Full 2011 Kia Sedona Review
What's New for 2011
For 2011, the Kia Sedona receives a minor styling refresh to bring it more in line with Kia's latest design direction, as well as a smaller, yet more powerful and efficient 3.5-liter engine. The entry-level short-wheelbase trim has been discontinued and some minor features have been shuffled between the LX and EX trims.
Minivans provide an obvious advantage over SUVs when it comes to family hauling duties. Space, features and utility are hallmarks of this segment, but so, too, is a rather lofty price tag as options pile up. The 2011 Kia Sedona, on the other hand, handily fulfills the minivan role while also representing a relative bargain.
The price tag of a base model Sedona is in the same ballpark as that of base model versions of the front-running minivans, but the Kia delivers more in the way of standard features. A similarly equipped Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna will cost you thousands of dollars more. The Sedona is also backed by a very generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty to sweeten the deal.
Negatives include cheap interior materials here and there. The Sedona's shortcomings are made more apparent by the fact that the Honda and Toyota minivans have undergone full makeovers for the 2011 model year -- makeovers that have raised the bar. The 2011 Sedona, on the other hand, has seen only a minor styling refresh and a bump in power output.
Resale is another concern, as the Kia will not retain its value as well as the class-leading 2011 Honda Odyssey and 2011 Toyota Sienna. The 2011 Sedona also lacks some of the latest features and overall refinement of its competitors, but this deficiency shouldn't be a deal-breaker. As a safe, comfortable minivan that won't cost an arm and a leg, the 2011 Kia Sedona certainly deserves consideration.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The seven-passenger 2011 Kia Sedona minivan is offered in two trim levels: LX and EX. Standard features on the LX include 16-inch steel wheels, roof rails, keyless entry, full power accessories, rear parking sensors, front and rear air-conditioning, a fold-down table between the front seats and removable second-row captain's chairs. Also standard are 60/40-split fold-flat third-row bench seats, cloth upholstery, a tilt steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and a USB/auxiliary audio input jack.
Upgrading to the EX trim will add 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated sideview mirrors, a power tailgate, power rear quarter windows, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and wood grain interior trim. Also included on the EX and available on the LX as part of the optional Power package are 16-inch alloy wheels (LX), dual power-sliding doors, chrome exterior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera.
Additional options are available on EX models via bundled packages. The Luxury package adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, driver-seat memory and tri-zone automatic climate control. The Luxury package is required to further upgrade the Sedona with either (but not both) of the following bundles: the Premium Entertainment package (which includes a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system with an in-dash six-disc changer) and the Navigation package (which includes a navigation system and an eight-speaker Infinity stereo).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2011 Kia Sedona is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 271 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg in combined driving, which is about average for a minivan.
Standard safety features on the 2011 Kia Sedona include antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
The Sedona has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) resulted in perfect five-star ratings in both frontal and side impacts for the structurally similar 2010 model. It also received the top "Good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
On the inside, the 2011 Kia Sedona features a rather modest design. Its cabin is not at all unattractive, just plain. Most materials throughout the cabin are of adequate quality, but there are a few cheap-feeling elements and switches that detract from an otherwise positive impression. Gauges and controls are well placed and legibly labeled, with the exception of the less-than-intuitive manual climate control.
Headroom and legroom is adequate for all three rows, providing enough comfort for long-distance road trips. Small bins and pockets are plentiful, providing storage for all of your (and your passenger's) personal effects. Cargo capacity is aided by a 60/40-split third-row seat that folds into the floor, while second-row seats can be folded down at the seatbacks or removed entirely. This allows for a competitive 142 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.
The 2011 Kia Sedona provides more than enough power for average family-hauling duties. Like our class favorite — the Honda Odyssey, the Sedona provides surprisingly nimble handling dynamics. While most minivan drivers favor comfort over cornering prowess, it's nice to know that the Kia can aptly swerve around some of life's unexpected obstructions. Ride quality doesn't suffer for this added athleticism either, as the cabin remains calm and quiet on the highway as well as over rougher pavement.