Full 2009 Kia Sedona Review
What's New for 2009
For 2009 the Kia Sedona receives standard satellite radio and a USB/MP3 input jack, plus an optional navigation system for the EX trim.
Following the history of the Kia Sedona minivan is like charting the career of a struggling minor-league ballplayer who, with time and effort, suddenly blossoms into a solid utility player in the big leagues. An also-ran that lacked power and competitive features when it debuted in 2002, the Sedona has since migrated to a redesigned second-generation platform that it shares with its Hyundai Entourage twin. The result is a solid and well-equipped vehicle that has the performance and features to compete against segment rivals while maintaining Kia's traditional price advantage.
The 2009 Kia Sedona addresses one of our few past gripes by bringing its technology roster up to date: Satellite radio (with three months of complimentary service) and auxiliary MP3/USB audio connections are now standard across all trim levels (base, LX and EX), and an optional navigation system has been added for the EX trim line. There are still two sizes to choose from -- the standard long-wheelbase (LWB) Sedona is the mainstream choice, while a short-wheelbase (SWB) version is available for those who prefer less bulk. People who value seating flexibility should note that the smaller SWB Sedona sports an old-school removable 50/50 split-bench seat in the third row instead of the more convenient foldaway 60/40-split-bench arrangement of the LWB model, which means more work and planning if you need to utilize the SWB Sedona's maximum cargo capacity.
Those who want top-notch overall performance and don't mind paying for it will no doubt be happier with the perennially segment-leading Honda Odyssey. The Toyota Sienna's superior refinement makes it another of our favorites. However, if you're after solid minivan capability on a budget, the 2009 Kia Sedona fills the bill, balancing legitimate big-league talent with an affordable price tag. For those who simply need a competent, safe and well-rounded performer with impressive cost-of-ownership advantages, the Sedona is bound to please.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Kia Sedona minivan is available in either long-wheelbase or short-wheelbase form. LWB models substitute a 60/40-split fold-flat third-row seat in place of the SWB model's 50/50-split removable bench. The SWB Sedona is offered in base trim only, while the LWB Sedona offers a choice between LX and top-level EX trims. The well-equipped base and LX Sedonas include 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, dual manual-sliding rear doors, second-row captain's chairs, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories and an eight-speaker MP3/CD stereo with satellite radio and a USB/MP3 input jack. The line-topping Sedona EX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a roof rack, foglights, heated power mirrors, dual power-sliding side doors and liftgate, a trip computer, power front seats, power rear-quarter windows and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Optional on EX models only are a navigation system, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals and a DVD entertainment system with a flip-down 8-inch monitor and upgraded Infinity audio. Additionally, all LWB Sedonas can be equipped with rear parking sensors, and the LX model is eligible for the DVD entertainment system without the Infinity sound system. An iPod cable is optional across the lineup.
Powertrains and Performance
All Kia Sedonas are powered by a Hyundai-built 3.8-liter DOHC V6 engine that produces a healthy 250 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque, driving the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Acceleration from zero to 60 mph takes 9.0 seconds. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. EPA-estimated fuel economy checks in at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined. Notably, Kia provides a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty in addition to its basic five-year/60,000-mile vehicle coverage.
Antilock disc brakes with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front seat side-impact airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and active front headrests are standard on all models. In NHTSA government crash testing, the 2009 Kia Sedona received a perfect five-star rating for occupant protection in both frontal and side-impact crash tests. It also excelled in independent IIHS testing, earning the highest "Good" rating in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Kia Sedona's seven-passenger cabin design focuses on functionality rather than high style. Although most materials reflect a satisfactory level of quality, a few trim pieces and some switchgear don't quite measure up to the standard set by top competitors. There are ergonomic inconsistencies as well -- for example, the manual climate controls can be a challenge to operate while driving. On the bright side, the audio controls are pleasantly intuitive.
The Sedona offers plenty of storage for small items, and seating is comfortable and generous in all three rows of the long-wheelbase model. The larger Sedona also comes equipped with a more convenient 60/40-split third-row seat that folds flat into the floor when not in use. The second-row seats in all models can be flipped forward or removed. When doing so to handle large loads, the LWB Sedona can swallow 142 cubic feet of cargo. The smaller SWB van isn't far behind, with a maximum capacity of 121 cubic feet.
The 2009 Kia Sedona's V6 is powerful enough to handle full loads or light-duty trailering without breaking a sweat. Equally impressive is the Sedona's quiet and refined ride, which enables passengers to carry on a normal conversation at highway speeds. No one buys minivans to go racing, but for what it's worth, the Sedona handles better than just about any minivan other than the more athletic Odyssey.