated cushions. Parents will want their children to grow up quickly and get driver?s licenses so the kids can drive and the parents can enjoy in the second row seating.
The second row seats are also part of the Slide-N-Stow system. The seats can be folded upright to allow for ?on-the-go? cargo hauling without having to remove the seats. Cargo space is a spacious 33.9-cubic feet with all three rows of seating in place and can be expanded in stages to as much at 142 cubic feet with the second and third row seats folded and stowed.
Parents will also appreciate the standard YES Essentials? fabric technology which provides anti-microbial protection from spills, anti-static protection from irritating electrical shocks as well as stain-repelling and stain-releasing fabric characteristics.?The posh leather seat option is the same as is used in the Kia K900 luxury sedan.
The 2015 Kia Sedona is a totally new product starting from the ground up. It?s built on an all-new chassis, which Kia says has a ?static torsional stiffness that is 36-percent greater than its closest segment competitor.?? The body is 76 percent Advanced High Strength Steel or Press Hardened Steel, which provides exceptional rigidity, durability and collision protection in a lightweight design. It?s interesting to note that Kia makes its own steel.
A new 276-hp 3.3-liter V-6 engine replaces the previous 3.5-liter V-6 and hooks up through Kia?s six-speed Sport-Matic automatic transmission to drive the front wheels. The EPA fuel economy is rated at 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. We averaged 21.7 mpg during the week we drove the Sedona.
The 2015 Kia Sedonas are equipped with all the safety technologies like stability control, traction control, brake assist, hill-start assist, brake force distribution and antilock braking. They also have standard Roll-Over Mitigation and Cornering Brake Control. Available are additional features like Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Surround View Monitor which shows real-time images all around the vehicle on the large display screen.
Modern digital families will appreciate the high-power (2.1 Amp) USB charging ports and 115-volt AC outlets. Another handy optional feature is the ?Smart Power Liftgate,? which opens automatically when the vehicle key fob is detected near the liftgate for three seconds; it can also be programmed to open to a certain height to avoid obstacles like low garage doors.
An important available feature is the latest generation UVO Infotainment & Telematics system which adds new eServices featuring: Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score (notice some features aimed at young drivers).? Additionally, with the introduction of the Kia App store, select apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes?or Google Play. Apps are available to connect to services like Pandora?, iHeart Radio, Yelp? and services such as Siri ?Eyes Free?, local Google search and a multitude of other driver assists.
Kia pricing for the five available trim levels starts at $26,995, including the destination charge, for the L, $29,195 for the LX, $33,195 for the EX, $37,195 for the SX and $40,595 for the SX Limited. The SX Limited with all the available options and some of the Kia dealer installed accessories choice tops out at $43,295.
From a driving standpoint, the Kia Sedona is no sport sedan, but it?s no typical minivan either. The handling is a nice balance between ride comfort and stability ? perfect for a multi-purpose vehicle. The body feels very rigid considering its size. Driving controls are accurate and user-friendly. Driving in tight conditions like parking lots and in traffic it feels agile. The turning radius is a tight 36.8 feet ? that becomes very handy when you miss a turn and have to do a quick U-turn. There are some tough competitors, but the Sedona is fresh, vibrant and loaded with the latest technologies, while the some others are starting to age. The 2015 Kia Sedona is a real contender ? drive one — we think you?ll like it — we did.