2006 Kia Sedona Long-Term Road Test


Surprising Touches in the Kia Sedona

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.

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