Road tested: 2015 KIA Sedona SXL
SEATTLE, September 11, 2015 — It’s not a stretch to say that the minivan market has greatly evolved over the past several years and the latest Sedona looks to offer customers a lot of value. Like most “land-yachts” there’s a ton of room inside for both passengers and cargo, all in an easy-to-drive, comfortable minivan. KIA also chocked it full of the latest technology to help make for a more pleasurable driving experience.
Under the hood, there’s a potent 3.3 liter V6 which develops 276 horsepower (at 6,000 rpm) with 248 lb-ft of torque (at 5,200 rpm) which does an admirable job of propelling things forward. This powerplant is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with a “Sportmatic” mode. This allows the driver a pseudo manual mode but it will force a shift at maximum rpm.
EPA rates this Sedona at only 17mpg around the city and 22 on the highway – not great but about as expected for a vehicle that weighs over 4,600 pounds.
Our SXL model starts at $39,000 which is in-line with what a premium minivan sells for these days, however, with all the options our test model had, the sticker price was $43,295 (including destination charges).
All SXL models offer the following interior upgrades — An Infinity-powered infotainment system and an eight-inch display with voice command, Nappa leather trimmed seats, faux wood trim on the front/rear doors and a stainless steel door step trim on the door steps and rear lift gate.
Exterior upgrades to the SXL include standard chromed door handles, dual power sunroofs, jewel-type LED positioning lights, front fog lamps and 19-inch chrome alloy wheels.
To date, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more kick-ass sounding audio system in any vehicle than the Infinity-powered ones from KIA. Solid bass that thumps, clear mids and highs make it a joy to listen to at any volume. If you want a system that cranks up loud enough to drown-out your screaming brats in the back, than KIA has you covered.
Parents may find the UVO (KIA’s label for its infotainment system) quite handy as it has built-in apps that track your kids should they borrow the van. It’ll send you texts if they’re driving too fast, go to the wrong part of town or is out past their curfew.
Interior build quality has some nice touches to it, such as stitched leather, plastics that are soft to the touch, easy to read gauges and a middle column cluster that isn’t too busy with buttons. Things are well-placed, in arms reach and thought-out rather well.
There’s a technology package available as well and you’ll likely want to add that as it provides the adaptive cruise control, Xenon HID headlights, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning and a surround view monitor.
If you’ve never driven a car with adaptive cruise control (KIA calls it “Smart Cruise Control”), then you’re really missing out. It is, without question, the biggest advance in freeway driving we’ve seen in years. You no longer have to worry about hitting the gas or brakes to maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. The Sedona will hold that distance no matter what it has to do to adjust the speed you’ve set, accordingly. If you set the cruise for 70 but traffic slows to 60, it’ll adjust accordingly.
The four captain chairs provide superb comfort, with the rear ones going into a full recline with a built-in foot rest. Talk about living large in the back. Its third row is ample for kids but not recommended for folks above 5’ tall for very long rides.
The ride quality of this van is astoundingly great – super smooth, quiet and yet corners relatively well, considering it’s a minivan. Sure there’s some body roll – okay a lot but not so much that it feels unsafe. This is a minivan after all so all things considered, the Sedona handles itself rather competently.
KIA has done an admirable job with its current Sedona and this SXL version competes extremely well with offerings from the Japanese but they don’t offer the warranty KIA does. That’s right, like all KIAs, this one has a 100,000 mile / 10 year powertrain warranty – five years, bumper-to-bumper.
Sure, it still carries the social dilemma of not wanting to admit you own a minivan but if you’re going to have that stigma then you’d have a hard time finding a competitive product that offers the style, features, comfort and warranty of the Sedona.