2018 Kia Sedona

2018 Kia Sedona Review

A well-equipped cabin and low price help give the Sedona a competitive edge in the minivan segment.
7.4 / 10
Edmunds overall rating
author
by Cameron Rogers
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Considering that most minivan manufacturers have spent decades perfecting their spacious people movers (the Dodge Grand Caravan traces its roots back to the mid-1980s, for instance), the Kia Sedona is practically the new kid on the block. But since its debut in 2002, the Sedona has grown from being an inexpensive also-ran to a high-tech cruiser capable of taking the fight to the establishment. It's still one of the most affordable vehicles in the class, but its roomy interior, high-quality cabin materials and flexible seating arrangements deliver plenty of appeal beyond just value.

The 2018 Kia Sedona does all the standard minivan stuff well. It can transport seven or eight passengers effortlessly thanks to its strong V6 engine, and the deep cargo well accepts plenty of luggage, so it's perfect for a family road trip. There are a few surprises here, too. On the SX Limited model, the second-row captain's chairs offer deployable thigh rests and airline-style headrests with folding wings. The seats are so comfortable you'll be counting down the days until the oldest can get a learner's permit.

There are a few disappointments, chief of which is the V6's uncompetitive fuel economy scores. The Sedona SX Limited earns a full 6 mpg less than the new Honda Odyssey in the EPA's highway test, for example. In addition, the second-row seats aren't removable, so you can't turn the Sedona into a cargo van on the fly as you can with the Chrysler Pacifica. On the whole, though, the Sedona is a solid entry in this segment, whether you consider it the budget-friendly alternative to mainstream minivans or an executive seven-seater with a first-class middle row.



What's new for 2018

The Kia Sedona is unchanged for 2018.

We recommend

For most Sedona shoppers, we think the midrange EX is the one to get. It comes with a ton of features at an agreeable price. They include a power liftgate, tri-zone climate control, leather upholstery and upgraded shock absorbers for a more comfortable ride. If safety is a top priority, look for an EX with the Advanced Premium Technology package. It adds the latest in driver safety aids such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Kia Sedona is a seven- or eight-passenger minivan sold in five trim levels. The base L model is very reasonably priced, with a light features list that includes a rearview camera and a USB input for the audio system. The LX doesn't cost much more, and its power-sliding doors and other features are worth the modest price bump. The EX is quite a bit more, but we find its power tailgate, 7-inch touchscreen and leather upholstery to be irresistible. The SX doubles down on the luxury, safety and tech features, and even more are added when you select the range-topping SX Limited.

Like every Sedona, the base L model is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine (276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque) that sends power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard feature highlights include 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, Slide-N-Stow forward-collapsing second-row captain's chairs (reducing seating capacity to seven), stain-resistant cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split reclining and folding third-row bench seat, dual-zone climate control (with front and rear controls), Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port.

The LX trim adds power-folding mirrors, power-sliding doors, rear privacy glass, a second-row bench seat (increasing passenger capacity to eight), an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar) and a six-speaker audio system.

The EX hits what we think is the sweet spot of the Sedona lineup. This trim adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, LED daytime running lights, a windshield wiper de-icer, heated mirrors, roof rails, a height-adjustable power tailgate, front and rear parking sensors, upgraded shock absorbers, keyless ignition and entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, tri-zone automatic climate control, a driver information display, leather upholstery, heated front seats, sunshades for the second and third rows, a cooled glovebox, a portable flashlight, a 7-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, Uvo3 eServices emergency telematics and additional USB charge ports.

The SX trim reverts back to the seven-passenger configuration with second-row captain's chairs (the bench is available as an option) and adds LED taillights, driver-seat memory functions, four-way lumbar adjustment for the driver, an eight-way power front passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and an eight-speaker Infinity premium audio system. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is also included.

The range-topping eight-passenger SX Limited trim adds 19-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with automatic high-beam control, upgraded foglights, a sound-reducing windshield, chrome door handles, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and a household-style power outlet. Even more advanced safety features come with the SX Limited, including forward collision warning and mitigation (with automatic emergency braking), a lane departure warning system and a surround-view camera system.

Many features on the higher trims are available as options on the lower trims. A dual-panel sunroof; first-class, lounge-style seating for the second row (without Slide-N-Stow); and premium leather upholstery are available solely on the SX Limited trim via the Prestige package. A rear-seat entertainment system is offered on all models.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Kia Sedona SX Limited Minivan (3.3L V6 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Sedona has received some revisions, including a few more standard and optional features, and the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto last year. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Sedona.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall7.4 / 10

Driving

7.0 / 10

Acceleration8.5 / 10
Braking8.5 / 10
Steering6.0 / 10
Handling6.5 / 10
Drivability6.5 / 10

Comfort

7.5 / 10

Seat comfort7.5 / 10
Ride comfort7.0 / 10
Noise & vibration8.5 / 10

Interior

7.5 / 10

Ease of use8.0 / 10
Getting in/getting out6.5 / 10
Roominess7.0 / 10
Visibility7.5 / 10
Quality8.5 / 10

Driving7.0

The Sedona has a relaxed, easy-to-drive character, but it'll move out with authority when you need it to and demonstrates good handling manners. It's a minivan we could happily live with every day.

Acceleration8.5

Floor the gas and the Sedona's accelerates to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds. It's a competitive time, though the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica are quicker still.

Braking8.5

The Sedona has a moderately firm brake pedal that is responsive and intuitive-feeling for a minivan. Brake performance is as good as or better than in rivals.

Steering6.0

There's very little steering feel or effort for the driver, which shouldn't be a big deal for most drivers. A little more of both would give a more connected feeling, though.

Handling6.5

Handling isn't as composed as in the class-leading Honda Odyssey, but the Sedona does little to upset the average minivan driver. It's big and heavy, and you'll feel those attributes if you try to hustle it, but it's competent in normal use.

Drivability6.5

Other than the overly light steering, the Sedona is very easy to drive. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts slowly but smoothly, and the minivan is easy to maneuver in tight parking lots.

Comfort7.5

The Sedona is plenty comfortable for a long road trip packed with people and cargo. SX models benefit from reclining second-row seats, and these captain's chairs represent some of the most comfortable in the class.

Seat comfort7.5

The front seats are relatively soft and have enough support to keep you comfortable during multi-hour stretches behind the wheel. The second-row recliners offer a surprising amount of legroom, and third-row comfort is similar to what competitors offer.

Ride comfort7.0

Soft suspension elements and tuning will appeal to those seeking an isolated driving experience. At higher speeds, the ride quality can get a little busy over rough pavement. Bigger bumps can be intrusive as well.

Noise & vibration8.5

The Sedona is one of the quietest minivans whether it's at idle, under full-throttle acceleration or cruising down the highway at 70 mph. Unlike some competing V6s, the Sedona's engine is smooth and well-silenced.

Interior7.5

The Sedona's top-trim SX Limited model has one of the nicest interiors in the segment. It's a well-organized and easy-to-use design typical of the brand, with a fixed center console that is unique among minivans.

Ease of use8.0

The dashboard has large, easy-to-read buttons organized in a horizontal arrangement. It's simple and intuitive. The larger touchscreen navigation and infotainment screens are also easy to use, and we like the dedicated physical knobs for critical functions.

Getting in/getting out6.5

Like all minivans, the Sedona is very easy to get in and out of. The standard second-row seats offer a collapse function that helps with third-row access. Power-sliding doors are standard on the LX trim and higher.

Roominess7.0

The Sedona's third row will accommodate adults, though they won't be so comfortable on long hauls. The legroom with the reclining second-row seats is better than in the Toyota Sienna, but overall space is marginally less than the competition.

Visibility7.5

Overall outward visibility is good thanks to large windows and relatively thin windshield pillars. A backup camera is standard on all trims, and the SX Limited's surround-view camera takes much of the guesswork out of parking in tight spots.

Quality8.5

Overall quality is as good as or better than the competition. Sturdy construction inhibits squeaks and creaks inside. The interior materials are also praiseworthy, featuring well-grained plastics, supple leather and attractive stitching.

Utility6.0

The Sedona falls a bit short when it comes to cargo capacity and versatility, but most owners will still find it plenty capable. If the second-row seats were removable, this score would likely improve.

Small-item storage

The fixed center console may be attractive, but it doesn't offer the storage space found in rivals. Other bins and pockets are on the small side as well.

Cargo space

Maximum cargo space is 142 cubic feet, slightly less room than what the competition offers. The lack of removable second-row seats in any trim level further hurts usability.

Child safety seat accommodation

With the sliding second-row captain's chairs, installing a child safety seat is remarkably easy. There is plenty of room for rear-facing configurations, and the LATCH anchors are easily located and accessed. The same holds true for the third-row seats.

Edmunds expert 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.