Full 2006 Kia Sedona Review
What's New for 2006
The Kia Sedona is all-new for 2006. It's longer and wider than its predecessor, with a nearly 15-percent improvement in passenger room. Horsepower is up 49 from the previous generation thanks to a new 3.8-liter, 244-hp V6. The Sedona's standard features list has been expanded to include fold-flat third-row seating; power-sliding doors and a power liftgate have been added as options. ABS and traction control are now standard, along with front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows.
Anyone with kids knows that, like 'em or not, minivans rule when it comes to versatility and convenience. The minivan's status as the ultimate family hauler has made this segment one of the most hotly contested markets in the industry. Top-rated vans from Honda and Toyota offer spacious cabins with a deft combination of comfort, convenience and safety that family buyers can't help but like. Trouble is, these minivans command relatively high prices that put them out of reach of families on a tight budget.
Like the company's Sorento sport-utility vehicle, the Kia Sedona packs an amazing punch for its price. For 2006 the Sedona has grown to the size of the Odyssey and Sienna. It's built on an all-new platform and measures 202 inches from nose to tail. It now has all the must-have features for a modern-day minivan, including side airbags, stability control and a fold-flat third-row seat. It's also about $2,000 more than last year's model, but you can still get one decently equipped for under $25,000. Kia, however, believes there's still a market for a smaller, lower-cost minivan to compete with the Dodge Caravan and Mazda 5, so a shorter-wheelbase version will arrive later on in 2006.
As in past years, there are just two trim levels on the Sedona -- LX and EX -- and either one will get you into a seven-passenger minivan carefully assembled with quality materials and overflowing with storage areas and cupholders. Regardless of which trim you choose, Kia has the basics covered: The base LX includes a 60/40 third-row bench that drops into the floor, second-row captain's chairs, front-seat side airbags, head curtain airbags for all three rows, tri-zone air conditioning, an eight-speaker CD stereo, keyless entry, stability control, 16-inch wheels and 14 cupholders. New optional features include power-sliding doors, a power liftgate, automatic climate control and a 605-watt Infinity sound system.
We'd faulted the previous-generation Sedona for its less-than-impressive power and poor gas mileage. This year, Kia addresses these shortcomings by reducing the van's curb weight by 400 pounds and installing a new 244-hp 3.8-liter V6 under the hood. As a result, the 2006 Sedona's fuel economy rating is 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, which is a bit better than the 2005 model's 16/22 mpg city/highway. Ride and handling is also improved, thanks to a new independent rear suspension. With its larger interior, additional features and improved driving dynamics, the 2006 Kia Sedona no longer feels the low-cost compromise in the minivan segment. It's still not as nimble and refined as the Odyssey or the Sienna, but in most other respects, it's just as capable.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Kia Sedona seven-passenger minivan is offered in two well-equipped trim levels, LX and EX. The LX comes with second-row captain's chairs, fold-flat third-row seating, keyless entry, full power accessories, tri-zone air conditioning, cruise control, an eight-speaker CD stereo and 16-inch wheels. The EX adds an eight-way power driver seat, nicer cloth upholstery, an MP3-compatible stereo, automatic headlights, an auto-dimming mirror and 17-inch alloy wheels. Additionally, the EX gives you access to optional power-sliding doors and a power liftgate, as well as the Luxury Package, which includes leather upholstery, auto climate control, seat heaters, adjustable pedals, driver-seat memory, a sunroof, steering wheel audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear parking sensors. Any Sedona can be equipped with a rear entertainment system, but only EX buyers can combine it with a 605-watt, 13-speaker Infinity audio system that allows DVD playback in 7.1 surround sound.
Powertrains and Performance
The Sedona comes equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that generates 244 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway.
Standard safety features on all Sedonas include antilock brakes with BrakeAssist and electronic brakeforce distribution; stability and traction control; full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows; front-seat side airbags; a tire-pressure monitoring system (with sensors for each individual tire) and active front-seat headrests. Rear parking sensors and adjustable pedals are optional on the EX as part of the Luxury Package. For its performance in NHTSA crash tests, the Kia Sedona earned a perfect five-star rating for its protection of occupants in front and side collisions. The IIHS gave the minivan a top score of "Good" in frontal and side-impact testing and named it a "Top Safety Pick Gold."
Interior Design and Special Features
In addition to abundant storage and cupholders, the 2006 Kia Sedona offers comfortable, flexible seating. There's plenty of legroom in all three rows, and fore/aft-adjustable second-row chairs allow you to divvy up the room. Headroom is snug, though, and we suspect that's why Kia mounted the third-row bench low to the floor. It's still usable for children, but teenagers won't be happy back there. Dropping the third-row seats into the floor isn't hard to do, and should you require additional cargo space, the second-row seats are removable. Cargo capacity tops out at 141.5 cubic feet, still shy of what the Grand Caravan, Odyssey and Sienna offer.
Out on the road, the new V6 offers plenty of power for city and highway driving. Occasionally, the transmission is a little slow to respond, but for the most part shifts are smooth and well-timed. The ride is comfortable and quiet, but handling is not particularly athletic. Although Kia's minivan handles predictably around corners it develops more body roll and is less precise in its steering than some other top minivans.
Read our Kia Sedona Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test