2010 Kia Sedona Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
January 6, 2010

The 2010 Kia Sedona is one of the most affordable minivans, but most practically minded families won't know the difference.

To help you find the best family vehicle possible, TheCarConnection.com has read through reviews pertaining to the 2010 Kia Sedona from some of the Web's best review sources, picking highlights. The editors of TheCarConnection.com have also driven the Sedona and give a definitive assessment of its safety, features, and value here in this Bottom Line.

The 2010 Kia Sedona is one of the few minivans still on the market that's available both in short- and long-wheelbase (SWB and LWB) versions. Both models come with three rows of seating, though the arrangements themselves are quite different. The Sedona is related to the Entourage, from Kia's international partner Hyundai, though the Entourage has only been a long-wheelbase van—and isn't even offered for 2010.

Whether you're opting for the base SWB, or LX or EX versions of the LWB version, all 2010 Sedonas are powered by a 244-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6. Although a little coarser-sounding than some of the V-6 engines in rival vans, the engine is relatively smooth and has plenty of torque to move either version quickly with the five-speed automatic transmission—which is smooth but a bit slow to downshift at times. Thanks to revised engine tuning for 2010, the Sedona achieves a slight boost in city fuel economy; it's now rated at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, which is about the same as other minivans.

There's nothing quite like Chrysler's trick Swivel n' Go seats on the 2010 Kia Sedona, but long-wheelbase versions have a seven-passenger setup that's quite convenient for those who have to regularly fold the third row down and expand cargo. In those LWB Sedonas, it neatly folds into the floor; however, in the SWB Sedona, it needs to be removed—like minivan models of the past—if you want a flat cargo floor. Otherwise, the Sedona is simple and straightforward inside, with little detailing or glossy trim, though first- and second-row seats are quite comfortable. The added wheelbase of LWB models brings more cargo space: 33.2 cubic feet behind the third row versus just 12.9 cubic feet in SWB versions—however, the SWB version is a bit easier to maneuver and park.

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While the Sedona is priced at the low end of the minivan class, it doesn't miss any safety points. 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 2010 Sedona, and its performance in NHTSA and IIHS crash tests has been top-notch. Newly standard on the LWB versions of the 2010 Kia Sedona is a backup warning system, though outward visibility is already quite good.

The 2010 Sedona, like most Kia models, comes with a generous list of standard features but few options—which makes it simple to build and helps enable the low price. Customers decide simply between the three models, Base, LX, or EX, and take what they offer. Base models do come quite well equipped, with keyless entry, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a sound system with auxiliary input and USB port. LX models also come with power side doors, and EX models add larger alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated mirrors, a power tailgate, upgraded upholstery, and other extras. Only a handful of options, including a DVD entertainment system, heated front seats, and a navigation system, are available.

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2010 Kia Sedona

Styling

In a class of vehicles that already blends in with the crowd, the 2010 Kia Sedona is quite anonymous. Inside, there's not much to compliment either.

Quite simply, the Sedona fits the mold, with an unmistakable minivan silhouette and very little interior detailing to distinguish it from the rest of the crowd.

But most reviewers like the simplicity of design. MyRide.com says that the Sedona looks "classy and stylish," and "while the styling isn't unique, it is clean and crisp, and classy." MotherProof confesses that the Kia Sedona "lured me with its cute looks...it seemed more stylish and better-looking than other minivans." Kelley Blue Book points out that the Sedona doesn't stand out from the crowd, but that isn't a bad thing for this type of vehicle. The Sedona, they assert, "doesn't carry itself much differently than a Toyota Sienna, which wouldn't be impossible to mistake for a Honda Odyssey."

The interior styling of the 2010 Kia Sedona is also very straightforward and functional. Although there is very little said about the overall design of the interior, several reviewers take note of the details, mostly in negative fashion. Car and Driver contends that "some of the interior trim is cheap-looking," while Kelley Blue Book observes that the Kia Sedona has "wood-look trim that's reminiscent of wood-paneled wagons and dens from the Brady Bunch era." J.D. Power isn't so wowed by the overall look either, declaring, "If there's evidence showing how Kia is able to undercut Honda and Toyota on price, the interior is where you’ll find it."

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2010 Kia Sedona

Performance

The 2010 Kia Sedona accelerates well, but its steering and handling aren't exciting.

Whether you're opting for the base SWB, or LX or EX versions of the LWB version, all 2010 Sedonas are powered by a 244-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6. Although a little coarser-sounding than some of the V-6 engines in rival vans, the engine is relatively smooth and has plenty of torque to move either version quickly with the five-speed automatic transmission—which is smooth but a bit slow to downshift at times.

J.D. Power reports that "the Kia Sedona responds to the accelerator with enthusiasm.” 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."

Reviewers are split on how well the automatic transmission performs. Car and Driver attests that "the transmission shifts almost imperceptibly," but ConsumerGuide says "the automatic transmission [was] very slow to kick down." J.D. Power also reports that the Sedona "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."

Thanks to revised engine tuning for 2010, the Sedona achieves a slight boost in city fuel economy; it's now rated at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, which is about the same as other minivans. Testing a previous model-year version of the Sedona, Motor Trend said that they averaged "17.9 mph for the life of the car.” ConsumerGuide reports figures of "22.7 mpg in mostly highway driving, 18.1 with more city use."

Reviewers overall describe the Sedona's handling as competent but not exciting. J.D. Power declares, "Kia has done a terrific job with the suspension tuning on the Sedona," later calling it absorbent yet stable, "with a little extra communication tossed in for the driver and motion control for the passengers." MotherProof doesn't like the Sedona's handling as much, saying, "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." Maneuverability leaves something to be desired, however; while the Kia Sedona 2009's "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.

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2010 Kia Sedona

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Kia Sedona—especially in LWB form—provides all the passenger and cargo space you'd want in a minivan, but it lacks the details and refinement present in some other models.

There's nothing quite like Chrysler's trick Swivel n' Go seats on the 2010 Kia Sedona, but long-wheelbase versions have a seven-passenger setup that's quite convenient for those who have to regularly fold down the third row and expand cargo. In those LWB Sedonas, it neatly folds into the floor; however, in the SWB Sedona, it needs to be removed—like minivan models of the past—if you want a flat cargo floor. Otherwise, the Sedona is simple and straightforward inside, with little detailing or glossy trim, though first- and second-row seats are quite comfortable. The added wheelbase of LWB models brings more cargo space: 33.2 cubic feet behind the third row versus just 12.9 cubic feet in SWB versions—however, the SWB version is a bit easier to maneuver and park.

ConsumerGuide says, "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." MotherProof notes "lots of legroom...in the middle row, too, which made it a comfy ride for adult and child passengers alike." And regarding that SWB version, 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."

MotherProof notes "ample storage space in the front: two glove compartments, a nice center console that held my huge purse/diaper bag with room to spare," all in addition to eight cup holders. In terms of cargo and storage space, the 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. Overall, ConsumerGuide likes the interior design, saying all controls in the cockpit "are within easy reach, are nicely sized, and are clearly marked."

Interior materials and surfaces aren't the brightest aspect for the 2010 Kia Sedona. 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." Motor Trend includes more unsatisfying details: "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." Even MotherProof, otherwise pleased with the 2009 Kia Sedona, indicates that "interior materials consisted of an obvious plastic that lacked some luster." Cars.com is more satisfied when keeping the price in mind, reporting 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 "one test EX suffered annoying rattles from the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats."

According to Kelley Blue Book, "interior noise levels…allow for easy three-row conversations." ConsumerGuide says 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." 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."

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2010 Kia Sedona

Safety

Excellent crash-test ratings, a full range of safety features, and good visibility make the 2010 Kia Sedona a great pick—even in the very safety-conscious minivan segment.

While the Sedona is priced at the low end of the minivan class, it doesn't miss any safety points. 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 2010 Sedona, and its performance in NHTSA and IIHS crash tests is top-notch.

Cars.com specifies that "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."

Newly standard on the LWB versions of the 2010 Kia Sedona is a backup warning system, though outward visibility is already quite good. Cars.com says that "the thick windshield pillars can impede visibility to front corners, but there are clear sightlines elsewhere." MyRide.com remarks, "Visibility rearward from the 2009 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." Visibility is excellent all around.

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2010 Kia Sedona

Features

The 2010 Kia Sedona offers all the essentials, but look at nearly any other minivan model and you'll find a more exciting options list.

The 2010 Sedona, like most Kia models, comes with a generous list of standard features but few options—which makes it simple to build and helps enable the low price. Customers decide simply between the three models, Base, LX, or EX, and take what they offer. Base models do come quite well equipped, with keyless entry, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a sound system with auxiliary input and USB port. LX models also come with power side doors, and EX models add larger alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated mirrors, a power tailgate, upgraded upholstery, and other extras. Only a handful of options, including a DVD entertainment system, heated front seats, and a navigation system, are available.

ConsumerGuide remarks that "standard power sliding-door windows are a fresh-air plus" on LWB Sedona models. Cars.com notes that the "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 says that in addition to the rear DVD entertainment system available on the EX, including wireless headsets, there's a "less sophisticated rear DVD entertainment system that's available on both LX and EX 2009 Kia Sedona models."

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