We were surprised when Kia didn't make us pile into the redesigned 2006 Kia Sedona family-style for the drive to Sea World.
Granted, we were all past the age of squealing with delight over feeding fish to dolphins, but the Sedona has always seemed like the ideal vehicle to take to Sea World — and not just because it seats seven. Here's a minivan that comes decently equipped without breaking the $25,000 barrier. That takes the edge off dropping $200 just to get your family of four into the park.
For 2006 the Sedona has grown to the size of a Honda Odyssey. It now has all the must-have features for a modern-day minivan, including side airbags and a fold-flat third-row seat. It's also about $2,000 more than last year's model.
Although the Sedona is still more affordable than most competitors, Kia hopes 60,000 buyers will realize there's more to this minivan than a low price and a long warranty.
Two sizes Built on an all-new platform shared with the '07 Hyundai Entourage, the 2006 Sedona rides on a 119-inch wheelbase and measures 202 inches from nose to tail. It's 8 inches longer than last year's model and hits dealers this month.
Kia, however, believes there's still a market for a smaller, lower-cost minivan to compete with the Dodge Caravan and Mazda 5, so the company will offer a shorter, 114-inch-wheelbase version in September 2006.
More features We test-drove only the large Sedona, which is available in two well-equipped trim levels. Priced at $23,665, the base LX provides a 60/40 third-row bench, second-row captain's chairs, front-seat side airbags, head curtain airbags for all three rows, tri-zone air conditioning, an eight-speaker CD stereo, keyless entry, stability control and 16-inch wheels.
Upgrading to the EX will cost you $26,265. It offers an eight-way power driver seat, nicer cloth upholstery, an MP3-compatible stereo, automatic headlights, an auto-dimming mirror, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Additionally, the EX gives you access to optional power-sliding doors and a power liftgate ($1,000), as well as the Luxury Package ($2,400), which includes leather upholstery, auto climate control, seat heaters, adjustable pedals, driver-seat memory, a sunroof, steering wheel audio controls, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and rear parking sensors.
For safety reasons, we think the parking sensors and adjustable pedals should also be available to LX buyers.
Fewer pounds, more power Although a comfortable cruiser, the original Sedona wasn't very inspiring to drive. Acceleration was mediocre, handling was sloppy and fuel economy was a dismal 16 city/22 highway. Obesity was the chief culprit. At 4,800 pounds, the '05 Sedona was the heaviest minivan on the market.
Wisely, Kia put it on a diet for 2006. The switch to an all-aluminum V6, a lighter transmission and an independent, multilink rear suspension all contributed to a 400-pound weight loss.
The new 3.8-liter V6 also has the best power stats in the minivan segment. Gas up with premium and it delivers 244 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque. That's exactly as much horsepower as the Odyssey's V6 along with 13 more lb-ft of torque. Fill the tank with regular and Kia says you'll still get 242 hp and 251 lb-ft.
As before, a five-speed automatic routes power to the front wheels. Fuel economy is now a livable 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway.
On the road, the V6 provides a broad range of usable torque thanks to its continuously variable intake valve timing. Aggressive driving can confuse the transmission, but for the most part shifts are smooth and well-timed.
Improved ride and handling Along with the new suspension, the '06 Sedona has a 2-inch-wider front track and a 3-inch-wider rear track, which benefits handling. It also gets better tires. Instead of last year's skinny 15s, the LX has 225/70R16 Hankook rubber while the EX has 235/60R17 Michelins. The tires aren't run-flats as on some competitors, so to help you avoid a flat in the first place, Kia has installed a pressure-monitoring system with sensors for each tire.
Ride quality is comfortable and controlled, but handling still isn't athletic. Although the Sedona responds predictably and holds its own around corners, compared to the Odyssey there's more body roll and the steering isn't as precise.
You had to pay extra for ABS on last year's Sedona. It's standard on the 2006, along with four-wheel disc brakes, BrakeAssist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution.
Functional inside Inside, the Sedona is more functional than stylish. Still, most materials are above average in quality, and all the places where you're likely to rest an arm are softly padded.
Ergonomics are a mix. The tri-zone climate controls are tricky to use while driving, particularly the manual setup. Yet the corporate-issue audio head unit is simple to operate, and Sedonas with steering wheel controls have a handy mute button. The optional seat heaters have five settings adjustable via an Audi-inspired thumbwheel.
Any Sedona can be equipped with a rear entertainment system ($1,200), but for $500 more, EX buyers can combine it with a 605-watt Infinity audio system that allows DVD playback in 7.1 surround sound through 13 speakers. We only had regular CDs, but sound quality was still some of the best we've ever heard in a minivan.
We were also impressed by the level of calm in the Sedona's cabin. When we turned down the old-school Metallica, carrying on a conversation with rear passengers was no problem at 80-plus mph.
Carrying around a phone, sunglasses, purse and bottled water was also no problem because the Sedona has a dozen different slots and containers, our favorite being the double glovebox. We also like the folding center tray but wish it had a rubberized surface.
Total cupholder count is 14.
but still a little tight Shoulder room is up throughout the van, but the Sedona still doesn't feel quite as roomy as the Odyssey.
Legroom is ample in all three rows, and fore/aft-adjustable second-row chairs allow you to divvy up the room between second- and third-row passengers. Headroom is still snug, though, and we suspect that's why the third-row bench is mounted so low to the floor. It's still usable for children, but teenagers won't be happy back here.
The front seats are well shaped and supportive, but the leather-upholstered chairs offer slightly more cushioning than the cloth variety. Anti-whiplash head restraints are standard up front.
Dropping the third-row seats into the floor isn't the one-handed procedure it is in the Honda, but it's no more difficult than in the Toyota Sienna. The second-row seats are removable, but given the bulk of the chairs, it's not something you'll want to do every day. Cargo capacity tops out at 141.5 cubic feet, a healthy figure but still shy of what the Grand Caravan, Odyssey and Sienna offer.
After shuffling among three Sedonas in one day, we don't think it's necessary to spend a grand on the power-sliding doors: The manual doors are lightweight and easy to use. Likewise, the standard manual liftgate requires minimal muscle to close.
No longer feels like a compromise With its larger interior, additional features and improved driving dynamics, the 2006 Kia Sedona easily justifies the extra $2,000 Kia is asking. Load up on every option and you're still sitting pretty at $31,990. The only major feature you can't get from the factory is a navigation system.
A comparably equipped Odyssey or Grand Caravan would cost about $1,000 more. A comparably equipped Sienna would cost about $4,000 more.
That's at least four more trips to Sea World. Tell Shamu we said hello.
2006 Kia Sedona Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2006 Kia Sedona and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2006 Sedona featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2006 Kia Sedona and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2006 Sedona 4.1 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2006 Sedona.
Vehicle LX 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 5A)
Review I bought this minivan after having owned a 1994 Grand Caravan and then owned a 2001 Dodge Caravan. What attracted me to this van was value. At that time (10 years ago, in 2006) the Chrysler products offered only stow-and-go on the higher trim levels and captains chairs in the middle row, and rear air-conditioning and heat was not available in the base model. The Chrysler twins: Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town and Country, only offered the bigger engine (the 3.8 liter and later the 4.0 liter) on the upscale models with more options. The base engine (3.3 Liter at 185 HP pushing nearly 5,000 lbs) was sluggish and the base model had rear drum brakes and not disks. Also the car had a leaf spring rear suspension, not independent rear suspension. To move a 3.8 Liter engine, (at about 225 HP) and rear disk brakes, middle seat as a captain chairs and not a bench and a stow-and-go seating , instead of removing a very heavy rear back seat ) required going from $21k to $29k in the Dodge Caravan and to go to nearly $32k in the Chrysler Town and Country. A jump of $8k in price is very significant. So for me, I wanted to be in the low 20's in the purchase price, not mid 20's or low thirties . The Kia was available only in trim levels: EX and LX with all the same options, but basically the LX added power sliding doors, leather, and wood grain accents to HVAC area. So for around $21k for the Kia, you were getting rear-air and heat, and big engine, and better handling and power than the mid-to-higher priced Chrysler. You need to spend at least $10,000 more to get the same options from Chrysler. To me, it was a very good value. After owning the car for 10 years, here's what is good about it and bad about it. On the plus side, the big 3.8 Liter engine puts out nearly 250 HP and this van, really moves. It's not a sports car, but for a mini-van, it has very good power. It's handling is very, very car like and you feel like you are basically driving a big car. It handles better than the Chrysler. The Dodge Caravan (Dodge is Chrysler) is basically a big box on wheels. After 5 or 6 years, you start hearing crackling and noise, but the Kia is still quiet inside the cabin at 10 years of age. I did basic oil changes and I changed the transmission fluid at 60k miles and again at 120k miles. There was an electrical harness problem, but the dealer fixed it under warranty. While under warranty, the repairs are none out of pocket. The repairs however cost a lot more money once the car ages. For example to do a simple tune up, because the car has a D.O.H.C wide engine, you need to take off the intake plenum to get to the rear spark plugs. The E.G.R system is expensive and very complex, with a lot of sensors. One annoying thing I found is that the steel cable under the car that lowers the spare tire is very, very hard to pull the spare tire up once the car is jacked up and you have a flat. The factory supplied jackstand is a joke, and do yourself a favor and buy yourself a hydraulically assisted jack stand that can lift a truck, because that's what you really have in terms of weight. The new Kia's don't even come with a spare tire! What a joke not to provide a spare tire! The cable that lower the spare tire snapped on 3 occasions in my case ($300 each time) and is a non-warranty item. i started carrying my spare in my trunk. If the cable snaps and the spare tire falls into the car behind you while at high way speed, this will kill the passengers in the car behind you on a highway. So the cable snapping that supports the spare tire is no joke. It may have never happened to others, but over 10 years it did happen to me. The car never overheated. Has proven to be very reliable overall. The car with good care can easily go past 150,000 miles. The cost to maintain is high once you get past the warranty stage. It doesn't have the transmission problems I had in the Dodge Caravan's I've owned. Those had reliable engines, but not so reliable transmissions, which both the 1994 and the 2001 I had required a rebuild (first one at 75,000 miles) and the second one at 90,000 miles). The Kia so far never missed a shift. I also like it's non-CVT transmission so many, many repair shops know how to deal with it if you do have a problem. The Dodge products required a new water pump in one case, at 65,000 miles. Not the Kia. I still have the original water pump. The engine is chain driven, not belt driven, another way to make sure you don't have the cost of replacing a timing belt. So in sum, it's a great family car. It was a great value in its time relative what was available in 2006. I got a fully loaded minivan, for the price of the no-frills model in the Dodge Caravan. (I've owned two of them previously). The van had none of the problems of my previous Dodge Caravans: No transmission problem, water pump failure, or other super expensive repairs. The interior remains quiet and free of rattle and wind noise even 10 years later.Recommend.
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Available Kia Sedona 2006 Submodel Types: Minivan
Available Trims: LX, EX, L, SX, SX-Limited, SX Limited, Base