2006 Kia Sedona Long-Term Road Test

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Kia Sedona: Can't Cope with the Slope

June 11, 2007

I love, love, love dual power-sliding doors on minivans. With the push of a button on the headliner, door post, or key fob, they make a departure or an arrival an event to behold. They also provide a mini Apocalyse Now fantasy. You know the scene: Flying a Huey through the jungle with Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" blasting through the outboard speakers? Anyway, the 2006 Kia Sedona has those (not the speakers), but more: Power side doors, power-tilt/slide moonroof (natch), and power up-down lift gate, too. Cool eh? I discovered a problem, however.

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2006 Kia Sedona: 25,000-mile service

June 08, 2007

Soon after the odometer turned 25k, the Sedona's tire pressure monitor warned us of a flat right-rear tire. It was just our luck that the screw we picked up punctured the tire where the tread meets the sidewall. We needed to replace the tire altogether.

The Kia dealership closest to our Santa Monica office was 12.5 miles away. That being said, traveling 20 miles to Car Pros Kia in Carson didn't seem too much farther out of our way. We had positive experiences with them in the past, so we scheduled an appointment. We weren't disappointed.

Service on the Sedona consisted of an oil and filter change, tire rotation, fluid top-offs and the usual safety inspections. We were charged $143 for a new Michelin Energy LX4 tire with an additional $20 charge for mounting and balancing. Our total invoice came to $227.34 for the service and tire replacement.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Assistant - 25,152 miles

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Kia Sedona: Next up for the body shop

March 05, 2007

I ran out on Saturday evening to pick up a couple of things needed for dinner and my $10 trip to the local grocery resulted in a few hundred bucks of body damage.

As I walked out of the store, I saw a white Ford Escape driving the wrong way down the aisle where I'd parked the Kia Sedona. Just beyond the Sedona, the Escape cranked a hard right turn, attempting to pull into a parking space that was angled the opposite way. Part way into the spot, the driver decided he couldn't make the turn, backed out, and took off.

It wasn't until I got to the Sedona that I realized the Escape had hit it, scraping and denting the sliding door.

Whadda jerk.

Kelly Toepke, Manager of Vehicle Testing at 20,594 miles

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Squeaky Sedona

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

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Kia Sedona Update: Service is still an issue

December 01, 2006

After nearly five months, four dealership visits, one dealership out of business and a long line of cassette tapes our Kia Sedona's CD changer is finally fixed. Car Pros Kia in Carson got the job done and the staff was very helpful. Our van was not ready at the time promised but they did give us an 05 Sedona as a loaner without charging us.

Still, with several Kia dealers in the Los Angeles area closing we can't help but wonder how a Kia customer from the midwest or deep south would have done given the same set of circumstances.

Kias are clearly worth considering alongside Hondas and Toyotas but the dealership network doesn't seem capable of handling all the new customers - is Kia's success a surprise even to Kia?

For now the CD changer is loaded with Audio Adrenaline, Kasey Chambers, 10,000 Maniacs, Gorillaz and maybe a Christmas disc or two. Plus, I've got $5 that says our Managing Editor may slip a Rosemary Clooney disc in.

Brian Moody @ 15,459 miles

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Sedona Service

November 20, 2006

Our Long Term Kia Sedona just returned from service and the bill seemed a bit high. The 15,000 mile service included an oil and filter change, rear brake adjustment, fluid top-off, tire rotation, battery test, and replace the air cleaner. Total parts and labor including excessive California sales tax - $218.06. Granted, they did a lot of tangible work but over $200 sure does seem steep.

However, since three Los Angeles area Kia dealerships have recently closed, we're just happy to have found a place that's within a days drive.

Brian Moody @ 14,859 miles.

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And They Washed It...

November 17, 2006

The bad news is, the Sedona's CD player still isn't fixed, the good news is we think we've finally found a dealership we can trust. They're going to order the part but this time we think they mean it.

We took the van to Car Pros Kia in Carson, California and were very pleased with the experience. We were greeted with a "Good morning, how can I help you?" from our advisor Yuri and she then promptly told us of three minor recalls which could all be fixed that day...

Plus, check out their waiting room - comfy chairs, flat panel TV and plenty of natural light. NICE!

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It's Crickets at Our Local Kia Dealer

November 07, 2006

Kia service drive at 4:00 on a weekday.

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Kia Service - In a Steep Dive

November 06, 2006

It's been more than a week since we were told our Sedona's radio needed to be replaced. Still no call from Kia of Long Beach and when we call them we're stuck in a never ending cycle of "press 3 for service." We press 3. It rings and..., right back to the "press 3 for service" menu. At this point, we're not even sure anybody still works there.

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Good Van, Poor Service

October 26, 2006

Why are we still listening to cassette tapes? That's a good question. Unfortunately, the answer reads like a role playing chapter from a customer service handbook titled "What Not To Do."

Hey, don't get me wrong, I think the Married to the Mob soundtrack is excellent, same goes for the Midnight Oil tape I found in my garage but shouldn't the CD changer be fixed by now? Yes, it should - plus, I'm running out of "really good" tapes.

Here's how the trouble has played out. July - we take the van in for diagnosis. We're told we need a new stereo head unit and that one will be ordered. A week later Kia of Long Beach calls and says the part has arrived. Sadly, when we arrive we're told the wrong part was sent. "We'll call you when the right part gets here." Fine. One. two, three weeks go by and no phone call. When we call, we're told our service advisor no longer works there. "Can someone else help me?" we ask. "Sure" straight to voicemail. Call later and still straight to voicemail - this happens four more times the same day.

In frustration we ask to speak to an actual person - "Is the service manager available?" we ask. "Sure," straight to voice mail. We call back "can we talk to a real person?" "Sure, I'll have to put you on hold." 35 min later still no real person. When we do finally speak to a real person we're greeted with apolgies and concern. "I'll call you back once I check to see if the correct part ever arrived." No call. That was two weeks ago.

Last Monday we started from scratch and simply made a new service appointment. Four days out was the soonest they could see us even though the service bays were not full and our Sedona was the only car in the entire service drive at 8:30 AM on a Thursday. Today we picked up the Sedona and got the shocking news that, sure enough, our CD player is broken. "We'll order the part and call you when it arrives." Hmmmm.

To the dealership's credit, the people have always been very nice and it seems like the place is under new ownership as the parts dept is full of boxes that are half unpacked. We're willing to give our neighborhood Kia dealer one last chance. Cross your fingers for good news in the next few weeks.

Brian Moody @ 13,156 miles with fingers crossed.

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Sedona: The Electric Slide (-ing doors)

October 17, 2006

A couple of editors have complained that the electric hatch and sliding doors on our long-term Kia Sedona don't work unless they use the key fob buttons. A tug on the handle, inside or out, was not sufficient to get the sliders to, well, slide under power. Indeed last night when I walked out into the garage, I was greeted by the same annoyance. But there is an explanation.

A "PWR" switch is located located on the overhead console. It controls how the sliding doors and hatch work.

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Kia Sedona -- utilitarian as ever, but showing its age

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

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2006 Kia Sedona: Update on the CD Changer

August 29, 2006

You might remember that the Sedona's in-dash CD changer stopped playing CDs in mid-July. Inserting any type of CD results in this error message, and if you keep trying to load it, the player eventually spits the CD out. Unfortunately, Kia of Long Beach initially ordered the wrong stereo head unit (the non-Infinity variety) -- which is why Dan couldn't take the van on his Oregon road trip. Since then, the dealer has reordered the correct head unit and we hope to have it installed soon.

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Kia Sedona: Let Me Get This Straight

August 13, 2006

My family and I have been "interviewing" many of the cars in the Edmunds long-term fleet to see which one we'll use for our annual 2,000 mile there-and-back-again Oregon trek. We decided to give the Sedona a try, as this newbie hasn't yet been put through the real-world summer vacation test wringer.

But first, it needs a trip to the dealer for an oil change and a wheel alignment. The former is routine, while the latter is made necessary by the slightly off-center position of the steering wheel when driving straight ahead. Someone may have rubbed a curb or hit a particularly nasty pothole, as the wheel was centered when we first took delivery. After a quick alignment check and toe-in reset, it should be as good as new.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Automotive Testing

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2006 Kia Sedona -- 800-mile birthday tour

July 31, 2006

My daughter doesn't have a birthday, she has a birth-season. And although she doesn't officially turn six until August 15, the season is already underway.

This weekend we drove the long-term Kia Sedona 400 miles up north to Sacramento to eat cake with Grandma Karla on Saturday evening, and Grandma Adeline on Sunday. During the 800-mile round trip Emma watched the beginning of Disney's High School Musical six times, yet never saw the whole movie because every time we stopped and turned off the engine, the DVD returned to the main start-up menu. Most in-car systems are smart enough to pick up where they left off, but if the Sedona has resume capability, I couldn't make it happen.

Needless to say, the opening number lost its charm after the third or fourth consecutive viewing.

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90 Minutes of Music

July 18, 2006

After visiting our local Kia dealer for the Sedona's power sliding doors, we also discovered that the CD changer wasn't working properly - it just wouldn't play CDs. Our service advisor said the entire head unit needed to be replaced because they couldn't do those kinds of repairs on-site (most likely a software issue). The part is on order.

In the mean time, I get to listen to a lot of tapes. Nice!

hats off to Kia for including a tape player in the upgraded stereo. Problem is, I haven't owned a cassette player since 1997. As a result every tape I find (Oh I kept 'em alright) is like a K-tel "best of the 90s" compilation. There's something odd about playing the soundtrack of my carefree single days while piloting a minivan. And what ever happened to those great 90s era bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Gin Blossoms or Semisonic? Ahhh, the 90s.... I can't wait 'till I bust out the 80s stuff.

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No One Likes an "I told ya so"

July 17, 2006

But we told you so. Erin's earlier comments about the Sedona's power sliding side doors prompted us to visit a local Kia dealer - Kia of Long Beach. And sure enough the doors were not working properly - her logical asumption that the doors should power all the way open after just pulling the handle was right on.

Our dealer said it was a fuse. The problem is fixed and now the Kia Sedona works the way we all think it should. One reader called our observations "pathetic" but now that the doors are fixed I guess it's not so pathetic after all - Thanks Erin.

Brian Moody, Road Test Editor - 3135 miles.

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Trading One Convenience for Another in the Sedona

July 13, 2006

Last night I approached our long-term Kia Sedona EX with about 10 plastic bags of fruits and vegetables from a trip to the farmers' market. I yanked on the passenger-side sliding door handle, expecting it to power open just as our long-term Odyssey's would have. It did not.

I could only slide it open manually. I tried the driver-side sliding door. Same thing.

With the Sedona, as with the current-generation Chrysler minivans, the power-sliding feature can only be activated with the keyless remote or the buttons inside the van. Why is this a bad design? Because it puts all the burden on the person holding the remote. The other parent, presumably holding a baby, has to wait until the door opens or else muscle it open manually (defeating the point of having power doors). And kids can't get in or out of the back as easily.

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