Edmunds.com spent 12 months on the road with our 2006 Kia Sedona EX and spun its odometer over 25,000 miles. Our long-term review of the minivan can be boiled down to one word: value.
Why We Bought It
When the Kia Sedona first went on sale it was inexpensive, but as the new kid on the block it was at a distinct disadvantage. The competition was well-seasoned and the upstart Sedona struggled to prove that inexpensive isn't synonymous with cheap.
For 2006 the Sedona was all-new, and Kia's best effort yet. Weight decreased and proportions increased, improving both fuel economy and athleticism. The lackluster acceleration of previous generations had been addressed with a new 3.8-liter V6. Its 244 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque rank the engine at the top of its class.
These additions broadened the appeal of the Sedona and caught our eye. The Kia was not merely the affordable minivan with a 100,000-mile warranty. It now offered improved quality and performance, and also cost significantly less than the class-leading offerings from Honda and Toyota.
The 2006 Sedona is built to a price point, but it's clear that Kia is working to give customers good value for their money. Our premise with this test was to take the low-cost leader, subject it to the rigors of minivan life and see how it holds up.
Our Sedona EX was up against stiff competition from the start. Inside Line's long-term test of the 2005 Honda Odyssey was still fresh in our minds, so expectations were high for the Kia.
Family vacations were test No. 1. Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds commented during a summer excursion, "Everything is here, and then some. My kids really like the rear DVD system and it works well. It is not obvious at first that the 'AUX' button pumps the DVD sound out through the speakers. It works well when you have more moviegoers than the number of supplied (2) headphones."
Another test cast the Sedona in the role of moving van. On one occasion News Editor and Brownie Troop 421 cookie-mom Kelly Toepke volunteered the Sedona for duty. It swallowed up 1,176 boxes of Girl Scout cookies without complaint. On the long-term blog pages she wrote, "We folded the Sedona's rear bench flat and attempted to remove the second-row chairs before heading to the warehouse. One seat came out easily, but the other wouldn't release. After nearly 10 minutes of trying we decided to leave the seat in the minivan. To my amazement, all 98 cases of cookies were loaded into the Sedona in less than six minutes."
Senior Road Test Editor Josh Jacquot also ran into trouble removing the second-row seats. He wrote, "I had to use a hand truck to move the seats between the Sedona and my garage because of their weight. Each was massive enough to make me retrieve the bathroom scale to get to the bottom of the issue. Sixty-one point eight pounds each — not exactly feathery. Otherwise the Sedona performed brilliantly, swallowing my new love seat without issue."
When they weren't hauling people, the rear seats of our minivan were stowed. Three rows of seats just weren't conducive to shuttling pallets of cookies and living room furniture. When we replaced the second row and raised the third-row seats from the floor, the squeaks began. Without passengers to weigh them down, the seats caused quite a ruckus by the conclusion of our test.
Issues with the Sedona were not limited to squeaking seat brackets. A blown fuse was the cause of a power-sliding door failure near the 3,000-mile mark but was quickly remedied under warranty. Kia's extensive warranty also covered a glitch in the radio head unit of our optional Infinity sound system, once we found a reliable dealership.
Dealer service proved to be our Sedona's most problematic issue. The radio repair brought this to light. Worthington Kia in Long Beach, California, had serviced our long-term Spectra5 to our satisfaction, so we returned to them for the Sedona stereo issue. We were surprised to learn they were under new management and now called Kia of Long Beach. They were very nice people, so we were willing to give them a second chance after ordering the wrong radio the first time. Numerous unreturned phone calls into their second chance, we drove to the dealership in person, only to find that they, too, had gone out of business.
To our rescue came the folks at Car Pros Kia in Carson. We had finally found a dealership to fix our radio. All remaining scheduled service on the Sedona also took place at this location. We were fortunate to have the friendly and helpful Yuri Sanchez as our service advisor. She secured our vote of confidence after locating a replacement Michelin Energy LX4 on short notice. A nail in its sidewall caused the premature purchase.
Our Sedona did not break down on us once. In fact, the only time it spent out of service was during some cosmetic surgery. A hit-and-run motorist struck our minivan in the parking lot of a local grocery store and caused $570 worth of damage.
Total Body Repair Costs: $570
Total Routine Maintenance Costs (over 12 months): $247.42
Additional Maintenance Costs: $215.96
Warranty Repairs: Replace power-sliding door switch and liftgate pinch strip
Non-Warranty Repairs: Replace a damaged tire
Scheduled Dealer Visits: 2
Unscheduled Dealer Visits: None
Days Out of Service: 6
Breakdowns Stranding Driver: None
Performance and Fuel Economy
There may not be a category for hot-rod minivans, but the Sedona is as quick as they come. Its 8.8-second 0-60-mph time confidently bested all entries in our 2006 minivan comparison test. The engine offers great power for a minivan, though it's not utilized to its full potential over steep hill climbs because the transmission tends to search excessively for the appropriate gear. A switch to manual-shift mode alleviates this otherwise annoying issue.
Over its lifetime, the fuel economy of our Sedona EX was erratic. Its powerful engine would burn fuel rapidly unless the driver made a conscious effort to lighten his right foot. Our best tank was over 29 mpg, although the average over 25,000 miles was just shy of 18 mpg.
Best Fuel Economy: 29.3 mpg
Worst Fuel Economy: 12.3 mpg
Average Fuel Economy: 17.8 mpg
As minivans go, we were very pleased with the capability and functionality of our long-term Sedona. A well-equipped EX is available for under $30K and our option-laden version wore an MSRP of $31,365. It's the low-cost leader in this segment when it comes to purchase price. Unfortunately resale price is another story.
CarSpace member "Siennami" posted a concern regarding depreciation in the Sedona owners' forums. Siennami wrote, "I did a valuation on my 2006 LX. I've had it for 7 months and it has 7,700 miles. Imagine my surprise when I found the value to be only $14,000. What have I done?"
When our EX's tour of duty came to a close we entered its vitals into the Edmunds.com True Market Value® calculator to find it valued at $18,850. By the end of our review the Sedona had depreciated a staggering 40.8 percent over 12 months.
True Market Value at service end: $18,580
Depreciation: $12,785 or 40.8% of original MSRP
Final Odometer Reading: 25,043
We experienced only minor issues with our Sedona outside of its regular maintenance schedule, and each of them fell under Kia's incredible warranty. Mechanical reliability was never questioned over its 25,000-mile lifetime in our fleet. Its low purchase price and good quality make it a great value up front.
When it comes to resale value, Kia does not yet have the same reputation as its Japanese counterparts. The Sedona is a quality product, but its incredible depreciation rate is a testament to its lack of popularity among used car buyers.
If we wanted a minivan to buy and drive until it would drive no more, the Sedona is the best value of any on the market. But if we wanted a minivan to buy, drive for a few years and then resell, the Sedona is a losing proposition.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.