Used 2006 Kia Sedona
Edmunds' Expert Review
Packed with safety and comfort features and priced less than some competing minivans, the 2006 Kia Sedona is an excellent choice for families on a budget.
Anyone with kids knows that, like 'em or not, minivans rule when it comes to versatility and convenience. The minivan's status as the ultimate family hauler has made this segment one of the most hotly contested markets in the industry. Top-rated vans from Honda and Toyota offer spacious cabins with a deft combination of comfort, convenience and safety that family buyers can't help but like. Trouble is, these minivans command relatively high prices that put them out of reach of families on a tight budget.
Like the company's Sorento sport-utility vehicle, the Kia Sedona packs an amazing punch for its price. For 2006 the Sedona has grown to the size of the Odyssey and Sienna. It's built on an all-new platform and measures 202 inches from nose to tail. It now has all the must-have features for a modern-day minivan, including side airbags, stability control and a fold-flat third-row seat. It's also about $2,000 more than last year's model, but you can still get one decently equipped for under $25,000. Kia, however, believes there's still a market for a smaller, lower-cost minivan to compete with the Dodge Caravan and Mazda 5, so a shorter-wheelbase version will arrive later on in 2006.
As in past years, there are just two trim levels on the Sedona -- LX and EX -- and either one will get you into a seven-passenger minivan carefully assembled with quality materials and overflowing with storage areas and cupholders. Regardless of which trim you choose, Kia has the basics covered: The base LX includes a 60/40 third-row bench that drops into the floor, 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, 16-inch wheels and 14 cupholders. New optional features include power-sliding doors, a power liftgate, automatic climate control and a 605-watt Infinity sound system.
We'd faulted the previous-generation Sedona for its less-than-impressive power and poor gas mileage. This year, Kia addresses these shortcomings by reducing the van's curb weight by 400 pounds and installing a new 244-hp 3.8-liter V6 under the hood. As a result, the 2006 Sedona's fuel economy rating is 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, which is a bit better than the 2005 model's 16/22 mpg city/highway. Ride and handling is also improved, thanks to a new independent rear suspension. With its larger interior, additional features and improved driving dynamics, the 2006 Kia Sedona no longer feels the low-cost compromise in the minivan segment. It's still not as nimble and refined as the Odyssey or the Sienna, but in most other respects, it's just as capable.
Trim levels & features
The Kia Sedona seven-passenger minivan is offered in two well-equipped trim levels, LX and EX. The LX comes with second-row captain's chairs, fold-flat third-row seating, keyless entry, full power accessories, tri-zone air conditioning, cruise control, an eight-speaker CD stereo and 16-inch wheels. The EX adds 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, as well as the Luxury Package, 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. Any Sedona can be equipped with a rear entertainment system, but only EX buyers can combine it with a 605-watt, 13-speaker Infinity audio system that allows DVD playback in 7.1 surround sound.
Performance & mpg
The Sedona comes equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 that generates 244 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway.
Standard safety features on all Sedonas include antilock brakes with BrakeAssist and electronic brakeforce distribution; stability and traction control; full-length side curtain airbags for all three rows; front-seat side airbags; a tire-pressure monitoring system (with sensors for each individual tire) and active front-seat headrests. Rear parking sensors and adjustable pedals are optional on the EX as part of the Luxury Package. For its performance in NHTSA crash tests, the Kia Sedona earned a perfect five-star rating for its protection of occupants in front and side collisions. The IIHS gave the minivan a top score of "Good" in frontal and side-impact testing and named it a "Top Safety Pick Gold."
Out on the road, the new V6 offers plenty of power for city and highway driving. Occasionally, the transmission is a little slow to respond, but for the most part shifts are smooth and well-timed. The ride is comfortable and quiet, but handling is not particularly athletic. Although Kia's minivan handles predictably around corners it develops more body roll and is less precise in its steering than some other top minivans.
In addition to abundant storage and cupholders, the 2006 Kia Sedona offers comfortable, flexible seating. There's plenty of legroom in all three rows, and fore/aft-adjustable second-row chairs allow you to divvy up the room. Headroom is snug, though, and we suspect that's why Kia mounted the third-row bench low to the floor. It's still usable for children, but teenagers won't be happy back there. Dropping the third-row seats into the floor isn't hard to do, and should you require additional cargo space, the second-row seats are removable. Cargo capacity tops out at 141.5 cubic feet, still shy of what the Grand Caravan, Odyssey and Sienna offer.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
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.
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.
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.
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.
Used 2006 Kia Sedona Overview
The Used 2006 Kia Sedona is offered in the following submodels: Sedona Minivan. Available styles include LX 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 5A), and EX 4dr Minivan (3.8L 6cyl 5A).
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Kia Sedona?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.