The Kia Sedona may not be the first name you think of when shopping for a new or used minivan. The original Sedona had almost everything needed to be a success in the minivan segment, but it was pudgy, weighing some 400-700 pounds more than its rivals, which blunted acceleration at higher speeds and didn't do much for cornering ability. Still, overall performance was relatively refined, if not exciting.
With the second-generation Sedona benefiting from a diet and more power under the hood, Kia's minivan is no longer huffing and puffing to catch up to the more expensive class leaders. Plus, it delivers in the key areas of build quality, passenger comfort, crash test scores and storage space. However, this Sedona has been in production for many years without a major redesign. Late-model Sedonas have been eclipsed by more recently redesigned rivals.
Current Kia Sedona
After a one-year hiatus, the Kia Sedona has returned for 2014, essentially unchanged except for a few styling updates. Power is provided by the 3.5-liter V6 that's now rated at 269 horsepower and 246 lb-ft of torque and again paired up with a six-speed automatic.
Inside there is seven-passenger capacity with second-row captain's chairs and a 60/40-split third row that folds into the floor. Sized similarly to most other minivans, the Sedona offers plenty of legroom for all three rows, though the third-row seat suffers from a low cushion and limited headroom for taller folks. Maximum cargo space rates a generous 142 cubic feet, and plenty of cubbies are available for quick stowage of things like cell phones, purses and snacks.
The base LX comes with foglights, roof rack rails, rear parking sensors, air-conditioning with rear controls, a 60/40-split third-row seat, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack. An option package adds alloy wheels, dual power-sliding side doors, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Highlights of the EX include a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and heated front seats. EX options include a sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-adjustable pedals, driver's memory presets and a navigation system that includes an eight-speaker Infinity sound system.
All told, the latest Sedona still has some nice attributes, including a smooth ride, secure handling, attractive pricing, a roomy interior and, of course, Kia's healthy warranty coverage. However, the Sedona lacks some of its more modern rivals' refinement. Additionally, it's not available with some useful minivan features, such as keyless ignition/entry, a rear-seat entertainment system, blind-spot monitoring and a second-row bench seat. If overall value is more important than having the latest gizmos, then the Sedona should satisfy. If not, we suggest also checking out its competition.
Used Kia Sedona Models
The second-generation Kia Sedona minivan debuted in 2006 and ran through 2012, after which it took a one-year hiatus. Originally, this Sedona was powered by a 3.8-liter V6 with 244 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. Output went up to 250 hp from 2007-'09, but was dropped back to 244 for 2010. A five-speed automatic was standard. For '11 the Sedona received a more sophisticated 3.5-liter V6 (rated at 271 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque) matched to a six-speed automatic. Given its superior power and fuel economy, if you have a choice we recommend this powertrain over the earlier one.
From 2007-'10, the Sedona was also offered in a short-wheelbase model that gave up 5 inches to the regular Sedona and featured a 50/50-split removable third-row bench. It was offered in base trim only.
Inside, these Sedonas are somewhat plain but not unattractive. Most cabin materials are of decent quality, but there are a few cheap-feeling elements here and there. Gauges and controls are easy to use, apart from the less-than-intuitive manual climate control.
Available in LX and EX trim levels, even the most basic Sedona has a full complement of safety features, front and rear climate controls, keyless entry, full power features and, for '09 and later, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio jack. Bluetooth connectivity was added for '11. Springing for the EX means added luxury features such as alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power seats and a trip computer. Leather upholstery, a DVD entertainment system, a navigation system and a rearview camera were optional on the EX.
In reviews, we found these Sedonas offered solid performance, a quiet and comfortable ride and confident handling. Given its long warranty, well-rounded nature and attractive pricing, a used Sedona from this generation makes a good choice for a families looking for maximum minivan value.
The first-generation Kia Sedona ran from 2002-'05 and went with the "most features for the money" strategy. But in addition to providing a lot for families on a tight budget, the Sedona also boasted excellent build quality and impressive crash test scores. However, compared to its successors, this Sedona was 400 pounds heavier and its modest 3.5-liter 195-hp V6 didn't help matters. Two trim levels were offered: well-equipped LX and plusher EX.
The debit side of the ledger included a portly weight of 4,800 pounds (anywhere from 400-700 pounds heavier than its competitors), somewhat lazy handling and mediocre steering feel and response. This Sedona also lacks a fold-flat third-row seat and therefore doesn't offer as much cargo flexibility and capacity as some other vans with that feature.
We liked this Kia Sedona for its comfortable seating, roomy cabin, quiet ride and high crash test scores. Poor reliability could be a concern, however. Only minor detail changes, such as slight revisions to the grille and taillights, occurred during this Sedona's four-year run, so condition and mileage should be the chief considerations when shopping for one.