By on April 14, 2015

2015 Kia Sedona SXL+Unlike the Honda Odyssey, the all-new, 2015, third-generation Kia Sedona is not the most efficient and athletic minivan on sale today. Unlike the Dodge Grand Caravan, the new Sedona is not the most affordable and flexible. Unlike the Toyota Sienna, the Sedona doesn’t offer unique features like all-wheel-drive or Driver Easy Speak.


 • U.S. Market Price As Tested: $42,295

• Horsepower: 276 @ 6000 rpm

• Torque: 248 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm

• Observed Fuel Economy: 19.1 mpg


The Sedona is, however, a relatively successful foray into the North American MPV sector. It’s strengthened by decent on-road behaviour, a high-quality interior, a superb powertrain, and styling that made the neighbourhood teenagers say, “That’s actually really nice.”

So what’s up with that “relatively” qualifier? Regardless of how well executed the third Sedona is, we won’t be able to liken this van’s marketplace success to that of the Sienna, Odyssey, or Grand Caravan.

2015 Kia Sedona SXL+ frontIn the latest Sedona’s best sales month so far, March 2015, sales of America’s top-selling minivan, the Sienna, were 253% stronger. Yeah, it’s actually really nice, but demand won’t be high, and with that fact in mind, Kia won’t ladle out excessive inventory to dealers.

Even accepting the verdict of the local street hockey snipers, you’re right to believe that Kia didn’t build the perfect family minivan. But this is a whole lot of vehicle to cover, so we’re breaking this review into five sections, working from back to front so more bases can be covered systematically. It’s a utilitarian review of a utilitarian product, albeit a surprisingly style-conscious one.

2015 Kia Sedona SXL interiorCARGO
As has long been par for the course in the minivan arena, the Sedona’s third row of seating folds into the floor, though not with perfectly smooth operation and not completely flush with the floor. With the third row up, the Sedona’s cargo area is 13% smaller than the Sienna’s, 12% smaller than the Odyssey’s, and a scant 0.9-cubic-feet larger than the Grand Caravan’s.

The difference in cargo volume isn’t really noticeable until the third row is folded, at which point the other vans offer between 6% and 19% more capacity for newly purchased kitchen appliances. Such comparisons don’t do the Sedona any favours, but they do something of a disservice, as well, masking the sheer livingroom-like space of the cargo area in any modern minivan, Sedona included.

2015 Kia Sedona second row seatROW THREE
Do you want to sit back here? Of course not, but you’ll prefer it to the third row in three-row crossovers.

It’s certainly not as spacious or comfortable as the Odyssey’s rear cabin, but it’s nice to have options for access. Because the Sedona’s second row captain’s chairs pivot side to side, a passenger banished to the third row can choose to move on back either through the gap between the second-row seats (this fully loaded Limited model isn’t available with eight seats like some Sedonas) or, with the second-row seats moved inward, along the side of the van instead. That’s a useful tool, because the gap through the middle isn’t sufficiently broad even when manually widened.

2015 Kia Sedona cargo camera collageROW TWO
If your concern with the Sedona’s second row was its lack of Stow’N’Go capability or its non-removable status – most Sedonas can stand their seats upright – then the top-trim model will disappoint from a flexibility standpoint. This Limited Sedona’s two middle chairs can’t be folded, removed, or stacked upright. (WATCH: The Sedona’s lounge seat in action.)

They can, however, be pushed way back into a third-row-knee-crunching position, steeply reclined, and then maxed out with an extendable footrest. The lankier among us won’t be able to fully realize the comfort of this legs-extended setup, but it rivals or surpasses the Sienna for second-row supremacy.

As a family van, this arrangement is unseemly. There’s also no factory DVD, the seats move around like super glue was recently poured in the tracks, and the central pass-through between the front seats is stuffed full by a tall console like you’d see in any SUV.

2015 Kia Sedona interior collage 1So of course the Sedona can’t challenge the Grand Caravan as a pickup truck alternative. But as a continental tourer for older citizens who need to ferry grandchildren around with some frequency, the Sedona impresses. Taking a few snowbirds to Florida for the winter? In that case, a collapsed third row and a Rolls-Royce-aping second row is a lot more enjoyable than a van that does double duty as a truck at Home Depot on the weekends.

UP FRONT
The 2015 Kia Sedona’s high points are mostly evident where the adults reside. From Kia’s straightforward UVO interface to the pleasing materials, a throttle pedal that provides access to a responsive 3.3L V6, a spacious passenger footwell, and quiet A-pillars, this is the area of the Sedona that makes other minivans look like second-class citizens that were developed in a prior decade.

Yes, the engine and 6-speed automatic are nicely matched, but while smooth and powerful, the Sedona Limited produces discouraging fuel efficiency figures: 17 mpg city; 22 highway. We saw 19.1 mpg in mostly city driving.

2015 Kia Sedona SXL interior collage 2Away from straight lines, however, the Sedona’s comfort-first philosophy causes the van to wallow about in ways that would nauseate an Odyssey owner and disappoint a Sienna driver.

Ride quality is always impressive, but with lifeless and slow steering and more than 4700 pounds to cart around, this won’t be the MPV that makes you say, “car-like.”

LIMITED
This is not your aunt’s Mercury Villager. In the U.S., 2015 Sedonas start at $26,995, but that L trim doesn’t have a backup camera or power doors. The $29,195 Sedona LX adds the backup camera, among other things, but not the power doors, for which you’ll need to step up to the $33,195 middle-rung EX, with its leather seating and an available $1750 premium plus package (heated seats, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, etc.).

The $37,195 SX is a luxurious van but doesn’t have the second-row lounge seating, heated steering wheel, Nappa leather, and the amazing dual sunroofs of the $40,595 Limited, which can be topped up with a $2700 tech package (adaptive cruise, surround view monitor, etc.).

2015 Kia Sedona SXL+ bridgeAlthough this 2015 Sedona represented a clean-sheet design, Kia didn’t prioritize cargo capacity, cargo flexibility, or third row space. And by placing the emphasis on front occupants and exterior styling, Kia won’t easily win over conventional minivan buyers and their growing families.

But on the outskirts of the minivan market there have always been buyers who didn’t prioritize the manifestation of fertility. As luxurious long-haul transportation in lieu of a full-size sedan, the 2015 Sedona Limited is, well, actually really nice. Unfortunately for Kia, I’m one of the guys with a growing family, and though the Sedona is a pleasant place in which to spend time, it simply doesn’t nail an acceptable number of key minivan ingredients.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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121 Comments on “Review: 2015 Kia Sedona – With Two Strikes, Kia Steps Into The Minivan Batter’s Box Again...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    A $43K Kia minivan?!?! What a world we live in…

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It’s the Cadillac of minivans.

      And for the record, you can has a Sienna Limited AWD for $44,000. An XLE Premium AWD is $41,800.

      Both of them are better than this, and will have IMMENSELY improved resale value. And the loaded Sienna is basically a Lexus van without the badge. It’s pretty excellent.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Like you said, the Sienna is nice. And it has AWD.

        If the Sedona doesn’t prioritize cargo capacity, cargo flexibility, or third row space, why on earth would someone buy this over a Flex Limited Ecoboost that is the same price?

        • 0 avatar
          clivesl

          As a lover of minivans, this is no minivan. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t a minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Exactly. If it isn’t a minivan, might as well get a Flex. It’s much better than this thing.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            It has a $43,000 sticker because it was sent to Tim Cain.

            It’s a Tim Cain Special Edition.

            Next week, Tim is going to review a $87,000 CAD Nissan Maxima with Nismo badging.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            p.s. – Above should have * because Tim doesn’t control what manufacturers send him, and they always send him insanely over-optioned models.

          • 0 avatar
            celebrity208

            It’s a large version of a Mazda 5. Because, like, those are flying off the shelf.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The last rental Sienna I drove had seriously bad steering. Freeway driving was exhausting with constant corrections. I hope it was just an alignment problem, but I’ve seen similar criticism of the Sienna’s steering elsewhere. It would have been disqualifying for me in a new car purchase.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well then buy an Odyssey I suppose. I put this Sedona below all the minivans and 7-passenger CUVs. Give me a horrible Traverse or Acadia over this thing.

        • 0 avatar
          johnhowington

          “The last rental.. ”

          thats all you had to say my friend. Rent a car, you get rental quality (hint: beat on). As an actual owner of a Sienna you are dead wrong. And, its not a Lexus, unless you stick the badge on it.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Depends on what you mean by “better”.

        The Sienna is filled with cheap plastics, which is why a Lexus owner recently opted for a loaded Sedona SXL over a Sienna or Odyssey.

        While true, the Sedona doesn’t try to maximize cargo room/flexibility, it’s trying to appeal to the segment of the minivan market which doesn’t need that (still better than any CUV) and places a priority on other things.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Inflation, friend.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Kias aren’t cheap anymore, bball. Just saw a $35,000 Optima at the car show the other day.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I hope no one is buying a $35K Optima. Based on the 2015 Optima SX Turbo (with around 1000 miles) I had as a rental car two weeks ago, people shouldn’t buy a $25K Optima.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          Seriously though. I can walk into the Chrysler dealer 15mi from my house and drive out with a loaded TC with all the sliding doors, nav, blu rays, leather, etc I could ever want for $27k, not even haggling.

          I could almost get 2 of them for this Kia.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            TTAC wanted to expand female readership, so they brought in “Laydown” Tim “Mark” Cain, so female vehicle buyers wouldn’t feel as badly about what they paid for their vehicles.

            Positive affirmations.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Mandalorian is a smart man.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Actually, the SXL trim of the Optima, which is more like $37k, is a pretty good seller for Kia.

          And despite its age, the Optima still beats the Camry and Altima in comparison tests more often than not.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Agreed they aren’t cheap – but as others have noted, a loaded AWD Sienna is within spitting distance of the same money.

        If I’m picking between the two it is no contest – the Sienna wins.

        Ten years from now the Kia will be close to worthless comparative to the Sienna – if all other things are equal.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          My daughter-in-law in Brownsville, TX, bought one of those AWD Sienna XLE minivan.

          It was pricey but the trade-in value she got for her old Sienna brought it down considerably.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The interior looks pretty nice, especially up front. But I’m not a fan of the black on cream. Black on grey or brown and tan would be better. Black and cream reminds me of a Charlie Sheen bowling shirt.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Hyundai & Kia are going to increasingly struggle in NA as they’ve lost their price advantage over what are still perceived to be (and more often than not are) more reliable Japanese competition.

    In fact, it’s more dire; in many cases, given how aggressive Japanese manufacturers have become in terms of maintaining/growing market share (Toyota), the Koreans cost more in many segments.

    • 0 avatar

      This is true. That’s not to mention the fact that Hyundai and Kia vehicles lose their resale value rather precipitously compared to their Japanese competition, and that delta grows as the price climbs. I probably would not buy a *new* Hyundai or Kia for that reason alone.

      More than that, It seems like Hyundai and Kia have started to calm down in terms of bringing innovative styling and features to the segment. The upcoming Optima is a warmed-over version of the previous version, and the upcoming Tucson somehow manages to look older and cheaper than several compact crossovers already on the market. The products they’re putting out lately seem only poised to compete with what’s on the market *now*—sort of—not even taking into consideration what many competitors, who are already halfway through their life-cycles, will bring in a few years. (I’ve noticed GM doing the same thing).

      Lastly, speaking as someone with a 2012 Sonata Limited in the fleet, I would really like to see Hyundai/Kia improve their suspensions, steering and ride comfort. Our Sonata rides rather harshly, in my opinion, and not sports-car harsh, just harsh. I haven’t sampled the 2015 Sonata, but I did sample the 2015 Genesis sedan, and in my opinion, they’ve done an excellent job with it; maybe that could trickle down to their other cars…

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        This’ll be a steal in four years for 10 or 12 grand. The 2015 Odyssey’s and Sienna’s will be selling for twice that.

        Hopefully the vomit stains will wash out.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @Kyree…

        Agreed on the Sonata. I drove a 2.0T not too long ago and it was very firm, but since this car isn’t as structurally stiff as, say, an Accord, it came off wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Funny, many think the upcoming Tucson looks more upscale than some luxury CUVs, much less the RAV-4 and CR-V.

        And you really need to update your info. when it comes to resale value.

        Evey generation of H/K have seen a major rise in resale value with the outgoing Optima seeing a really high rise.

        KBB listed the 2014 Optima as being 2nd for residual value next to the Accord, which is pretty good for a model in its 4th year.

        And that’s despite the Optima having a higher ATP than the Camry (higher ATP denotes greater higher trim/added options sales which usually lose value at a greater rate).

        Also, residual value is calculated from MSRP, so it basically works out if the buyer can get the discount up front (which is why Hondas, in part, hold up so well – going to pay closer to MSRP).

        And yes, the suspension issue in the newer H/K are pretty much gone – Genesis, Sonata, Sorento, etc.

        Even the Soul with its rear-beam suspension and being a box-ute has been regarded as having a better suspension tuning/ride than the Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      tmport

      Yup, I agree. I bought my current car (a 2006 Kia Spectra5) because it was the best value at the time, and it’s served me well. But today’s Hyundais and Kias are on the pricier side compared to their competition. Combined with relatively low gas mileage, they cost quite a bit more over an 8-year period.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Yes, that must be why sales are UP YTD and that’s even despite being really supply constrained when it comes to ever increasingly popular CUVs.

      The Optima is at the end of its life cycle and sales really haven’t fallen off at all.

      The biggest issue is pricing/discounting by the Japanese (in particular, Nissan and Toyota) and Chrysler (200) due to the valuations of the Yen and Won.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    The vomit inducing shade of tan combined with the usual black should along with all gray interiors be banned permanently and be illegal. Why why why can’t we have instead a nice darker shade of brown or wine or even a light blue? I mean at 43 large it can’t possibly be due to budget constraints.

    Second how did Kia manage to give this the smallest, lowest torque engine in the class along with Chevy Tahoe V8 4+4 fuel mileage figures on the highway? Does this thing weight 5000 LBS or something?

  • avatar
    CB1000R

    Went to look at one this past weekend, after the NYT review came out. Either the dealership was closed on Saturday, or no one works there.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Some criticisms:

    The shifter console is not appropriate in a minivan; you can’t easily walk between the front seats and it steals space. The console shifter in the Sienna/Oddy/GC/T&C seems a better idea.

    The controls are low, away from the driver, the buttons are all pretty identical in size and they’re labelled very small. The Honda and Chrysler vans do this, too, but at least they’re placed higher up. The Sienna is better (but got worse than it’s ’04 iteration) in that it’s buttons are all different sizes and shapes.

    I’m mildly shocked that the third row doesn’t fold flat to the floor. That well doesn’t look as deep as the others; do the seats flip-fold into that well? Or just fold at the hip like a crossover’s?

    The non-removeable second row. That’s pretty bad; even the GM U-Bodies (which suck; trust me as I own one) allowed that.

    This seems more crossover-with-sliding-doors than a minivan. A good effort, but in this segment you need to be either really cheap, or a lot better, to win.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Flat, just not perfectly flat, at least in this high-end version.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      This seems more crossover-with-sliding-doors than a minivan

      That’s it exactly. Kia thinks they can solve the minivan stigma problem by turning their minivan into a CUV. The problem with that logic is that people who are turned off by minivans and want CUVs already have dozens of actual CUVs to choose from. They aren’t going to buy a minivan posing as a CUV instead. Meanwhile, minivan buyers will pass on the diminished practicality of this sort-of-a-minivan and buy an actual minivan instead.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Agreed on the shifter. Floor shifters in minivans are a no-no in my book. The removable center console is the best idea IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      iMatt

      I’m thinking the car-like cockpit was done to purposefully give the impression you’re not driving a minivan. It seems obvious but is also in line with the almost a van but not quite styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I am of the opinion that a minivan should have a column shifter, as should a truck.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “I am of the opinion that a minivan should have a column shifter, as should a truck.”

        No.

        I have a Pontiac Montana. I used to have a Sienna (which my ex has now) and I can’t emphasize how much I hate the column shifter. I miss D with some regularity, hitting either N or 3. It’s terribly imprecise.

        The Sienna’s gated shifter was much nicer to use.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    You kind of need a healthy and growing middle class to warrant a new entry in the family-hauling category. The Japanese got here in time and of course Chrysler has long reigned supreme, but I think the GC has shown that there can be no more unprofitable, 20K-ish players in this ever shrinking game. So I agree with DW. No soup for Kia.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    My wife and I drove one of these about 3 months ago. For a minivan, it was great. Tons of tech, great stereo/gps/head unit, great interior in general, lots of space, composed ride over not so great streets, but it’s still a minivan – non-existent steering feel, blah acceleration, fuel economy that’s not very economical, etc.

    Comparing it to other minivans, this was MUCH nicer than the Toyota and just as nice as the Odyssey, while being less expensive.

    For leasing at $450/month with no money down, it’s a pretty good value.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “For leasing at $450/month with no money down, it’s a pretty good value.”

      AHAHAHAHAAAA!!!

      Funny!

      As Kyree stated above, just wait two or three years and BUY this for $12,000 to $13,800 with 22,000-30,000 miles on the odometer.

      A $160/month payment to own is a far better value.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Isn’t $450 a month like – A6 money? For a Kia van?

        • 0 avatar

          Yes! How ridiculous…

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          “Isn’t $450 a month like – A6 money? For a Kia van?”

          When you think about how much more vehicle you get, this isn’t a comparison that goes well for the A6.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Quality over quantity, Mr. Pontiac Montana driver!

            But fine, how much is a lease on a Flex? I bet <$450.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Corey-

            It’s hard to find Flex lease prices. Ford doesn’t have a ton of cash on the hood right now (max $1750 for a conquest). I would say that getting under $450/month in an SEL/Limited shouldn’t be difficult though.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Quality over quantity, Mr. Pontiac Montana driver!”

            Driving a Montana strips you of your illusions. And it’s not by choice, believe you me.

            I do agree with your point, though.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Thanks, I wish lease figures were more widely published – seems like American companies hide them more? I couldn’t find anything on GMC when I was looking earlier. But I seem to remember Audi advertises theirs right on their site.

            Why hide them, I wonder?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have driven a Terraza extensively, and I feel like that was only probably better than the Montana in that it was newer. And probably a better color.

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          Wait, you’re comparing a 50k fwd 4 cylinder stripper sedan to a minivan that can seat 7? LOL!

          Please throw in a Boxster to compare it to as well.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds $450/month for a Sedona LEASE (LEASE!!!!!) ridiculous. For $450/month the better give me a Rio, Optima, AND Sedona.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I could get a nicely equipped 3 series or a very much loaded JGC for $450 a month, though I don’t do leases.

          I’d rather hammer a Dodge dealer and get a 3.6 liter Pentastar 8 speed equipped Grand Caravan for 22k to 24k (with MSRP of 34k) any day of the week if I were shopping a minivan and had to have new.

          Anyone buying this KIA new or leasing it is going to have the most severe bunghole hurt, ever, and will, in fact be, Killed In Action.

          Every Kia purchase should come with complimentary dog tags.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            What 8 speed Grand Caravan?

            All the Chrysler vans come with the lousy 62TE.

          • 0 avatar
            runs_on_h8raide

            DW,

            I’ve been reading this site for over a year now, and I never have to post comments because its like you read my mind and have already posted it for me. I love you man!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Thanks.

            I try my best to voice the thoughts, concerns & sentiments of the jaded & cynical…aka…the experienced realists, out there.

            Life is a game of perpetual cons, if one’s not in on the con they’re painted as a mark, and this is never more so the case when it comes to anything automotive journalism, sales or service, aka “Sleazeball Alley.”

            Watch your backs, peoples. You have way more leverage as consumers than most of you could possibly imagine, and few of you rarely utilize this powerful leverage fully (I can hear the David Ruggles response being hastily prepared now).

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Yeah, that would be great, but JGC’s don’t have a 3rd row.

            Grand Caravan? No comparison to the Kia. Go drive both. I’ve rented a few loaded Caravans with a few thousand miles on them and those things are terrible. Comparing the 2, it’s not close.

      • 0 avatar
        cheekyV

        Hmmmm….and after four years of leasing a top of the line Toyota or Honda….what exactly would you pay for that same car 22-30,000 miles? The residual on the Sedona is gonna look mighty good.

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I saw one of these at the car show. It was loaded, seemed nice enough. I noted that the middle seats didn’t fold. I looked at the engine specs and the mileage and was a little baffled. Then I looked at the price… Wow, good luck with that Kia.

    Besides the fact that this thing is going to depreciate faster than a dropped stone, there is the fact they I got my 1 year old Town and Country for $22k and it has more room, more power, better ride and handling (presumably), and it get’s a real world 28-30 mpg on the highway.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The low practicality, bad dynamics and relatively small/weak engine are turn offs. Shame because it looks damn good. Unfortunately all of those things seem to be thematic across Hyundai/Kia’s lines. Even their turbocharged engines are weak sauce. Only the 3.8 V6 cars can be called legit strong.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      276 HP in a minivan is hardly a weak engine. Such a blanket statement about two entire product lines shows either ignorance or blind bias.

      • 0 avatar
        clivesl

        My ’04 Sienna makes 268 and it is 500lbs lighter than this van. So I’d agree that 10 more horses is not going to make this anything other than slow. Again, this from a DD minivan driver.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          I’ve driven my parents ’99 Sienna with the 194HP V6, and just under 4,000 pounds.

          It is not “slow” by any reasonable use of the term.

          Add 75 HP and 400 pounds and it still ain’t “slow”.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That old Sienna and the Previa before that both felt pretty quick IMO. I have driven both considerably, and I never felt like either lacked power.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The 3.3 GDI is far from weak; hauling around that weight it keeps up just fine and has better braking than the Honda or Toyota.

      Oddly enough I had one as a cab in downtown Chicago a week ago, already had 17K miles on it. I asked the driver on how he felt about it, and he said he loved it except for the light colored seats. Not a rattle to be heard, compared to the usual Prius V that I get which feels wobbly.

      The middle row of seats not being able to fold down or remove and lack of being able to open the 3rd window is a turn off.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I sat in the new 15 Sedona at the auto show, and it left me disappointed.

    We’ve been thrilled with our 09 Sedona; I’d hardly call it a ‘strike’.

    It is our 4th minivan, following a 98 GC, 05 Odyssey, and 96 GV, and is by far the best of that bunch.

    I have no time for entertainment systems, swiveling seats, moon roofs, AWD, power doors, or mid-40s sticker prices. That’s just crazy. We managed to raise 5 kids without this stuff, traveling the country in peace. Anyone gazing at an electronic screen all day while the grandeur of the land passes by unnoticed is really missing out. Sure, I’ve driven five hours with crying kids in the car – life is tough; we dealt with it without drugging their minds, and we all learned some coping skills.

    Incidentally, we paid only $17k for our 09 van in 2010. It was a former rental, having 18k miles on it. The 250 HP V6 is excellent. The 2nd row is removable, so it can carry 4×8 sheets of material with the hatch closed. Even pickups can’t do that. There is no center console, so there is plenty of room between the front seats. Its curb weight is 4400 lbs (not light), but for the 15 Sedona to have gained another 300 lbs is incredible. No wonder its fuel economy is so poor.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You know, speaking of Korean vans in general, you would not believe how many they sell as the Kia Carnival in South Korea. You’d think it was the best van in the world.

    Just goes to show you that some markets are very closed off to competition. Only other vans I saw were maybe one or two T&C’s, of the early 00s variety.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Carnival is very popular in Australia as well.

      And considering that imports are starting to approach 20% of sales in Korea, wouldn’t say the market is closed off (compare to say Japan), and that’s not counting the foreign brands which build in Korea (GM, Renault, etc.).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You know considering it – I don’t think GM-Daewoo or Renault-Samsung make any minivans for that market, since they were really phased out of the US market by that time as well.

        Koreans are just so hesitant to buy Japanese products, it doesn’t surprise me the T&C was the only thing I saw besides the common Carnival, Starex, and Ssangyong vans.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I can’t help but imagine that interior covered in sunflower seed debris and rodent poo in ten years from now.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    In January we replaced our 2010 Odyssey. The new Sedona was the first van we looked at. The interior was nice and the exterior looked good, but I couldn’t get past the price. They are asking Odyssey/Sienna money for these. We liked the new Sedona, but after looking at the Sienna and Odyssey we ended up buying another Odyssey.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      Just curious: what was wrong with your 2010 Odyssey?

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      There was nothing wrong with the 2010 Odyssey. It was the base model LX and we had owned it since the fall of 2009. We just wanted a new car with a few more bells and whistles. We got a 2015 EX-L which is the mid-range model. Our good experience with the 2010 Odyssey was a factor in our decision to buy another Odyssey.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    The Kia lacks real utility. As a minivan convert, I have a VW Routan the branding fail that is really a Chrysler. I love it, fits 4×8 sheets in it with the hatch closed, 10’ lumber will fit with the removable console out (easy to do). Get 22-23 mpg in town and never less than 26 on the highway, usually close to 30. 29er MTB’s & Fat bikes all fit inside with second row up. The gift that keeps on giving.

    • 0 avatar

      You could do worse. Since you don’t have a *real* Volkswagen, you won’t have to endure the annual, bi-annual or quarterly “German Engineering Surprise”—as one member of the B&B referred to it.

      I also agree that the Sedona fails for its intended audience. As a slightly longer and wider counterpart to the Sorento, it’s just fine…but it misses in all of the categories that are important for a minivan. It’s not all that inexpensive, either. People will probably look elsewhere. To date, the only ones I’ve seen on the road have been rentals.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You know, my family had three Chrysler vehicles which were not trucks (one car, two vans), and they were all pieces of crap. So I dunno about a combo VW-ChryCo van!

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It sounds like the worst possible ownship experience ever. You have to take you Chrysler transmissioned minivan to a VW dealership…..

          The Routan should come with a hand gun in the glove box so you can shoot yourself in the head and drive it into a lake instead of having a service appointment.

          (former owner of Chrysler transmissioned vehicles and 5 VWs)

      • 0 avatar
        dswilly

        I wouldn’t have touched it with a VW drive train. The deal was too good to pass up. Loaded (SEL + model) with 8k and full VW CPO extended warranty it was about 12-15k less than a comparably equipped Honda or Toyota and I would argue it drives better. VW pumped a bunch of money into the suspension and steering and it shows. I could care less about the brand/badge mess. I’m neither a VW or Chrysler fan, just wanted a kid, bike, stuff hauler that is comfortable, quiet and gets great MPG. This van doesn’t disappoint on all three.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I cannot fault your purchase (although I will joke about it),especially since you did not buy it new. I just have an aversion to VW dealerships. And Chrysler transmissions.

  • avatar
    cwallace

    It must be hellish to try to sell a minivan that isn’t a Honda Odyssey or a Chrysler T&C these days. As my wife and her friends talk about new cars, they are all talking about minivans, and seem to start right off the bat favoring one or the other.

    Honda could start making minivans out of lawnmower engines and laminated paper and they’d sell 100,000, simply because suburban moms are very aware of how they stack up with each other. She won’t know that the Kia is every bit as nice as the Honda– she’ll just think you couldn’t swing the payment on an Odyssey.

    And nobody wants to open up to that kind of speculation out in the ‘burbs.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Around here the older people like the Odyssey as well. Especially in that light blue color, or purple. Those are the two most common colors I see. And they get the Touring one with the HiD lights.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “She won’t know that the Kia is every bit as nice as the Honda– she’ll just think you couldn’t swing the payment on an Odyssey”

      The day I hear talk like that in my house is the day I flee into the mountains and never return. I view these vehicles as a necessary evil for some and a useful tool for others. In neither case is there justification for getting snooty and hierarchical about the assumed MSRP.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yep, I used to listen to these “lady-of-the-house” arguments too…diapers with velcro versus diapers with tape, Sienna versus Odyssey, one charter school versus another, blah blah blah…everyone’s an expert all the time.

      Glad those days are LONG behind me.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Soon they’ll be buying the V-Class to show they have oodles of cash.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wish more soccer moms would consider the minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I keep trying to get my wife to like the Transit Connect Wagon. She refuses. One day…

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Careful, remember she’s the one who cuts your hair – she’s close to you with blades! Don’t push her too far.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Haha.

          See, I would drive it. I kinda want a SWB Transit Connect Wagon with the 1.6T. Pricing them out is the problem for me; It gets above used MKS Ecoboost territory rather quickly.

          She doesn’t even want the TCW to be in our driveway. It’s very prescense offends her.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I keep trying to consider things like the Transit Connect and Promaster City, but I just can’t do it. If they were sub-20k vehicles, maybe. But they aren’t, they want actual minivan money for them.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          You and me both. I can’t understand how the Transit Connect Wagon SWB is more expensive than the far superior C-Max. I know sliding doors and all, but the C-Max interior, ft & finish, infotainment, NVH, and ride are much better. For $25K-$30K you have to REALLY want to buy a TCW to actually purchase one.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I think it’s because the people buying these TCWs need them for a very specific Flower Shop Lane type business use. Drives up the price once they’re established as a “specialty vehicle” choice.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s just the regular Transit Connect though. Ford has a passenger version called the Transit Connect Wagon. It is supposed to be the “unminivan” or something dumb. A few people in my neighborhood own them. They are probably guys with really pissed off wives.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            From what I’ve seen, they don’t do up the interior for the “unminivan.” It would seem a little utilitarian for family use, no? Especially given how luxurious minivans have become (a trend which I am in favor of).

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I wish more soccer moms would consider lower cut tops.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        6 months after our baby was born my wife says: “You didn’t notice.”

        “Notice what?”

        “I got to keep my pregnancy boobs.”

        “Just cause I didn’t comment publicly doesn’t mean I didn’t notice.”

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I’ll tell my wife that she needs to give the people what they want. It’s the right thing to do.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    This review is inherently of limited use due to the nature of the Tim Cain-special trim line. I can think of no one who would buy this top-spec Kia and the review rightly falls in line. I know the writers have no control over the press fleet vehicles, but TTAC would due their readers and the online car shopper a great service by reviewing an 8-seat van one or two rungs up from base trim as those are the vehicles consumers actually shop.

    The Kia immediately has one thing going for it in that it is available with 8 seats at what I believe is a lower cost to 8-seat Siennas and Oddysseys. The Chrysler vans cannot do 8 seats. Not that 8 seats is a big deal, but as a 5-seat 2-row vehicle with a cargo cavern it’s great. That’s how my 2006 Ody serves for 90%+ of its time in my 3-kid household.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    I borrowed my sister’s 2009 Sedona to haul a double axle U-Haul trailer when we moved across the country. I was impressed. The engine had enough power to haul what was most assuredly a tow rating exceeding 4000 lbs – at least. One year later, the thing still drives absolutely fine. Count me as delightfully surprised as I was sure I grenaded the transmission with that desperate stunt.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Yeah, but you’re the lottery ticket winner who did the reliable VW Metra in Quebec review!

      j/k! (sort of)

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Our 09 Sedona is rated to tow 3500 lbs. I’ve towed the single-axle U-Haul across the country in the height of summer with no problems. But I also believe in vehicle maintenance and in religiously changing transmission fluid every 25k miles. Driving the speed limit – and limiting jackrabbit starts while towing – are key.

      The double-axle U-Haul can also be pulled behind the Sedona, but with less payload. U-Haul verifies the tow rating of your vehicle before you leave their site. They won’t let you go with an under-rated setup.

      But to your point, it certainly feels like the Sedona could haul a lot more. But as with anything, the mfr limits the tow rating to limit their warranty exposure.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I would rank the interior right above the Quest and exterior right below it. I have had a chance to drive all the mini vans recently and if I didnt need interior space I would get the Nissan. I was hoping that Ford would just turn the Flex into a mini van on the next complete redo, just keep the overall shape.I dont know why Nissan felt the need to shrink their offering.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Non-removable second row seats – taken from the GM Gen II U-Body playbook when second row was equipped with side airbags.

    Seats that don’t fold quite flat in the third row and aren’t super smooth to operate. Also taken from the GM Gen II U-Body playbook.

    3.3L V6 that delivers 17 – 22.

    I think the GM 3.5 and 3.9 V6 produced roughly the same numbers stuck to a 4-speed auto, even factoring for the 2008 MPG calculation change.

    *golf clap*

    The Sienna remains your best minivan choice and Kia has priced the top trim level way too high in comparison to the competition.

    And the next time CJ insists I’m nothing but a GM fanboi – someone point him to this (and other) posts.

    • 0 avatar
      mcarr

      I owned 2 U bodies, a 2006 3.5, and a 2008 3.9. The 3.9 had power to spare, but only would get 23-24 mpg. The 3.5 version would get up to 27 mpg. Other than that, your assessment of the features is accurate. Why Kia would follow suit is mind boggling.

      So, I just caught that a rear DVD isn’t an option at any price. That’s a really bizarre marketing choice. Everybody I know that owns a minivan would not consider one without at least one rear DVD screen.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The last comparison showed the Sienna and Odyssey averaging 19-20 MPG….the KIA? 19—every one was over 500 miles.

      And how is the price too high? You can price the Toyota higher. The only thing that’s lower is the Chrysler—with questionable quality.

      Also the DVD player is $995 on the accessories page. So yes it’s available.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    I don’t understand how Kia can continually bung-up their minivan. Non-removable second row seats? Big floor console with shifter? No factory rear dvd player? Inflated price? Sheesh, what, exactly, is there about the Sedona that someone would make someone want to buy it instead of one of the vastly superior competitors?

    If the Sedona undercut the cheapest competitor by, say, 10%, they might have a selling point. Otherwise, it’s a big, fat fail.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      The rear DVD player is an option in the accessories page.

      Please explain on how the price is “inflated” on the top of the line Limited Package with Nappa Leather, 360 degree camera….ect?

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    I love my ’06 Caravan so much that when/if it eventually dies, I will definitely be replacing it with another minivan. Mine has 200k miles all since new. I drive 750-1000/miles a week for work and then on the weekend, use it as a truck/parent/friend hauler. I definitely want the space and utility in a van and the people/cargo capacity versus a much smaller inside SUV/cruck thing. Despite the dire prognostications from the B & B I have had 0 problems with the Chrysler transmission, and only one intake gasket ($140), the driver’s side sliding door lock, and A/C resister have gone out in 200K, so I’m very much leaning towards Caravan. The pricing also suits me; I don’t want leather, as cloth is more comfortable for long drives, I don’t want power doors, as that’s likely to break down the road, and people are just going to have to talk to each other to entertain each other on trips. I don’t need heated seats, etc, what I need is large, inexpensive and reliable.

    I did like the way the Kia’s second row seats move out of the way to allow access to the third row. The Dodge’s flip and fold up out of the way, which didn’t seem quite as Durable. The Sienna’s slid forward. The Odyssey didn’t move enough allow for adults to wedge themselves back in the third row.

    All in all, I don’t think you save enough to buy a used one, with iffy maintenance on a high tech engine, once the inevitable rebates are considered. I do think the Sienna and Caravan and Kia seemed to have better access to the third row over the Odyssey; I’d have to price the base ones but the Caravans are so heavily incentivised, and I’m going to drive it into the ground, that I don’t care about resale value and that is a huge plus for me.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I guess this could be a result of Kia trying too hard to either duplicate or go beyond what Sienna and Odyssey has to offer. If I were in the minivan market I’d play it safe with Honda or Toyota…

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