2008 Kia Sedona Review

Consumer Reviews
0 Reviews
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
August 18, 2008

The 2008 Kia Sedona is one of the least expensive minivans on the market, but inexpensive is different than cheap.

TheCarConnection.com's team of family-car experts studied reviews of the 2008 Kia Sedona to bring you this comprehensive review. Editors from TheCarConnection.com also drove the 2008 Kia Sedona, and include observations and details here to help you make an educated choice among the many competitors in the minivan segment.

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.

Review continues below

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.

7

2008 Kia Sedona

Styling

The 2008 Kia Sedona does a reasonably stylish job of looking like a minivan.

When it comes to styling, the 2008 Kia Sedona minivan is plain but well proportioned. Detailing is minimal. The most notable thing about its look is that it’s available in two body lengths, unlike most other minivans on the market today.

Generally, reviewers approve of the Kia Sedona 2008 styling. A test driver at Mother Proof comments that the Kia Sedona "lured me with its cute looks...it seemed more stylish and better-looking than other minivans." MyRide.com has this to say: "the [Kia] Sedona looks classy and stylish...if the 2008 Kia Sedona's styling isn't unique, it is clean and crisp, and classy." Kelley Blue Book agrees, at least on the idea that the Kia Sedona's styling isn't unique, remarking, "Except for its vertical taillamps, the 2008 Kia Sedona doesn't carry itself much differently than a Toyota Sienna, which wouldn't be impossible to mistake for a Honda Odyssey."

Inside, the Sedona is just as straightforward in terms of style and function, and reviewers were less than impressed with it. Car and Driver notes that "some of the interior trim is cheap-looking," while Kelley Blue Book observes that the Kia Sedona 2008 has "wood-look trim that's reminiscent of wood-paneled wagons and dens from the Brady Bunch era." And although ConsumerGuide says that all controls in the cockpit "are within easy reach, are nicely sized, and are clearly marked," J.D. Power proclaims, "If there's evidence showing how Kia is able to undercut Honda and Toyota on price, the interior is where you’ll find it."

Review continues below
7

2008 Kia Sedona

Performance

The 2008 Kia Sedona performs well within the minivan range.

The 2008 Kia Sedona appears to offer good, reliable transportation for a reasonable price.

Reviews studied by TheCarConnection.com's team of automotive experts agree that the Kia Sedona has a fair amount of pep. According to Cars.com, "the 2008 Kia Sedona's 3.8-liter V-6 develops 250 hp and 253 pounds-feet of torque." J.D. Power reports that "the Kia Sedona responds to the accelerator with enthusiasm," while Motor Trend notes that "acceleration proved to be enough to give it a fighting chance in cutthroat Los Angeles traffic, making it a sleeper of sorts...passing nimbler sedans or meaner-looking SUVs made driving a minivan easier on the ego."

Car and Driver attests that "the transmission shifts almost imperceptibly," but ConsumerGuide says "the automatic transmission [was] very slow to kick down." Nonetheless, J.D. Power advises "it is geared for rapid acceleration if the driver pushes down on the pedal with authority, or it smoothly upshifts at low rpm when moving along in a leisurely fashion."

Sedona fuel economy figures average "17.9 mph for the life of the car and frequently noted as impressive on long road trips," according to Motor Trend. ConsumerGuide cites slightly higher figures: "[the 2008 Kia] Sedona averaged 22.7 mpg in mostly highway driving, 18.1 with more city use...a second test model averaged 16.1 mpg in mostly city driving and gas-eating acceleration tests...Sedona uses regular-grade gas." The EPA rates the Sedona at 16/23 mpg.

When it comes to ride quality, ConsumerGuide remarks, "Sedona is comfortable for a minivan, but it is not quite car-like. The suspension smoothes out small bumps well, but it bounces some over larger humps." J.D. Power declares, "Kia has done a terrific job with the suspension tuning on the Sedona...absorbent over bumps yet able...to produce stable handling, the Kia rides and drives like a Toyota Sienna with a little extra communication tossed in for the driver and motion control for the passengers." Maneuverability leaves something to be desired, however; while the Kia Sedona 2008 "39.6-foot turning circle isn't out of line for a vehicle of its size, the Sedona isn't as maneuverable in tight parking lots as some of its competitors," according to Kelley Blue Book. Meanwhile, the test driver at Mother Proof says "this baby was kind of hard to steer...it often felt as if it just didn't know how to move the parts it came equipped with."

Review continues below
7

2008 Kia Sedona

Comfort & Quality

The 2008 Kia Sedona offers a reasonably comfortable, quiet ride, but interior materials are strictly average.

The 2008 Kia Sedona provides reasonable levels of comfort and quiet, even if the actual materials are not outstanding.

Mother Proof notes "lots of legroom...in the middle row, too, which made it a comfy ride for adult and child passengers alike." ConsumerGuide says of the Kia Sedona 2008, "Front occupants find comfortable chair-height seats, yet there is ample headroom, [although] lanky drivers may want more rearward seat travel," adding that Kia Sedona's "tight 3rd row is adult comfortable for short trips only." Cars.com advises that "third-row headroom in the short-wheelbase Sedona drops 1.9 inches compared to the long-wheelbase version, and shoulder room falls 3.3 inches. Second-row occupants lose 3.9 inches of legroom, as well."

In terms of cargo and storage space, the 2008 Kia Sedona is "roomy and versatile...[with] a flip-and-fold second row and a third row that disappears into the floor," according to Car and Driver. However, with the short version, "cargo capacity behind the third row drops considerably, from 32.2 cubic feet to just 12.9 cubic feet," reports Cars.com. Mother Proof tells our experts at TheCarConnection.com that "there were eight cupholders...there was also ample storage space in the front: two glove compartments, a nice center console that held my huge purse/diaper bag with room to spare."

Quality of materials appears to be an issue with the Kia Sedona. Cars.com reports that the "cabin is short on soft-touch surfaces and long on nondescript plastics, but the materials are mostly in line with the price," but adds that "one test EX suffered annoying rattles from the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats." J.D. Power says, "Interior materials are acceptable and nothing more," noting that "leather on the steering wheel doesn't feel much like leather, and the cowhide on our EX model's seats was soft but artificial to the touch." Even Mother Proof, otherwise pleased with the 2008 Kia Sedona, indicates that "interior materials consisted of an obvious plastic that lacked some luster." Motor Trend remarks that the "Kia seems to use chintzier plastics and lower-grade leather in the interior...those plastics and leather have become glossier and more worn than the Odyssey's interior over a similar period."

Noise levels are not much of a problem; according to Kelley Blue Book, "interior noise levels…allow for easy three-row conversations." ConsumerGuide says that the "engine makes a semi-refined full-throttle growl and is reasonably quiet otherwise"; however, they note, "Tire thrum and body rumble are noticed even during in-town driving, with wind rush joining in at highway speeds."

Review continues below
9

2008 Kia Sedona

Safety

The 2008 Kia Sedona is a great value in terms of travel safety.

Because of high crash-test scores, the 2008 Kia Sedona earns a superior safety rating from TheCarConnection.com.

MyRide.com states that the Kia Sedona "has achieved a five-star crash certification in all seating positions from the Federal government, and a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety," and includes the "mandated frontal airbags," noting that "the Kia Sedona 2008 front passenger airbag turns itself off if a child is in the seat."

Cars.com reports, "Seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags that protect outboard occupants in all three rows of seats are standard" on every 2008 Kia Sedona model, while "all-disc antilock brakes incorporate electronic brake-force distribution."

More safety features are available with the EX trim, according to Kelley Blue Book: "Stepping up to the Sedona EX adds fog lights...[and an] auto-dimming rearview mirror."

Visibility is excellent all around. Cars.com points out that "the thick windshield pillars can impede visibility to front corners, but there are clear sightlines elsewhere." MyRide.com says, "Visibility rearward from the 2008 Kia Sedona's driver's seat is especially good, an important contribution to safety, because the rear window is as big as it can be, and the headrests over the five rear seats sink down to the tops of the seats."

Review continues below
7

2008 Kia Sedona

Features

The 2008 Kia Sedona has many useful features both standard and optional, but Chrysler has raised the state of the art with in-car TV, navigation, and in-floor folding seats.

A reasonable amount of standard equipment is available on the 2008 Kia Sedona.

The 2008 Kia Sedona "is offered in two wheelbase lengths," according to MyRide.com, as well as three different trims. All models include "tri-zone air conditioning, a CD player, cruise control, second-row captain's chairs and keyless entry with an alarm," while the Kia Sedona EX "adds power front seats, heated power mirrors, an auto-dimming inside mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, powered rear-quarter glass and a compass," according to Cars.com. ConsumerGuide adds that "standard power sliding-door windows are a fresh-air plus" on all Kia Sedona 2008 models.

According to Cars.com, Kia Sedona 2008 "options list includes leather seats with heated front seats, memory for the driver's seat and mirror, and an 11-speaker DVD entertainment system." Kelley Blue Book reports that those who upgrade to the Kia Sedona EX trims can get "leather seating, heated front seats, driver's-position memory, sunroof, power sliding doors and liftgate, power-adjustable pedals, front-row automatic climate control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, an Infinity 7.1 Surround Sound system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer and rear DVD entertainment system with two wireless headsets." In addition, there is a "less sophisticated rear DVD entertainment system that's available on both LX and EX 2008 Kia Sedona models."

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
USED PRICE RANGE
$2,995 - $8,999
Browse Used Listings
in your area
7.4
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety 9
Features 7
Fuel Economy N/A
Compare the 2008 Kia Sedona against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Kia Sedona?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used