2006 Kia Sedona Long-Term Road Test


  • 2006 Kia Sedona Picture

    2006 Kia Sedona Picture

    Starting MSRP for our Claret Red Sedona EX was $25,595. After options, the price climbed to $31,365. | October 28, 2009

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Read the Kia Sedona's real-time logbook entries.

When Kia introduced the Sedona back in 2002 we were hardly surprised to find out it wasn't a top-tier minivan. Kia was building good vehicles back then, but minivans like the Chrysler Town and Country, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna had a big head start and Kia wasn't likely to make up for so much lost time in one try.

Fully redesigned this year, the 2006 Kia Sedona no longer has any excuses. It still costs less than most minivans, but even with a lower price we expected an improved design and top-notch build quality. And having just put a Honda Odyssey through its paces, it seems like a good time to see just how quickly Kia is catching up.

So far the Sedona has delivered on the basics. Priced at $23,665, the base LX provides a 60/40 third-row bench, 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 and 16-inch wheels.

The third row offers what Edmunds Editor in Chief Karl Brauer called "possibly the best folding system in the segment." The system is similar to Chrysler's smart stow-and-go concept and operates without any unnecessary effort, reaching or strain.

Luggage capacity with six passengers aboard is a generous 32.3 cubic feet. Stash the seats and cargo capacity grows to a maximum of 142 cubic feet, which is slightly less than the Odyssey (147 cubic feet) and the Sienna (149), but enough to carry most anything a family may desire.

Our particular Sedona is the upgraded EX, which starts at $26,265. It 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.

We went for the optional power-sliding doors and a power lift gate ($1,000), as well as the Luxury Package ($2,400), 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.

We also opted for the Premium Entertainment Package ($1,700) which adds a DVD player in the headliner for the pleasure of the rear passengers. It includes an 8-inch monitor, two headsets for sound, a remote control and an Infinity surround-sound system. All of the above made it very well-equipped with an as-tested price of $31,365. An equally equipped Honda Odyssey would cost many thousands more.

We kept that in mind as we put it through our usual battery of performance tests. Acceleration was average for a 3.8-liter 242-horsepower V6 backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. Zero to 60 mph takes 9.1 seconds, which is about a full second faster than the previous model. The quarter-mile takes 16.8 seconds at 84 mph.

Although the steering is way too slow for our tastes, a more advanced suspension than before makes the front-wheel-drive Sedona handle well in turns, impressing the track team through the slalom with a stable 60.7 mph run. It also exhibited a respectable 0.73 g of lateral grip on the skid pad with moderate understeer.

Braking was about average for the class, with its shortest stop coming in at 136 feet from 60 mph. So far, fuel economy has been less than average, although with EPA numbers of 16 city/22 highway we weren't too surprised. Hopefully our cumulative average of 17.0 will go up as the miles go on.

Most of the Sedona's problems stem from its weight. At 4,800 pounds, the '05 Sedona was the tubbiest minivan on the market. For 2006, Kia knocked 400 pounds off with various new metals here and lighter parts there. But in our model — loaded with everything but a service elevator — weight crept back up to 4,700 pounds.

Whether it will be an issue when it comes to doing the things we expect from a good minivan is another story. There's no doubt Kia learned some valuable lessons the first time around, not only from its own van but from the competition. In the next 12 months we'll find out just how much of that experience is baked into the Sedona, and whether or not its cheaper price is worth the savings.

Current Odometer: 2,213
Best Fuel Economy: 20.1 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 15.8 mpg
Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 17.0 mpg
Body Repair Costs: None
Maintenance Costs: None
Problems: None

Read the Kia Sedona's real-time logbook entries.

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