May 29, 2007
This weekend, our long-term Kia Sedona lived the active single life with me as I drove it to a hip downtown bar to meet up with an old friend visiting from out of town, to a trailhead in the Angeles National Forest for a 9-mile hike, down over to Playa del rey along with my bike so I could cruise down to the Fiesta Hermosa street festival, to Long Beach for the requisite Memorial Day barbecue and then to West Hollywood for a Wii party.
And, surprisingly enough, I didn't feel like its soccer mom persona cramped my style all that much. I liked how it has 242 horsepower so that I could surprise Harley-riding weekend warriors and cruising Porsche pilots and jump onto the freeway at a decent speed without getting in people's way. I liked how the doors opened themselves via the key fob, making loading and unloading bulky cargo stressfree.
May 10, 2007
There comes a time in every young car writer's life when he must drive a minivan. At some point, I will have to write about them, so it's good to get acclimated. But I'm about as far away from the typical Sedona buyer as you could get -- a mid-20s male with no kids, no pets, or even hobbies that involve large leisure equipment like Fender bass amps or kayaks. Needless to say, my weekly Tuesday-night cruise through UCLA's Westwood Village to meet attractive young women wasn't as successful as usual. When I tried to show off the Sedona's nifty remote sliding doors to a pair of co-eds, they announced they forgot to make a call and started running toward a public phone with a blue light on top. Seriously, who doesn't have a cell phone nowadays? *
May 03, 2007
Here's something you don't see everyday. In fact, I've driven this Sedona several times over the past week and just noticed it. It's the side airbag warning sticker, and it tells you all the things you're not supposed to do because of the side airbags. I find myself in a conundrum on this location, because on one hand I hate the obligatory (and unnecessary) airbag warning stickers that litter the average new-car cabin.
On the other hand, putting the sticker in the crevis between the driver's door and the dash hardly seems like an effective way to warn people.
February 16, 2007
Last night as my friend and I were getting into the very dark cabin of the Kia Sedona, I fumbled around trying to find the light switch to turn on the interior lights when the doors are open. I instinctively reached for the buttons over the center console near the lights since experience has taught me that that's where the door light buttons are usually located. Nope, not in the Kia. Instead I ended up opening the rear cargo door. Wanting to close it but not being able to see the buttons clearly in the dark, I pressed more buttons that looked like they showed a closing door to no avail. My friend, annoyed, finally jumped out of the car to close the gate but as soon as she started to slam it down, I found and pressed the right button and the cargo door halted abruptly in midswing. The familiar warning beep of the moving door sounded and the door slowly shut itself but not before startling my friend who accused it of trying to eat her purse.
January 25, 2007
I've said it before, I'll say it again. I have no beef with the Sedona. I've driven it home the last few days and I think it rocks. I am a purebred sports car/sport sedan owner/lover/driver, down to my soul, but for what it is, the Sedona is a fantastic minivan. That's part of our job as editors. Not to judge a car based on how it's not a Porsche, but to be in the mindset of someone who actually needs a minivan, or a pickup, or an SUV. What do they want, what do they need?
ANY car, in my view, needs to be easy to use, with the basic controls of starting/stopping, lights, temp, radio, etc. basic, well-designed and totally intuitive and within reach, without your having to consult a manual. Check. Shining stars, plus plenty of storage space and cupholders. And nothing's too complicated. You put a bag on the passenger seat, the passenger airbag's disabled. You stop the car but take your belt off before taking the key out of the ignition, it beeps a couple times, and then stops. Simple. No more than necessary.
But my main concern with all vehicles is visibility, and as I've written before, even some sedans, I feel, spectacularly fail in this regard. I drove the Hyundai Azera this weekend. Loved it, but when I parallel-parked with a low-nose Accord behind me, it was nearly impossible to see the front of the car out of the high rear window. I couldn't tell if I was 5 feet from the Accord or 1 foot. That said, the Sedona is fantastic. Lots of big windows, great visibility all around, easy to move, easy to park.
And I really dig these mirrors. Nice and huge, as they should be with a 16-foot minivan.
When you put it in reverse, they angle down. Like so. Tighter on both sides so you can see what's close to you, and make sure you don't run over the family dog.
January 17, 2007
Since we editors get to cycle through different cars every day, there's a brief period of disorientation in the first moments when we get in a new car and have to adjust to its family sedan spaciousness or sports car handling or big-truck proportions. Unfamiliar characteristics are to be expected but nothing made me actually laugh before until I switched on the windshield wipers for the Kia Sedona.
On my way in today, I encountered a bit of sprinkling and waited until the windshield was covered with raindrops before I flicked the wipers. Suddenly these long, skinny arms of wipers came up and cleared the drops away. I didn't realize how huge the windshield was until these wipers popped out. I don't know, it was just funny...they looked so long and awkward...OK, you had to be there.
They were amusing, that is, until I noticed a metallic-grating squeak with each wipe. Finally, it got so annoying that I had to turn it off, only flicking it on when the windshield was thoroughly drenched. I don't know what could account for that noise. Maybe it's just a matter of it being readjusted. Of course, by the time I parked the minivan in the garage, I completely forgot to check it out.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla at 18,039 miles
January 03, 2007
This morning as I was about to back out of my carport, the Kia Sedona sounded an alarm in the cabin. I checked to make sure I didn't leave the parking brake on. Nope. I then looked behind me to make sure my roommate had already cleared the parking space behind me. Check. But the steady high-pitched tone continued as if there was something still behind the Sedona. So I got out to take a look. Maybe someone unseen was sitting on the bumper or something. But sure enough when I checked there was nothing in its path...except possibly that little bit of shrubbery jutting out from the Italian cypress near the column.
I always thought rear sensors only detected what was immediately in front of them. Had no idea they could detect just anything in the vicinity of the rear bumper. Pretty handy considering the rear visibility of this thing isn't so great.
Production Editor Caroline Pardilla