New & Used Kia Sedona: In Depth
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The Kia Sedona is one of the handful of minivans still on sale in the U.S. It's also in the midst of a major model change--for the 2015 model year, the Sedona's being completely reworked, with a new sliding-seat system and a stiffer, safer body.
The Sedona is built in South Korea and sold as the Carnival in other world markets. In the U.S., its rivals include the Toyota Sienna, Nissan Quest, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Town & Country, and Dodge Grand Caravan.
The first-generation Sedona went on sale as a 2002 model and ran through the 2005 model year. Its 3.5-liter V-6 made 195 horsepower, and was teamed to a four-speed automatic. It lacked features found on competitive minivans, like power-sliding side doors, curtain airbags, a navigation system and a fold-flat third-row seat--and the first Sedona was a heavy vehicle, so performance suffered and fuel economy was poor.
MORE: Read our 2015 Kia Sedona preview
The second-generation Sedona arrived as a 2006 model, much improved. The powertrain was updated to 3.8 liters of displacement and 244 horsepower, teamed with a five-speed automatic with manual gear selection. Fuel economy improved to 17/24 mpg, a competitive figure. In 2007 Kia added a short-wheelbase version, making the Sedona the only two-body-style minivan left in the American market (since Chrysler has since dropped the short-wheelbase Dodge Caravan). That version was dropped after the 2008 model year.
Performance is improved, but the features included in the Sedona still fall short of those in other minivans. The Sedona carries seven passengers, but there's no clever fold-away seat option like that in the Chrysler minivans or in the Nissan Quest. The third-row seat does fold flat into the rear cargo area, however. Interior trim is better than in prior versions, and the Sedona also now offers USB audio inputs, a navigation system and a DVD entertainment system.
Anti-lock brakes, as well as stability and traction control, plus front, side, and side curtain airbags (that cover all three rows of seats) are all standard on the Sedona, and its performance in NHTSA and IIHS crash tests has been acceptable, though it doesn't score well in the latest roof-crush tests. Also standard is a backup warning system, though outward visibility is already quite good.
Spruced up in the 2011 model year with a new face and a revised powertrain, the Sedona soldiered on with its 3.5-liter V-6 with 271 horsepower, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sedona was carried over with only minor changes in the 2012 model year, while it skipped the 2013 model year, and returned for a short 2014 model year with only minor changes.
For 2015, the Sedona is mostly new. The 3.3-liter V-6 carries over with a six-speed automatic--but the body structure is completely reworked. It's up nearly a couple of inches compared to the previous version, and it's now within a few inches in overall length of its chief rivals like the Honda Odyssey, Dodge Grand Caravan, Toyota Sienna, and Nissan Quest. There's seating for up to eight, as well the kind of versatility that always seems to be at its best in minivans.
The key new feature for the Sedona could be its "Slide-n-Stow" second-row seat. It can slide forward and flip upright to allow an especially low, level floor without the need to remove the seats. An alternate arrangement allows for "first-class" lounge seating with retractable lower leg rests. As for the third row, it's somewhat smaller but is split 60/40 and folds flat right into the floor.
The new Sedona goes on sale late in 2014.