We purchased a Sedona SXL 7 months ago and have put 12000 miles on it since then. Coming from a 2008 Honda Odyssey there are some distinct differences. Most noticeable is how much quieter the interior is in the Sedona. You can have conversation with people in the back seats at highway speeds in the Sedona without shouting, unlike the Odyssey. The body structure of the Sedona feels very solid -- no rattles, or flex over bumps, like we would notice in the Odyssey. The layout of the instruments and controls in the Sedona are very user friendly and intuitive, more so than the Odyssey. With the console mounted shifter the driving position in the Sedona is less "minivany" than Odyssey. Both vehicles have a comfortable ride, with the Sedona having firmer seats and slightly firmer suspension, which gives it a more stable ride, with less wallow than the Honda. Both are great road trip cars, but the Sedona definitely feels like a more of a luxury car than the Odyssey. Tracks better on the highway too. Real world MPG is about the same, around 24 highway and 18 around town. In terms of driving, the Sedona is more satisfying on the road. We were first considering a Sedona SX model, but after looking at the SXL my wife really liked the extra features -- lounge seats, nappa leather, flashy chrome wheels, and especially the technology package with surround camera. The camera is an amazingly amazingly practical feature. We've owned Mercedes, BMW and Infiniti, Honda, Land Rover, Ford, Lincoln and Chevy vehicles over the years. This is our first time buying a Kia and we are still surprised how much we like it. While it likely won't hold it's value like the Honda, for us it was a better overall value than the other vans. Odyssey advantages: The engine and transmission in the Odyssey felt slightly smoother and more refined under quick acceleration, and the Odyssey has more third row room (since we only use the third row occasionally this was not a big deal). We looked at the new Odyssey and Toyota Sienna as well before we purchased. We also had a Town and Country rental for a week and were surprised that we actually liked it. Side by side it's not quite as good as the Asian minivans but considering that you can buy one for $9K less than the other vans I understand why so many people buy them. All these minivans are great family vehicles but the combination of unmatched features, styling, drive quality and price swayed our decision to buy the Sedona. Of the four we ranked them Sedona, Odyssey, Sienna and Town and Country.
My wife hated wagons and minivans and swore to never drive one. Then we had our first kid and I convinced her to go with a wagon for the extra cargo room and grew to really appreciate it. So when we had our second child a few years later, the wife readily agreed to a minivan upgrade after having had seen the light. It just made sense since having to deal with multiple child seats, strollers, kid gear, and hauling parents/in-laws with a single vehicle. But since I'm the primary driver on the weekends, any old minivan wouldn't do. What I really like about the Kia Sedona SX-L is the SUV-like styling (exterior, cockpit, center console), luxury accommodations (cooled seats, soft-touch surfaces, Napa leather -- something not even offered on a 3-series BMW, but available as an expensive upgrade on the 550i), safety/convenience/technology features (360 camera view with rearward turning radius, blind spot monitoring, collision warning and rear cross-traffic alerts, proximity keyless entry/start, smart lift gate), performance (strong engine with passing power, relatively nimble handling), and value (cheaper than competition with long warranty). There's plenty of room in the third row seats for adults to boot. We've owned it for 13-months now without any problems or reliability issues. Things we don't like: drive-by-wire throttle input delays; tiny interior conversation mirror; occasionally laggy infotainment system; difficult to move second row captains chairs; cheap-feeling plastic chair controls; Lack of steering wheel transmission paddle controls; poor visibility of blind spot indicators in bright sunlight; lack of sunglasses holders; LED "positioning lights" only come on with the headlights; and the rear suspension bounces over bumps even when fully loaded with passengers.
Would be the perfect minivan if they could redesign the dead pedal for the driver. There is NO WAY I could purchase this vehicle due to the lack of space available for my left leg. EVERYTHING else was PERFECT but that mammoth dead pedal would not allow me to stretch out my left leg. (You could half the size of the pedal and the problem is solved by the way!)
On Purchase: Purchased used with 17k mileage, very happy with it, but will replace OEM (kumbo) tires as they are real noisy. No DRLs, mileage is 18-19 mpg in city, but great acceleration and brakes. Watch out when folding up/down 2nd row seats , seatbelt buckle can hinder seat movement to lock in seating position, found out the hard way and mashed the buckle mechanism not knowing it was the problem. Overall very pleased so far, last van was 2004 Odyssey. 3-month follow-up: Follow-up after 3 months - still very impressed with Sedona especially after replacing tires with Bridgestone equivalents (from Costco), now quiet ride. Transported two twin beds (mattress, box, headboards and rails) all in one trip after moving middle row seats all the way up. Noticed brakes were not as solid as I braked one time hard with seven passengers onboard and the van didn't quite stop as quick as I wanted as the brakes faded, no harm, but need to have dealer check it out. All in all, still impressed and pleased with my purchase, will see what my first check-up experience will be with the dealership is like at 30K service. 18-month followup: Still enjoying the Kia - no problems to report. I checked the brakes at the 30K service, dealership said no problems on brakes, but I know that they fade when I brake hard with full van of my 5-6 kids due to weight? I may replace brake pads soon and hope this remedies this problem. I really like using the Android Auto with the Kia big screen - works nicely with touchscreen. I would recommend Kia (this is my first one) and hope the reliability continues.