- Powerful and quick, especially in the base form
- Very practical
- Not as refined as leading minivans
- Lags behind Chrysler regarding features
- Handling not class leading
The 2008 Kia Sedona is one of the least expensive minivans on the market, but inexpensive is different than cheap.
The 2008 Kia Sedona has been a player in the minivan market since 2006. Kia is one of the few manufacturers to still produce short- and long-wheelbase versions of the same van (as of 2008, Chrysler dropped its short-wheelbase models). Curiously, Kia's partner company, Hyundai, offers only the long-wheelbase model in its Entourage lineup. (Kia and Hyundai are both owned by the South Korean industrial giant, Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.)
In terms of style, the 2008 Kia Sedona is plain but well proportioned. Detailing is minimal. Inside, the Sedona is a well equipped and just as straightforward in terms of style and function.
Typical for Kia, the Sedona is equipped with important safety equipment, yet priced toward the low end of its competitive set. For the Sedona, 2008 models reinforce this positioning by including anti-lock brakes and six airbags as standard on all three models: the base, LX, and EX.
Inside, the passenger room is identical for all long-wheelbase models. The added wheelbase increases cargo volume from 12.9 cubic feet behind the third-row seat to 33.2 cubic feet. This is a significant difference that will matter to some families. However, if you put the third row into service only on rare occasions, then you may do just fine with the short-wheelbase 2008 Sedona base model.
On the road, the 2008 Kia Sedona zips along pretty well, especially if you're driving the short-wheelbase model. It's a bit lighter, with a tighter turning circle and even a slightly faster steering ratio, so this minivan feels quite maneuverable. Competitors such as the Mazda5 and Honda Odyssey corner flatter and have more feel through the steering wheel. These vans are also more refined than the Kia, but if you're going for value, it's OK to give up some refinement.
Power for all models is the 3.8-liter V-6 that also sees duty in the Amanti, Kia's luxury sedan. The engine produces 250 horsepower, which makes it at least competitive with every other minivan. The transmission is a five-speed automatic. Economy ratings are similar to other minivans at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
In terms of safety, the 2008 Kia Sedona includes anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, plus front, side, and side curtain airbags (that cover all three rows of seats). Performance in government and IIHS crash tests has been excellent.
When it comes to features, Chrysler is the leader of the minivan world, and compared to the Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan, the 2008 Kia Sedona feels like it's a generation behind. Kia does not offer anything like Chrysler's Stow 'n Go seats, but the standard seating for seven works just fine as is. If you need maximum cargo room, the second row of seats is removable, but it's heavy.
The 2008 Kia Sedona models offer very few options. Their modus operandi is for customers to select a base, LX, or EX and take what those models offer. Only a handful of options (such as a DVD entertainment system, heated front seats, and so on) are offered, but this helps keep the Sedona simple to build, which in turn maintains the low price.
For those responsible for keeping kids happy while on the road, the vast number of features on the all-new Dodge Caravan makes this minivan a standout achiever. The Dodge also offers in-floor storage and seating options not available on the Kia.
If you're shopping around but know you really want a refined, high-quality driving experience, then the Honda Odyssey is the minivan for you. The base Honda will be thousands of dollars more expensive than the least expensive Kia, so be prepared.
The Toyota Sienna matches the Honda Odyssey in terms of refinement, polish, and price. However, the Sienna doesn't drive with the same enthusiastic personality exhibited by the Honda or the aforementioned Mazda5.