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First Drive: 2014 Kia Sedona SXL

2015 Kia Sedona SXL

In the world of seven-passenger crossovers and their utilitarian all-wheel drive, the mini-van is starting to become a dying breed. To get around the dreadful “mini-van” slogan, Kia has announced their new Sedona is not a “mini-van” but in fact a “Multi-Purpose Vehicle”.  With its power sliding doors and room for seven, we’ll call it like we see it… it’s a mini-van. Truth is, doesn’t matter what it’s called, this new Sedona not only does mini-vanish things, but offers high quality comfort and luxurious features.

Whatever your opinion was or is on the previous generation Sedona… forget about it… this new Sedona is completely different, virtually down to the bolts that holds it together. As appalling as any mini-van can look, Kia managed to pull off the new Sedona giving it a brawnier front end and more of a CUV silhouette. Our sampled top trim spec’d SXL Sedona featured eye-catching 19” chrome wheels, LED taillights, LED front accent lights, and dual power sunroofs. And as Plain Jane as our Bright Silver paint was, it showed of its new curves quite well.

4,450lbs is quite the load to be carrying – the new 3.3-liter GDI V-6 is quite the engine to carry it. This 3.3-liter is the same engine found in the Kia Cadenza, which we liked; however, the Sedona is good for 276 horsepower and 248lb-ft of torque. The powertrain is quite good for the Sedona’s size – zero to 60 mph takes just over 7 seconds from the six-speed automatic transmission which manages to be smooth and some what responsive to its down and upshift needs. Acceleration is fairly quick for a van; the front wheel drive system will kick up some wheel spin, which is great if you’re racing to the front row parking space at the shopping mall.  The Sedona will stop just as good too – we do wish the brake pedal wasn’t so spongy but its also kind of expected.

In terms of driving, what can we say… it’s a “mini-van”? The suspension is smooth over the rough city streets and yet provides  feel for the road beneath you (which we also like), the cabin is quiet from high speed road noise, and the handling is not too shabby – especially when you find yourself darting in and out of the HOV lane maneuvering around pesky snow bird drivers. In fact, it doesn’t feel like the dreaded mini-van we’ve all become accustom to hate – there is, however, quite the body roll in the bends – which we also expected.

There are three driving modes to opt for: Normal, Comfort, & Eco (for once we’re happy not to see “sport”.)  Comfort adjusts the ride quality for a more softer driving experience and Eco will turn you into one those before mentioned slow driving snow birds that us Arizonian’s hate so much. Kia promises the Sedona will return 17 city and 22 highway in terms of MPG.  Under real world circumstances and loaded with passengers we managed 15.6 mpg city, 21.4 mpg during our highway test and a combined average of 18.5 mpg. The 21 gallon fuel tank will be happy to eat your wallet at the pump but will return the investment with over 400 miles on regular fuel.

This new Sedona offers up a first class interior for the driver, but even more so to its passengers. Our sampled top spec’d SXL came with dazzling comfortable two tone Burgundy Nappa Leather seats and first class second row lounge styled seats with a pop-up ottoman and airliner styled headrests. Kia made good use of the Sedona’s large cabin; the dash board is handsomely configured in a two tone soft touch material trimmed with piano black and dark wood accents. Everything is very well laid out in an “easy to access” formation.

Like a usual “mini-van” there is plenty of room for seven passengers – an eight passenger version is available on lower trim grades. The second row captain chairs slide back and forth and side to side depending on your passenger load and the third row is easily accessible with room for 3 full size adult. Second row passengers can find their sweet comfort level through the three-zone climate control. We did like the power sliding dual sunroofs; they open up some much needed natural light and allows for that nice breeze of cool refreshing air.

Our top trimmed Sedona SXL was very well standardly equipped featuring Heated and Cooled Multi-Way Power Adjustable Front Seats, Heated Steering Wheel, Infinity Surround Sound Audio System, Front and Rear Parking Assist, and an 8” color touch screen system with Kia’s latest UVO software that features premium Navigation, Back-up Camera, and eService’s. Kia has fixed the “I Agree” button and now no longer requires to be pushed every time the engine is started. We were gifted with the optional SXL Technology Package that features Xenon HID Headlights, Land Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Surround View Monitor, and Smart Cruise Control (Radar Guided). This option will set you back $2,700, and it’s worth every penny – the back-up camera is an absolute peach and all the safety features keep you from driving like a typical mini-van driver.

With any “mini-van” there is no shortage of storage and cargo capacity. There is plenty of storage in the front with two glove boxes and two center console storage bins. The bottom glove box is cooled through the air conditioner so that your beverages will never be served warm again Access to the rear cargo hold couldn’t be easier with the power lift gate, and now Kia has introduced a Smart Power Tailgate that detects you approaching and after 5 seconds, it will open automatically – nifty. With the third row up, there is plenty of room for your cargo carrying needs, fold the 60/40 split third row and you have room for just about anything.

It doesn’t matter what you call you the new Sedona… a mini-van or a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) – it will do just about anything you ask from it. We found it to be near the top of its class with its new sleek stylish body, very well appointed, comfortable interior and not too bad to drive. The new Sedona should be at the top of everyone’s shopping list if in the market for a new mini-van.

2015 Kia Sedona SXL: $39,700
Destination: $895
SXL Technology Package: $2,700
Grand Total: $43,295


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