Dana Point, Calif. ? I happen to be one of those people likes minivans (Kia prefers to call them multi-purpose vehicles) because they are so practical, versatile and comfortable, so I was excited to try out the 2015 Kia Sedona. Like most of the latest new Kia products, the new Sedona gets a major styling change — in this case it was from ?ho hum? to ?wow.?
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.?
Design magic lends itself to the Sedona interior where there?s more room in most areas while the size of the Sedona actually shrinks a tad. 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 along with a multitude of convenient storage spaces. An available feature of the seven-passenger seating is Kia?s new ?first-class? lounge seating that 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 so the kids can drive and the parents can enjoy in the second row seating.
The second row seats are also part of the Side-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 all the seats folded and stowed.
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.
The new 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.
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.? 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.
From a driving standpoint, the Kia Sedona is no sport sedan, but it?s no minivan either. The handling is a nice balance between ride comfort and stability ? perfect for a mult-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. I especially liked the tight 36.8 turning radius ? that becomes very handy when you miss a turn and have to do a quick U-turn. There are a couple of tough competitors, but the Sedona is fresh and vibrant and loaded with the latest technologies, while the others are starting to show some age. The 2015 Kia Sedona is a real contender ? drive one and see what you think.