2015 Kia Sedona: Road Trip Observations of the Not-Vanlike Minivan
by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on September 30, 2015
Having determined that driving the 2015 Kia Sedona wasn't a completely soul-sucking experience , choosing it to drive my wee family to Bend, Oregon, was a no-brainer. It would provide abundant space for all our stuff and the second-row seats seemed absolutely perfect. They could be slid far forward to bring Maggie and Nellie close to us, or slid far back to make room for a dog bed.
They could also recline and extend their footrests should my wife feel so inclined to leave my presence up front for a movie on the entertainment system in the back. Once there, it could provide transportation for us and the two couples we were meeting in Bend.
It really was the perfect companion.
It's incredible how much stuff is "required" for two people and two small dogs, though "required" isn't exactly accurate. My wife postulated that our packing was akin to a fish growing to match its body of water. Since we had the van, we were going to fill it.
We decided to break the 12-hour drive to Bend into two parts, since driving through rural Oregon after dark isn't ideal. We also weren't sure how the dogs would hold up during their first full day of driving. The longest Nellie had ever gone was in our Jeep Renegade to Julian.
We made our stop after an easy seven-hour drive to Red Bluff, Jefferson. I wouldn't say it's a required must-see should you decide to visit our forgotten 51st State, but the Holiday Inn Express there was at least very nice.
As always, we strapped Maggie and Nellie using their car harnesses. Understandably though, Nellie (the white one) got tired of being strapped in after a couple of hours and with nothing but straight freeway ahead, we unbuckled them. I also slid the right-side seat back and put their big dog bed on the floor, which Nellie immediately took to and never whined again. They went back to their harnesses the next day when we hit the winding roads around Mt. Shasta and the following week when we started our initial approach into the greater Los Angeles area.
The two-tone leather in our Sedona is quite nice. It's also a bit slippery should you happen to be covered in fur. For both reasons, they got the full towel treatment.
Answering that age-old, long-term-blog question: Will the Soup Fit?
We set off from Red Bluff early Sunday morning, making a stop in Weed, California. In lieu of the usual, totally expected and been-there-done-that photo op in Weed, I opted for one in front of the friendly and delightful Ellie's Espresso & Bakery.
These bugs were removed during this stop in the town of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Twice as many would be reapplied in about 10 minutes as we passed Klamath Lake, which seemed to be snowing bugs.
The girls venture from our cute house in Bend back into the Sedona. The doors can be opened using the key fob.
Six friends and the dogs piled into the Sedona for a 10-mile hike to Green Lake about 30 minutes outside Bend. It was the first time the V6 started to feel a bit strained when getting up to speed, but it didn't have any trouble maintaining that speed on the rolling terrain of the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.
As far as vans go, the Sedona really is quite attractive. The blacked out "floating" roofline doesn't seem contrived here.
They say in Bend that it's the law that visitors float down the Deschutes River at least once. So we bought a pair of rafts, partially filled them using an air pump and the trunk-mounted power outlet, stuffed them in behind the second row and...
... Hit the river! It was freezing.
Be it milling about town in Bend or making the 1,700-mile drive there and back, the 2015 Kia Sedona really was superb. My initial impression proved to be correct: it really is a different sort of minivan, providing the expected utility but with a very-welcome degree of non-vanlike character. It's hard to think of a vehicle that would've done a better job that I still would've enjoyed driving.
Stay tuned for additional posts concerning the trip's fuel economy and those multi-adjustable second-row captain's chairs.James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor