New & Used Kia Sedona: In Depth
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The Kia Sedona is a minivan that’s built in South Korea and sold as the ‘Carnival’ in other places in the world. It’s also the only minivan on sale in the U.S. with the choice of a short or long wheelbase. Prices start in the mid $20,000 area, making the Sedona a competitor against the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, and the Toyota Sienna.
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.
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 soldiers 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. A replacement is expected in the 2014 model year, though it may not be a minivan in the traditional sense, but more crossover-like, with a conventional set of hinged side doors.