- Quiet cabin
- Good infotainment system
- Available Apple CarPlay
- Great, soft ride
- Impressive optional chairs
- Mileage is only average
- Pricey advanced safety
- Can pitch and roll if driven quickly
The 2017 Kia Sedona is a viable alternative to more popular vans that can cost much more. For less than $30,000 to start, it makes a strong case based on value.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is an pronouncement to the world that you're a productive member of the species—cheers for bringing up the next generation.
This year, the Sedona adds available advanced safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking that help increase its safety standing. An upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay has been added this year to most models as well. Base Sedonas start with L models, and go up to LX, EX, SX, and top out at SXL models.
The Sedona earns a very respectable 6.5 rating on our overall scale, thanks to its comfortable ride and high safety scores. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
The Kia Sedona doesn't commit many penalties in style or performance, but won't be confused with a sports car anytime soon. The Sedona does its best outside with clean and classy lines up front that won't offend. From the side, it's clear that the Sedona is a people mover, and we're OK with that.
Inside, the Sedona is mostly functional, with a horizontal dash layout that's a little chunky, but not offensive.
Same goes for under the hood. The Sedona borrows Kia's corporate 3.3-liter V-6 found in its upscale sedans that helps haul the two-ton van around town without much strain. A 6-speed automatic is standard in all vans, and helps it fade into the background and achieve combined mileage around 20 mpg. The best thing we can say about the powertrain is that it doesn't spoil the soft ride and we like it that way.
Front and rear multilink suspensions damp out most harsh road conditions, but when pressed into action, the minivan fail-safes into minivan mode. The cabin pitches and heaves, just like your passengers if you start carving up canyons in the Sedona.
Comfort, safety, and features
The Sedona's ace is its comfort inside the sheet metal. Most vans will be set up to seat eight people—top trims swap out a second-row bench for "first-class" captains chairs that are downright opulent.
The second row collapses forward—but doesn't fold flat into the floor like Chrysler's new Pacifica—that maximizes cargo-carrying capacity in the Sedona. Tradesmen may not appreciate that a 4-by-8 piece of building material doesn't fold flat, but most families may find plenty of cargo space in the available 142 cubes behind the first row.
It'd be best if third-row passengers were still working on multiplication tables and their spelling tests. Adults and longer-legged teenagers probably won't fit in the rear, unlike the Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna. By the numbers, the Sedona is competitive with bigger minivans, but its just missing a few inches in the third row to be more comfortable.
Like more and more minivans, the Kia Sedona is better about advanced safety now and its crash-test scores are impressive. It earned a five-star overall rating by the feds, and the insurance-funded IIHS called it a Top Safety Pick this year thanks to available advanced safety features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking.
Those features can get pricey, however. In lower trims, it can cost more than $4,000 to add those features, and in top trims, it'll cost no less than $2,800. Thankfully, the Sedona boasts a standard rearview camera and all that skeletal strength that helped it nearly ace official crash tests.
In base trims, the Sedona includes Bluetooth streaming, a 5.0-inch touchscreen, 17-inch wheels, and seating for seven. Walking up through the trims adds comforts like a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen, leather heated and ventilated seats, bigger wheels, Apple CarPlay, nappa leather, dual sunroofs, 19-inch wheels, and a surround-view camera system.
An impressive rear-seat entertainment system isn't available in the Sedona—only the top SXL models can add a screen for the rear seats and even then, it's not all that impressive. For the same money, you can get a pair of iPads and charge them via the uprated USB chargers.
2017 Kia Sedona
Minivans are like Homer Simpson. It doesn't matter that the Sedona isn't svelte as long as it does what Marge tells it.
We're the first to admit it: Minivans aren't hot.
Although we're partial to a minivan's comfort, we're aware that it's not cute. The interior doesn't have much style either, but it's not offensive. We give it a 4 out of 10 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Kia has added thoughtful touches like a clean front end, swept-back headlights, LED running lights, and a more upright version of the Kia grille to help class up the exterior.
The profile is unmistakably that of a minivan, with practicality trumping any motion to innovate, but it's good looking nonetheless.
The solid window line starts at the headlights and continues all the way to the taillights. The side windows step up a notch just ahead of the third row, like on the Nissan Quest, rather than down, as on the Honda Odyssey. The view from the rear clearly resembles the latest Sorento crossover, only with its rear pillars hidden away, fashionably, beneath wrap-around glass, and its rear bumper height several inches lower (for easier loading).
Get between the doors and the Sedona is a little chunky, without being cluttered. The horizontally laid-out instrument panel is a little boring, but swatches of piano-black trim and two-tone schemes help break up the landscape. Soft-touch materials adorn the higher trim levels on the dash and door, and there's a level of fine detail borrowed from upscale sedans such as the Cadenza and K900.
2017 Kia Sedona
The best quality about the Sedona's performance is its ride—what more do you need?
Performance usually isn't the first priority on most minivan shoppers' lists. The 2017 Kia Sedona doesn't disappoint, but it doesn't really inspire either.
Its best trait is a comfortable ride, made more quiet in more expensive trims. We're giving it a point over average for that, for a solid 6 out of 10 on our performance scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Sedona rides on a basic strut suspension design in front and multilink rear. In tuning, the Sedona feels like a heavier, older Chrysler minivan in a couple ways, with some minor shake in the steering column and a mostly well-damped ride that can get bouncy as it encounters rhythmically placed bumps. It's nearly wander-free on the interstate, but push it briskly in corners and the Sedona's weight and suspension fail-safe into minivan mode, tires lodging lots of complaints, just like your passengers will.
Under the hood, the Sedona uses Kia's corporate 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 276 fuss-free horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to an adequate 6-speed automatic that's starting to show its age compared to Chrysler's 9-speed. The Sedona is front-drive only—the Toyota Sienna is the lone van to offer all-wheel drive—and the engine is saddled with a lot of weight to carry behind it.
The Sedona is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but with a full passenger load and trailer, the van may struggle.
Base vans are fitted with 17-inch wheels, although the bigger 19s in top-trims don't ruin the Sedona's ride.
2017 Kia Sedona
Comfort & Quality
The 2017 Kia Sedona is flexible and comfortable like a minivan should be.
The comfort of minivans can't be easily beat. Living rooms? Sure. Six-figure luxury sedans? Maybe. Everything else? Probably not.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is another boxy tribute to function over form; a superbly quiet hauler built for friends and family—who cares how it looks from the outside?
We give it a point for good front seats, second-row seats, cargo, and well, for being a minivan. It narrowly misses out on a perfect score because those third-row seats are made for kids only—you may be too tall for that ride, adults. It earns a 9 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
In most configurations, the Sedona features seating for eight with a second-row bench. Kia tries to have it both ways with the second row, with a Slide-n-Stow feature that tucks the seat backs closer to the first row, and seat bottoms that flip up near the seat backs. It leaves behind a low, level floor without the need to remove the seats, though there's not the internal length to do some of the things Chrysler's vans can do, such as haul a full-size sofa with the tailgate closed. A 4-by-8 sheet of plywood will fit in back, but only if it's loaded at an angle over the tipped forward second-row seats.
On top-level vans, Kia offers the option to remove the second-row bench and swap in captains chairs that can recline with retractable leg rests and head rests, which they call "first-class" lounge seats. These seats can also move a limited amount from side to side, to make a wider path from the front to the rearmost seats, but they can't be removed. The Sedona's exposed seat tracks are open to attracting a lot of gunk, but they're wide enough to be easily cleaned.
As for the third row, it's small and not suitable for teenagers or adults, unlike the Sienna and Odyssey back seats. Head room is shy and the entry space is barely a foot wide, even with the sliding seats moved forward. The third-row seat splits 60/40 and folds flat right into the floor.
There's ample storage in the Sedona, even in the dual glove box holders, one of which can be chilled for drinks. There's a huge, deep front center console and several usable storage bins around the doors and dash. Top-end Sedonas have a sliding armrest on the console and a tiered tray. USB and charging points are easily accessible, and some models offer high-powered USB ports and 115-volt outlets for charging on the go.
Explore the space
By the numbers, the Sedona is within a few inches of most of its rivals. The van is 201.4 inches long, with 120.5 inches between the wheels. The total space behind the front seats is 142 cubic feet, or 78.4 cubes with the third row folded down, and 33.9 cubes in the cargo area behind the third row. By comparison, the Honda Odyssey has fewer inches between the wheels, but is longer overall, with more space behind the first, second and third rows.
Our eyeballs and our usability scale tells us that the 2017 Kia Sedona is bigger than the Nissan Quest, on par with the Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but not as flexible as the new Chrysler Pacifica, which have very useful stow-away second-row seats.
2017 Kia Sedona
The Sedona's safety scores are nearly perfect; adding advanced safety features will cost a pretty penny, though.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is one of two minivans to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick or better award winner (the Chrysler Pacifica is the only other) thanks to added available advanced safety features this year.
It received five stars overall by the feds that bring it up to an 7 out of 10 on our safety scale. The only things holding it back? There's a lone four-star score in the rollover test, and to get the advanced safety suite requires shelling out a serious chunk of change. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
We like the Sedona's standard Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and a rearview camera. We'd also like to see the available surround-view cameras offered on a trim package other than the SXL—we're sold on the parking convenience they offer, not to mention the added safety inherent in a 360-degree view of parking-space surroundings.
In all cases, the Sedona packs a standard complement of airbags and stability control systems. Adding this year's available advanced safety systems (which helped it achieve TSP+ status by the IIHS) requires adding $4,300 in optional extras for LX models, $2,800 for EX models, and $3,900 for SX models. The advanced safety features are standard on SXL models, which is handy, but those minivans also start well north of $40,000.
2017 Kia Sedona
The Sedona starts at sensible family hauler, and runs all the way up to luxobus with leather and first-class seats.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is available in five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX, and SXL, that span a wide price range from very affordable to very opulent.
The base Sedona starts at $27,695 and includes Bluetooth, keyless entry, a 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, rearview camera, 17-inch wheels, and seating for seven.
That's good value, and good enough for a point over average in our books. Make it two for that touchscreen. It earns a 7 out of 10 for features, according to us. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Stepping up to LX models adds a second-row bench that increases seating capacity from seven to eight, power-adjustable driver's seat, power sliding rear doors, and power folding outside mirrors. Perhaps LX models are more notable for what's available, rather than what's standard. Most options, including leather seating, upgraded infotainment with Apple CarPlay, advanced safety features, and bigger wheels, are available as options on LX models, which start at just under $30,000.
EX models add a 7.0-inch touchscreen as standard that includes Apple CarPlay, a 3.5-inch driver information display buried in the gauges, a cooled glove box for drinks, leather seats, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, rear parking assist, and higher-power USB charging ports for tablets and phablets.
Opting for an SX model adds luxury touches to a minivan that we can get behind. Make fun of the exterior all you want, but most owners stare at their cars from the inside out, not the other way around. SX models upgrade to an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Infinity premium audio, power liftgate, power-adjustable passenger seats, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats.
Topping out at SXL models add the advanced safety suite as standard, keyless ignition, wood trim, 19-inch wheels, high-intensity headlights, a surround-view camera system. An optional "Prestige" package adds lounge-style seating in the second row, Nappa leather, and a dual power sunroof, for executive minivans.
The Sedona doesn't offer embedded data to feed the entertainment monster. All of its infotainment functions are dependent on your smartphone, an idea we like. The next-generation UVO infotainment system includes app capability from iTunes and Google Play (including compatibility with Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Yelp) plus SiriusXM Travel Link information on traffic weather, fuel prices, and more. UVO also uses Siri Eyes Free connectivity and Google Local Search systems to help find and navigate to points of interest.
Kia doesn't have much in the way of rear-seat entertainment—only top SXL models can get an entertainment screen, and even then, it's not all that impressive. We don't mind, honestly. Two iPads would be cheaper for families interested in plunking a screen in front of children, and they're probably more useful anyway.
2017 Kia Sedona
The Kia Sedona keeps up with the minivan pack, in terms of fuel efficiency.
Fuel economy estimates change slightly for the 2017 Kia Sedona based on trim.
That's not the norm for many cars, but thankfully they don't swing too wildly. Most Sedonas will be close to 18 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined. That's good enough for 6 out of 10 on our fuel economy scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The difference comes down to what kind of steering help the car needs. Less expensive models use a hydraulic assist that saps some of the engine's power, which drops the mileage slightly. Step up to SX or SXL models, and those cars use an electric assist that doesn't burden the engine. SX models are rated at 18/25/21 mpg, according to the EPA.
At the top, SXL models give back all the gains found by the more efficient steering system, mostly because they're heavier with more goodies. Those models are rated at 17/22/19 mpg.
That's not quite as good as the Chrysler Pacifica or Honda Odyssey, which are both rated at 22 mpg on the EPA combined cycle.