May 20, 2007
Minivans are awesome! Anyone who's not buying one because of image is lame.
In addition to hauling around cousins and a grandparent all weekend, the Sedona also proved useful in another way. My wife and I have been looking for a good patio set but refuse to pay $650 - $1000 for a new one.
Thank goodness for Craigslist.
We picked up a 66x40 in. table and six non-colapsable chairs. The load didn't look pretty but it all fit - no second trip to The Valley for me. Love that Sedona.
I removed the second row seats and while the process is easy, the chairs are quite heavy - too heavy, I'm guessing, for the average Cub Scouts mom to handle on her own. Remember, I said average.
Brian Moody, Road Test Editor @ 24,595 miles.
May 14, 2007
If you don't have a load of Muppets to cart around everyday in a minivan, the Sedona is still a practical choice as it makes a great cargo van with its third row folded flat.
I needed a large vehicle this weekend to pick up a chair and I knew the Sedona would be able to handle the load. Last weekend, I tried to pick up this same chair but I was driving a compact SUV for a road test I am working on and the chair would not fit. The Sedona had room to spare.
It swallowed up my chair with only the third row stowed. If I needed more space, the Sedona offers 142 cu.ft. of cargo capacity with both rows out of the way.
April 25, 2007
As the resident cyclist on staff I probably use our long-term Sedona's flexible cargo area more than anyone else. I appreciate the way its third-row seats flop into the floor with almost no effort and I often fold its second-row seats forward to make room for bikes. But this weekend I found its cargo area isn't optimal when it comes to carrying a ton of people, bikes and gear.
Renting a minivan to haul three people, three bikes and luggage over the weekend in Tennessee forced me to choose between a Dodge Caravan or the Kia. Naturally, I wanted the Kia -- familiarity is a good thing. But when the fine folks at Enterprise refused to keep one of the Sedona's second-row seats (we needed the space), I went for the Dodge and its Stow-N-Go seats which disappear into the floor with little effort. When both rows are folded flat they look like this:
Without anyplace to leave one of the second-row seats, this is the best the Sedona could offer:
April 12, 2007
As Hyundai and Kia unveiled so many improved products within such a short time, watchful eyes would notice a slight dichotomy when it came to interior design. Namely, the first batch of cars tended toward a somewhat inelegant, pieced-together appearance while the later models (Azera, Optima, Elantra) possessed a grace and beauty almost on level with Lexus at least to these eyes.
Well, the Kia Sedona falls into the former group. The center stack is a collection of style-free shapes, the dials are frumpy, the colors aren't exactly vibrant, and the fake wood comes from one of the lower-grade plastic forests.
On the other hand, the Sedona does have tons of storage space, a couple million cupholders, windows that open for everyone, power doors, power liftgate, power points everywhere, and second-row seats that are notably easier to take out and snap in than the Toyota Sienna's. I suppose in a minivan, supreme functionality will suffice.
Brian Sy, Automotive Editor, 21,800 miles
April 02, 2007
I'm in the market for a new city bike and have my eye on the Electra Amsterdam. And I was more than happy to take home the Kia Sedona for the weekend so that I could transport my new purchase since my real-life car, the Corolla, could do no such thing without a rack. With easy-to-stow seats and a maximum cargo capacity of 142 cubic feet, I'd have ample room. Plus a power lift gate that opens via the key fob meant that I could load the unwieldly cargo in one fluid motion, without having to struggle with the key and pulling open the heavy lift gate.
However, seems the weekend has gotten away from me and I didn't get to buy the bike. Sigh. Instead of a shot of how my beloved Electra fits in the Sedona, you get a shot of the empty but extra-squeaky cabin.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 21,490 miles
February 13, 2007
Huge news on the Sedona this week.
Had the privilege of spending the weekend in it. With its center row seats removed it did its usual van duty by hauling mountain bikes (two of them, wheels attached). And squeaking. Maybe it's just more noticable with the second-row seats removed, but the thing has a death creak that sounds like a rat in a bear trap. Not sure what it is or where it's coming from, but it's obnoxious.
Like I said, huge news.
Josh Jacquot, senior road test editor @ 19,275 miles
January 25, 2007
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I have no beef with the Sedona. I've driven it home the last few days and I think it rocks. I am a purebred sports car/sport sedan owner/lover/driver, down to my soul, but for what it is, the Sedona is a fantastic minivan. That's part of our job as editors. Not to judge a car based on how it's not a Porsche, but to be in the mindset of someone who actually needs a minivan, or a pickup, or an SUV. What do they want, what do they need?
ANY car, in my view, needs to be easy to use, with the basic controls of starting/stopping, lights, temp, radio, etc. basic, well-designed and totally intuitive and within reach, without your having to consult a manual. Check. Shining stars, plus plenty of storage space and cupholders. And nothing's too complicated. You put a bag on the passenger seat, the passenger airbag's disabled. You stop the car but take your belt off before taking the key out of the ignition, it beeps a couple times, and then stops. Simple. No more than necessary.
But my main concern with all vehicles is visibility, and as I've written before, even some sedans, I feel, spectacularly fail in this regard. I drove the Hyundai Azera this weekend. Loved it, but when I parallel-parked with a low-nose Accord behind me, it was nearly impossible to see the front of the car out of the high rear window. I couldn't tell if I was 5 feet from the Accord or 1 foot. That said, the Sedona is fantastic. Lots of big windows, great visibility all around, easy to move, easy to park.
And I really dig these mirrors. Nice and huge, as they should be with a 16-foot minivan.
When you put it in reverse, they angle down. Like so. Tighter on both sides so you can see what's close to you, and make sure you don't run over the family dog.
January 16, 2007
I didn't get to drive the Sedona anywhere exotic or far away this past weekend, but the wife and kids and I did spend a fair bit of time in it. The following is a brief rundown of our observations.
Like the 2006 Azera I wrote about last week, our 2006 Kia Sedona has no CD track or preset scan button on the steering wheel. I presume the '06 Hyundai Entourage has the same issue, as they are the same car. No really. I wonder if the 2007 Sedona/Entourage steering control is upgraded as it was in our 2007 Azera?
Unlike the Azera, two of the power points (but not the lighter) are hot all of the time. As a result, I was able to charge my cell phone while this one was shut down in my driveway. And the car battery didn't go dead or perceptibly weaken in the process.
My wife Tracy, as usual, loves the seat heaters. But I for one do not like the roller design. I'd prefer a button that resets to off when the car is shut down. Can you tell I've been victimized by practical jokers before?
Tracy, who is of much smaller stature than I, really like the Sedona's seats compared to the 2004 Odyssey she drives regularly. I like them better too because our Honda's seats seem to have such exaggerated lumbar that the upper half of my body doesn't touch anything.
Tracy liked the low windshield and hoodline, saying it gave her a better parking lot view.
She was quite critical of the slurred shifting of the transmission, which at times gives a passable impersonation of a CVT. It's my biggest beef with this van too, as trying to accelerate through gaps or execute passing maneuvers, even moderately, produces a 2 or 3 mississippi delay. Its sort of like the shutter delay found on early digital cameras, which were kinda OK when taking a still-life pictures (cruising) but annoying for action shots (acceleration.) Other than that, the engine is making decent power and would probably produce acceleration comparable to our stout 2004 Odyssey if only the shifts were as decisive.
Finally, my Tahoe Christmas trip blogs invited a bit of controversy about the relative cargo carrying merits of a minivan compared to such a full-sized SUV. In the future, I'd like to make a more detailed comparison. But for now, here are a few key dimensions from this Sedona, as measured by me and my trusty tape measure. Assume an error of up to 1/2 inch:
Liftover height, to bumper: 21.5 inches
Liftover height, to hatch opening: 24 inches
Storage depth, rear door to second seat: 54 inches min, 60 max (2nd seats slid forward, but not folded)
Maximum cargo length, hatch closed: 120 inches (on the floor, straight up the middle between the first and second rows)
Inside height at hatch opening: 40 inches
Inside width at hatch opening: 48 inches
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 18,033 miles
November 27, 2006
I have an abundance of sunglasses and a shortage of places to store them. Until this weekend I've been annoyed by our long-term Sedona's lack of places to store glasses. Seriously, this is problem. After all, the Sedona is a minivan. And minivans are supposed to be practical, right? Well, until now, every time I clicked open the roof-mounted glasses case this is what I found.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure this is a great feature for keeping an eye on the back-seat bambinos. But since I have more sunglasses than I do bambinos, it wasn't helping me much. Then, one astute passenger pointed out the glasses case built into the Sedona's roof above my head.
November 13, 2006
It is safe to say my two-year-old son was the major benefactor on my recent road trip to Las Vegas in our long-term Kia Sedona. Admittedly I haven't previously driven a minivan from any other manufacturer, however first impressions are everything -- and keeping the kid happy is paramount.
I concur with Brian Moody's assessment of the DVD player that it is annoying to have to restart it once the motor is off. Additionally, had my wife not been sitting in the (she claims slightly uncomfortable) backseat to restart the DVD, we would have been pulling over every 45 minutes to replay Leapfrog.
That being said, my son had no problem adapting to the wireless headphones. The additional downside to the DVD unit, which I assume is standard in most minivans, is that the flipped down screen blocks a good portion of your visibility out the rear-view mirror -- especially at night.
DVD issues aside, the Sedona drove nicely, was easy to get in and out of with all the button-controlled automatic doors, and rather spacious inside. The only other thing that stood out in my mind was getting acclimated to the seat controls being on the door rather than the side of (or under) the seat. We are so programmed to feel the side of the seat to find the settings that it never occurred to me to look at the door!
But the real shot of reality is whatever ever happened to the license plate game or punch-buggy? Soon our kids will expect nothing less than DirecTV in their car seats!
Elliott Gordon, Executive Director, Edmunds.com
October 25, 2006
And I don't mean that in the good, speedy way. On the open road, in the middle of the desert, we were travelling 70-80 mph most of the time. Whenever we encountered cross-winds, which was often, the whistling scream the Kia Sedona EX emitted was immensely irritating. It was worse the faster we went, but with the speed limit at 70 mph, we couldn't go much slower than that without facing the wrath of fellow drivers.
Michelle Magoffin Sr. Product Manager, Edmunds.com
October 25, 2006
Fortunately for Brian Moody's kids (see post below), I changed the batteries in both of the wireless headsets when I had the 2006 Kia Sedona EX this weekend. The batteries looked like the originals that came with the headset 13,000+ miles ago. That seems like a decent amount of battery life to me, not knowing how often those headsets were actually used.
As I discovered over the weekend, the DVD player does not just keep kids entertained in the back seat -- it works equally well on husbands, wives and sisters... I encountered only minor annoyances with the entertainment system. First, someone had left a Hootie and the Blowfish CD in it but I can't blame Kia for that one. Second, there was no convenient place to keep the wireless headsets when they weren't in use. When I picked up the van, the headsets were sitting in the rear cupholders. When the cupholders were in use over the weekend, we jammed the headsets into the pockets on the backs of the first row seats, but it was not ideal and could possibly damage the headsets if used as the primary storage solution.
Michelle Magoffin Sr. Product Manager, Edmunds.com
October 24, 2006
Guess what? Very small children don't like headphones. Luckily, our Kia Sedona EX has an Infinity sound system along with a rear seat DVD player that lets you listen through the speakers OR use headphones. Actually, I'm mistaken, our daughter loves the headphones - here she's trying to figure out which part will taste best.
October 09, 2006
Let's face it: The Kia Sedona isn't the most exciting vehicle on the planet. Yet weekend after weekend I find myself choosing its combination of practical space and inoffensive driving character over many other vehicles in our fleet. It's huge inside -- flop down a second-row seat and it's not a problem to load three people, three mountain bikes and tons of gear into its cavernous cargo space. Then enjoy its car-like driving to whatever remote destination you choose.
That's just what I did last Saturday and I can't think of a better vehicle for the job. Then on Sunday I pulled out both the second-row seats and loaded an entire patio set behind the front seats. It took two trips to get the table, umbrella and six chairs home, but the Sedona did the deed without hassle. It's almost laughable how much space there is in the back of a modern minivan.
But it's not all roses. Our Sedona is showing some signs of wear. The auto-close button on the rear hatch now responds only with an insulting beep when pushed while the door remains open. It can still be closed manually or with a push of the button on the key fob. There's also an infuriating squeak from the third-row seat area that I can't track down. It's most annoying over expansion joints on the freeway where it's loud enough to interrupt normal conversation in the front seats. Good thing this rig comes with an excellent warranty.
Senior Road Test Editor Josh Jacquot @ 11,150 miles
September 26, 2006
Unless you're 8 1/2 years old, your passion for minivans is probably more utilitarian than lusty. I'm 48 and single, which lands me pretty firmly in the groups that regards minvans as a practicality, a conveyance, with little emotional attachment to speak of. So I found it pretty shocking after a night's commute that I found myself beginning to bond with our long-term ruby-red box, the 2006 Kia Sedona EX.
Not that the Kia's driving dynamics are all that dynamic (let's face it: If you buy a minivan with the dream of autocrossing it on weekends, then you really need to consider upping your meds), but I did find things that surprised me.
First and finest, 244 horsepower is a strong invitation to pass slower pokes on your way to and from work, and the Sedona's 3.8-liter V6 doesn't hesitate to deliver the goods. And the 5-speed automatic is on the same page. In day-to-day application, the brake pedal feel is surprisingly firm, and the response is quite good.
Inside, all three rows of seating in the Sedona have something to offer: room. I also admire the way the third-row seats sink into the floor when not in use, bringing a very useable flat floor for cargo into play.
The Kia Sedona is an easy minivan to drive, that's one of the highest compliments you can pay to a veghicle that divides its fan base into two camps: utilitarians and pre-adolescents.
Richard Homan, Editor in Chief, Edmunds.com
September 14, 2006
I just noticed a mysterious little button on the right side of the center console in the Kia Sedona. At first I was afraid to push it. What if it was an ejector seat button? Tee hee...
But I chanced it and voila: it's a purse hook and I'm loving it. See how it holds my little bag perfectly.
If fact, the button says it will take up to 7 lbs so it could handle larger bags too. Very convenient for keeping your take-out Chinese food from spilling over. Or you could use it to keep a little plastic bag to hold trash on long journeys.
Nice touch, Kia.
August 22, 2006
I couldn't get my arm out of the sun this morning. The Sedona's side windows are cut so low that no matter where I put my arm -- on the wheel where it should be, or on the armrest in search of shade -- I couldn't escape the rays.
I feel very exposed in the Sedona. Looking at other vehicles around me, most of their windows are cut higher.
August 07, 2006
Here's a little surprise I didn't expect last weekend when removing the Sedona's second-row seats.
July 10, 2006
As a working mother of two small kids, it takes more than nice ride quality, horsepower, and fuel economy to sell me. First, of course, is safety. When the Kia Sedona's excellent crash test scores emerged, I started taking it a bit more seriously. Just about every safety feature you could want come standard. It now markets itself as "the safest minivan ever built."
Now that I've spend a couple of days driving the Sedona around, I am more impressed than I thought I'd be. While it may not go toe-to-toe with the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Siena, I found it surprisingly enjoyable. The big test came when I drove it on my usual Sunday drive over the Sepulveda Pass -- a long, steep freeway that weeds out the wimpy cars, forcing them into the slow lanes. The Sedona handled it just fine and didn't seem to grumble. I also found it handled well; it felt on the lighter, more agile side --- not heavy or bulky.
Perhaps just as important , though, were the thoughtful interior touches. Granted, the dash isn't particularly exciting or plush , but there are some great touches and everything is laid out well:
- Door-mounted power seat controls (laid out to resemble a seat, a la Mercedes), making seat adjustments a no-brainer.
- A conversation mirror, originally seen in the Ford Freestar, to glimpse the kiddies without turning your head. The sunglass holder, which would normally be positioned where the conversation mirror is, is moved to the left of the driver's head
- Two glove compartments
- Door pocket with cut-out for large water bottle
- A deep, in-dash space right above the power outlet (think cell phone).
- A well near the floor that can hold CDs but is big enough to hold trash. Finally! A place to put trash!
- A really deep rear well that holds groceries or other cargo securely in place, while allowing for fold-flat, split third-row seats.
- Power rear windows and quarter glass.
- Finally, built into the wall to the left of the passenger's legs is a hook -- a simple hook! -- for holding a purse. (See the lower right corner of the picture above.) Any woman can tell you what a hassle it when your purse flies off the passenger seat onto the floor, or how cumbersome it is if you have to seat it next to you on the tray table. Granted, you have to have a purse with pretty short, thin straps to make use of the hook, otherwise the hook is only good for carrying home take-out food. But you have to give them credit for putting it in at all.
Our EX luxury package added, among other things like leather and Infiniti stereo, a 2-position memory for driver's seat, outside mirrors, and power adjustible pedals; trizone climate control; power lift gate and back-up warning system. I appreciate memory features because there is often a second person who drives a family minivan, and no one likes resetting the controls all the time. (Note to Kia and other manufacturers: If you really want to make us think you care about the safety of our children, make the back-up warning system part of standard, not optional, safety equipment.)
The only truly annoying thing about the Sedona was the inability to scan the radio presets from the steering wheel. The wheel has plenty of other electronics on it: Volume, mute, cruise control. But I'm a channel surfer: Don't make me have to lift my hand to the radio in order to change the station.... It's archaic!
Joanne Helperin, Senior Features Editor @2933 miles.