2015 Kia Sedona long-term review: 365 days of adventure

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We all know that the glory days of the minivan are in the past. Sales that were once over a million annually have been cut in half, mostly because of the growth of crossovers, and the undeserved reputation of the minivan as the preferred ride of soccer moms. For those of us who have either grown up with or owned minivans, we understand that there’s nothing that can replace the functionality, comfort, and usefulness of an 8-passenger people/cargo hauler. Which is why we decided to ask Kia for the use of a 2015 Kia Sedona for an entire year.

Yours truly has been living with a 2000 Oldsmobile Silhouette for a decade, and after a quarter million faithful miles, we let it go to sleep at the pick-a-part lot, and become a donor to others who are still fighting retirement. Because the Silhouette was a sister vehicle to the Chevrolet Venture and Pontiac Montana, its parts will be put to good use. As they say, out with the old, and in with the new. And it doesn’t get any newer than the Kia Sedona.

sedonaPut the previous Sedona next to the new one, and the difference is mind-boggling. The old Sedona looks exactly as you would expect from a minivan: round, utilitarian, non-descript. Basically a mode of transportation. The all-new, redesigned Kia Sedona is as far removed from the 2014 model as possible. So much so, that it’s not even called a minivan. It’s a multi-purpose vehicle, or MPV. Designed by Peter Schreyer, Kia’s chief design officer, the new Sedona looks more like an SUV or CUV. It’s squared off in the rear, shares the prominent Kia front grille, has a nicely raked windshield, a bold stance, and a strong personality. It’s refreshing to see that even the most practical of vehicles can be beautiful, and the Sedona doesn’t let us down. Every time we walk up to the Sedona, we mention how nice it looks. And we are constantly getting comments from others about its modern styling.

Kia interiorInside is more of the same. The Sedona is the only passenger van of the five still for sale (Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country) that features a front-row center console. While we always liked the open area between the seats of a regular minivan, the console has grown on us faster than we would have expected. Our Sedona is the SX trim level, one step down from the top SX Limited, which means it has a variety of impressive features.

Slide n stow

The reason we opted for this model was because we wanted the Slide-n-Stow seats that could be folded toward the front row for more cargo capability. We’re busy people leading busy lives, and need the space for all our extra curricular activities. Like what, you ask? Whatever we want. Hauling home improvement supplies, or taking our bikes to the beach for a ride, or traveling across the country. Whatever we want to do, we know the Sedona will be able to keep up with us. And so far it has.

We’ve just started putting miles on it, and with almost 2,000 miles on the odometer, we’re really enjoying all it has to offer. For example, we chose the power leather seats, and find that, not only are they comfortable, but provide great support. The instrument cluster and panel offer a host of excellent information, and, included with this model, a navigation system and UVO connectivity help us get around easier. More on that in an upcoming report. Be sure to check out our first drive review of the Sedona here, and also David Bolt’s comparison between the Sedona and the Toyota Sienna here.

The Sedona SX offers an impressive list of features, such as tri-zone automatic climate control, Infinity Surround Sound Audio System, 110-volt power outlet on the back of the center console, pushbutton remote start with Smart Key, steering wheel controls for audio and cruise control, dual glovebox, and Smart power tailgate.

sedona enginePowerwise, the Sedona has that going on as well, with a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. For a vehicle that weighs over 4,000 pounds, it’s surprising quick. The V6 is well matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and quick.

We like the choice of drive modes: Eco, Normal and Comfort. You definitely can feel the change in both the suspension, throttle and steering as you switch between the modes. We like a tighter steering feel, so we leave it in Normal mode; comfort provides a little too much assist for our tastes. Comfort also softens the ride on the highway. When you’re in the mood for cruising, choose this one. When you get to the stretch of highway that has some curves and twists, move back to Normal mode. The handling on the Sedona is one of the features we like best. It feels more like a sedan than a van, and body roll is minimal, even when pushing it hard through the turns. Admirable, and kudos to the engineers.

UVO screenThere are so many other great features on the Sedona, and we’re learning as we go along. We’ll be digging deeper into the UVO system, Infinity audio, and other safety and technology features, and report back to you.

As far as pricing, the Sedona SX trim starts at $36,300. We added the 8-passenger package with the removable second row center seating for $400, which brought our total as tested (with $895 destination charge) to $37,595; quite reasonable for this practical people hauler. Throw in the 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, and it’s a deal that would make even Warren Buffet smile.

Kia badgeIf you want to keep up with the Sedona on a regular basis, please join us here, as well as on Twitter: @KiaSedonaMPV; on Facebook at Kia Sedona Adventures, on Tumblr at kiasedonampv, on Instagram at kiasedonampv, and Youtube @ kiasedona channel!

Photography © Team Killeen