KIA TRIES TO SHAKE OFF THE MINIVAN IMAGE WITH AN IMPROVED 2015 SEDONA PHOTO CREDITS:KMA
By Vinnie Richichi
(Dana Point, CA) Is a mini van a mini van if nobody says it's a mini van? That's what the folks at Kia are going to try and find out as they release the next generation of their popular Sedona MPV or as they call it Multi Purpose Vehicle. The minivan market is a shrinking one to be sure...just over a half a million vehicles last year and ones that still get snickers when you pull up to the restaurant in one and laughs when Jerry Seinfeld singles out the Honda Odyssey in his routine on Letterman the other night.
Kia is hoping to laugh all the way to the bank with the Sedona by rethinking the box, giving it a more aggressive SUV type look, loading it with features that families pet owners or empty nesters are looking for and offering enough trim levels and high tech goodies to give buyers lots of choice in dealer showrooms.
After spending a day driving the Sedona around the hills of the Clevland National Forest in Southern California it appears that they got it right.
It still is a mini van make no mistake about it but by giving the Sedona a more aggressive stance, 19 inch wheels, athletic wheel wells up front and lots of glass they have a people mover that borders on quite attractive. Inside....It's a small move but Kia has taken the gearshift off of the dashboard and put it on the console opening up the dash and giving the Sedona more of a SUV feel than a mini van...automotive theatre of the mind.
The interior has exactly what the person who buys this car is looking for...comfortable and versatile seats, cubbyholes, cup holders, heated seats in the back and space. Kia also throws in nice touches like leg rests and a rear table on some models.
KIA GETS HIGH MARKS FOR ITS IMPROVED INTERIOR
THE SEDONA GETS AN INTELLEGENT REAR DOOR THAT SENSES WHEN YOU APPROACH IT AND OPENS
The Sedona gets as do all Kia's the UVO infotainment platform that is among the best out there. And just so they didn't take all of the family out of the Sedona there are a number of advanced smartphone apps that will let you limit things like speed of the vehicle, where it goes when you are not in it and even what time it has to be home if your kids are driving it.
There is also a technology package that includes Lane Departure Warning and advanced forward collision prevention as well as surround view monitor and smart cruise control.
Kia's seat system seems pretty easy to use with seats that fold forward and down to create voluminous flat floor cargo space when you need it with a minimum of distress.The Sedona also gets an Infinity sound system that truly makes singing along to the radio a better experience. Clear, crisp sound and ease of operation.
On the road the Kia is well powered bordering on peppy. The Sedona gets the same engine as the Cadenza, the 3.3 liter V6 that produces 276 horsepower. A six speed automatic transmission even has a sport mode if you need a little more connection with the road. Lots of wind tunnel time and some solid suspension along with well tuned electric power steering in premium models give the Sedona a solid highway ride, a confident feeling in curves and an absorbing ride on city streets.
The Sedona is scheduled to arrive at your local dealer in five different trims with base prices of about $26 to 38k. The SXL version I drove stickered at $43,295 including $895 destination charge. Gas mileage is expected to be 17 city and 22 highway. As always, check on real world figures.
Kia spent a lot of time rethinking the minivan, redesigning it into a people mover that is not only for families but for empty nesters that like to go antiquing, pet owners that like to have their pets travel in style and anyone else that needs a box to move stuff or people around in semi-luxury and comfort. They incorporated a huge amount of versatility into the 2015 Sedona as well as style. Their hope is that you will think about this type of vehicle differently as well. After spending a few hours in the Sedona my first impression is that the Kia will get thought about by anyone looking at a versatile people mover no matter what anyone wants to call it.