Behind The Wheel: Kia Sedona is a must-see minivan
With the best warranty coverage of any minivan and an award-winning and inviting interior, the 2016 Kia Sedona is a must-see for anyone looking to buy a spacious and comfortable family ride.
In fact, the Sedona in top SXL trim comes with luxury car features, including a heated steering wheel that keeps hands warm on frigid winter days, handsome, two-tone, Nappa leather seats that are both heated and cooled, "first class lounge" reclining seats with foot rests in the second row and a surround-sound audio system.
Safety is tops, too, with the 2016 Sedona earning five out of five stars in U.S. government frontal and side crash tests.
These tests don't take into account the crash-avoidance equipment that can be had in the five-door Sedona, such as forward collision warning, smart cruise control that automatically keeps the van a certain distance from cars ahead and a surround-view camera system that shows on a display screen exactly how close the van is to surrounding vehicles.
Kia's surround cameras can be turned on even when the vehicle isn't backing up. So drivers can use them in a variety of maneuvers for excellent visibility. Even many luxury cars don't offer this.
Higher than standard
Warranty coverage is way above the industry norm of three years/36,000 miles. Every Sedona comes with five years/100,000 miles of limited warranty coverage on the powertrain and five years/60,000 miles of a limited basic car warranty. There's also five years/60,000 miles of roadside assistance.
Sedonas come in a broad range of prices, with the base L model starting at $27,295 and the top SXL carrying a manufacturer's suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $40,795.
These prices are lower than competitors', which include the Honda Odyssey that carries an MSRP plus destination charge between $30,300 and $45,775, and the Toyota Sienna, which ranges from $29,750 to $46,170. These prices do not include every option or accessory, just model pricing.
All 2016 Sedonas are powered by a 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter, direct-injection V-6 engine that's also used in Kia's Cadenza luxury sedan and Sorento sport utility vehicle. In the Sedona, the engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
During a test drive, there was enough power to squeal the front-wheel drive Sedona's wheels and the engine easily got the large van up to speed. Its torque peaked at 248 foot-pounds at 5,200 rpm, and shift points were felt during hard acceleration.
Neither engine nor transmission is particularly fuel efficient, and the test-driven SXL, which was fully loaded and weighed more than 4,700 pounds, averaged a poor 17.5 mpg while mostly driving around town. That was 8 percent below the federal government's estimate of 19 mpg in mixed city/highway travel for this model, which the government tested at 17 mpg for city driving and 22 mpg for highways.
Still, with gasoline so cheap these days, filling the Sedona's 21.1-gallon tank costs less than $38.
For 2016, Kia made a rear backup camera standard on all models. Seven and eight-seat Sedonas are available, but all-wheel drive is not.
The test-driven SXL rolled over road bumps with ease and shielded passengers from harsh impacts. With its long wheelbase, the Sedona is especially good at smoothing the bobbing sensations that come from traveling over consecutive expansion cracks on highways.
The power steering in the SXL was responsive, with good on-center feel.
While the large mass of the Sedona could be felt in curves and turns, the van didn't feel ungainly or unduly top-heavy during regular driving.
The interior was surprisingly quiet, even though the SXL rides on upgraded, 19-inch tires.
All Sedona door openings are large, with conveniently placed handles to ease entry and exit. Ambient lighting even illuminated the outside door handles to make it easier to get inside.
The SXL's interior makes a lasting impression. It is, simply, pretty; second-row "lounge" seats are so appealing a driver might be tempted to ride and relax rather than drive.
Last year, Ward's Auto named the SXL's interior one of the 10 Best, alongside that of a Mercedes-Benz C400.
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