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2015 Kia Sedona REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/4/2017

Con: Subpar fuel economy ratings in SX-L trim; slightly less cargo space than primary rivals; SX-L's lounge seats don't collapse forward.

Interior: The 2015 Sedona has possibly the most memorable first row of any minivan, with classy-looking gauges and buttons on the dashboard and a full center console between the front seats. The console-mounted shift lever is easier to use than the dash-mounted shifters in other full-size minivans. That's the crossover feel that Kia was going for, and it certainly sets the Sedona apart. On the downside, though, you lose out on extra potential storage possibilities that you would otherwise get from a minivan with an open console area.

Seat comfort is good in all three rows, with adult-size space even in the way back. The available eight-passenger layout is achieved by the addition of a second-row middle seat that can "Slide-n-Stow" forward with the outboard chairs or be removed when not in use. This seat's backrest also folds forward to serve as a second-row armrest with two integrated cupholders. The SX-L's lounge-style captain's chairs offer more maximum legroom than the Sienna's similar seats, allowing an average-size passenger to stretch out on the extendable leg rest; taller passengers, however, will find that the front seatback prevents such an indulgence. Notably, the SX-L seats lack Slide-n-Stow functionality, so this trim level is more about carrying people than stuff.

The Sedona provides 33.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat and a healthy 78.4 cubes with the rear seats folded into the floor, although the strap-actuated folding process requires more muscle than expected. It's a bit easier to flip the Slide-n-Stow second-row seats into their collapsed forward position, opening up 142 cubic feet of space in every trim except the SX-L (which loses an unspecified but significant amount due to its fixed lounge chairs). The Sienna and Odyssey provide 150 and 148 cubes, respectively, but only if you remove the heavy second-row seats. Kia figured most minivan owners would trade 6-8 cubic feet for the added convenience.

Body: The 2015 Kia Sedona minivan is offered in five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SX-L. Note that only the EX comes standard with eight-passenger seating, but it's optional on LX and SX, with seven-passenger seating mandatory on the L and SX-L.

The L starts with 17-inch steel wheels, dual manual sliding doors, rear parking sensors, manual front seats with a driver height adjustment, Slide-n-Stow forward-collapsing second-row seats, a split-folding third-row seat, stain-resistant fabric upholstery, dual gloveboxes, air-conditioning with rear controls, power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a four-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and USB connectivity.

The LX adds 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlight accents, power-folding exterior mirrors, roof rails, tinted rear windows, a 4.3-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar), two extra speakers for the audio system and Kia's Uvo eServices telematics.

The EX adds 18-inch alloys, upgraded LED headlight accents (with discrete LEDs instead of a solid bar), foglights, heated exterior mirrors, an adjustable-height power liftgate, power sliding doors, keyless entry and ignition, a monochromatic 3.5-inch driver information display, leather upholstery, a refrigerated lower glovebox, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a remote garage door opener, tri-zone automatic climate control, rear sunshades, dual rapid-charge USB ports and an eight-speaker Infinity audio system with HD radio.

The SX throws in LED taillights, four-way driver power lumbar, driver memory settings, an eight-way power passenger seat, heated front and second-row seats, ventilated front seats, upgraded leather upholstery, selectable drive modes (affecting transmission shift points and steering weight), a color driver information display (with an enhanced proximity display for the rear parking sensors), an 8-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, voice controls and a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert.

The SX-L tops the range with 19-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a heated and wood-trimmed steering wheel, wood interior trim and second-row lounge seats with airplane-style winged headrests and extendable leg rests.

A few of the higher trims' standard features can be added to lower trim levels via two options packages. The LX Convenience package adds the refrigerated glovebox, heated front seats, power sliding doors, eight-passenger seating and rear sunshades. The EX Premium package adds four-way driver lumbar, driver memory functions, the power front passenger seat, heated first- and second-row seats and the blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts.

Offered exclusively on the SX-L is the Technology package, which adds xenon headlights with automatic high beam control, a surround-view parking camera system, a lane departure warning system, adaptive cruise control and a forward collision warning system.

Stand-alone options on all trims include a tow hitch and a rear seat entertainment system.

Driving: Acceleration from the 2015 Sedona's V6 engine is confident and refined, and the six-speed automatic transmission shifts promptly and unobtrusively. The selectable drive modes (Normal, Comfort and Eco) provided in the SX and SX-L afford driver control over transmission and steering calibration, but the differences are slight.

Among minivans, the Sedona is exceptionally quiet, as engine, road and wind noise are all held to reasonable levels. The ride quality is agreeable on most surfaces, though the SX-L's 19-inch wheels can make bumps a bit more vivid than they need to be. Around turns, the Sedona acquits itself well for a big people hauler. There's nothing particularly memorable about driving Kia's latest minivan, but that approachable character should endear it to potential buyers.

What’s New: The 2015 Sedona is completely redesigned.

The 2015 Sedona is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine rated at 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a six-speed automatic, and all Sedonas employ front-wheel drive. With the optional hitch installed, the Sedona can tow up to 3,500 pounds. In Edmunds testing, the Sedona went from zero to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds, which is one of the quicker times in the minivan class.

The EPA's fuel economy estimates stand at 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) for the L, LX and EX trims, which is about average for this class but not impressive for a new model. The SX improves to 21 mpg combined (18/25), ostensibly because of its electric power steering system, which lightens the engine's workload. Meanwhile, the SX-L drops to a subpar 19 mpg combined (17/22) despite sharing that steering system, a deficit only partly explained by the extra 100 or so pounds it carries.

Safety: Standard safety features for all 2015 Kia Sedona models include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, hill start assist, active front headrests, rear parking sensors, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

Available electronic aids, depending on trim, include a rearview camera, a surround-view camera, front and rear parking sensors, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alerts, a lane departure warning system and a forward collision warning system (without automatic braking). The optional Uvo service includes automatic crash notification and special monitoring services for secondary drivers (including speed-, location- and curfew-limit alerts).

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Sedona its highest rating of "Good" across the board, making it one of the agency's Top Safety Pick winners. The Sedona earned "Good" ratings for both small- and moderate-overlap frontal-crash tests, as well as for side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection.

During Edmunds testing, the Kia Sedona stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is an excellent braking distance for a minivan.

Pro: Distinctive dashboard and cockpit; value-priced; unique forward-collapsing second-row seats; extensive equipment availability; quiet cabin.

Edmunds Say: The all-new 2015 Kia Sedona minivan is a welcome arrival, as it retains its traditional value advantage while adding plenty of upscale style and features.

Introduction: The minivan segment has been dominated for years by Chrysler, Honda and Toyota, but the all-new 2015 Kia Sedona is out to crash the party. Replacing the functional but forgettable second-generation Sedona, the redesigned 2015 model wears crisp, muscular sheet metal that Kia says is crossover-inspired, accented by a prominent grille with the company's trademark style. Inside, the crossover theme continues with a driving environment that resembles a cockpit, including a prominent console between the front seats -- unique among minivans -- where the shift lever resides. Throw in competitive versatility and Kia's value-oriented pricing, and you've got a compelling new option that deserves close consideration alongside the usual suspects.

Despite the 2015 Sedona's dramatically different appearance, this isn't the sort of revolutionary product that we've come to expect from Kia in recent years. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Chances are, you're not looking for a revolution: just sliding doors, spaciousness, flexible seating options, plenty of safety and up-to-date equipment, all of which the new Sedona provides. The crossover design cues are where the Sedona goes a step further. Kia knows a lot of buyers skip over minivans because three-row crossovers simply look and feel cooler, so the 2015 Sedona is a novel attempt to meet them halfway. If you're sensitive to the stigma associated with diaper-toting minivan ownership, perhaps this Kia will make you think twice.

At heart, of course, the Sedona is as much of a box on wheels as the next minivan. But some nifty features lie within, including the SX-L model's fixed lounge-style second-row seats with generous slide-and-recline adjustments, lateral sliding functionality and extendable leg rests. In all other trims, the second-row seats collapse upright behind the front row to facilitate cargo-carrying, an interesting solution that eliminates the common minivan chore of removing those heavy chairs. On the other hand, maximum cargo capacity suffers as a result, leaving the Sedona marginally behind its main rivals (and woefully so in SX-L trim).

Those rivals are well-established, starting with the 2015 Honda Odyssey, which wins in fuel economy and road handling, but carries a steeper price. The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna runs neck and neck with the Odyssey in most respects, but the Sedona is again likely to be the better value. Although the 2015 Chrysler Town & Country's Stow 'n Go seats are the slickest in the business, the van's overall interior quality pales in comparison to the Kia's. Dark-horse candidates include the Nissan Quest (if cargo space isn't a high priority) and the 2015 Mazda 5 (if a smaller minivan would serve you better).

So where does that leave the 2015 Kia Sedona? Right in the thick of things, we'd say. Although it doesn't notably raise the bar, the Sedona possesses many strengths that make it a must-drive if you're shopping in this segment.

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