2016 Kia Sedona SXL

2016 Kia Sedona SXL 

This seemingly routine minivan is anything but mundane and offers a whole lot more than meets the eye, says auto writer Greg Rubenstein.

If there’s any doubt this year’s vehicles aren’t the hippest, safest, and cushiest ever made, a few minutes looking around and inside Kia’s 2016 Sedona will convince you. This seemingly routine minivan is anything but mundane, chock full of goodies once the domain of only the highest of high-end cars, and plump with gadgetry undreamt just a few short years prior.

Offered in seven- or eight-passenger variants, all propelled by a 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, the tested line-topping SXL trim Sedona was impressive in its serene ride and truly delightful at every turn. From behind the wheel, a state-of-the-art cabin, gauge cluster and console envelope the driver in soft-touch plastics and leather, while the drivetrain effortlessly responds to throttle input. Acceleration is brisk, and handling is responsive for a 4,656-pound people-hauler.

While it’s easy to malign the whole minivan idea, they’re generally far more practical than a SUV or sedan, and often perform better than the former while offering higher value than the latter. The Sedona is no exception; a SUV with comparable capacity would struggle to obtain the EPA-estimated 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway and combined 19 mpg fuel economy, while a sedan with similar equipment wouldn’t have near the function—and probably cost several grand more.

Purposefully built to reduced noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH), there’s also widespread integration of high-strength or press-hardened steel, reinforced roof pillars, ultra-high-strength steel tubes inside the A-pillars along with extensive use of bonding adhesives and larger-diameter welds. Other safety features include stability control, traction control, electronic brake force distribution, anti-lock brakes, hill-start assist, rollover mitigation and cornering brake control. Kia’s focus on safety earned this year’s Sedona a five-star overall vehicle safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA).

At a base price of $27,295, the entry Sedona offers plenty of stylish and creature comforts, including alloy wheels, tilt/telescope steering wheel with spoke-mounted audio controls, USB charging ports, AM/FM/CD/MP3/Satellite audio with Bluetooth connectivity and 12 cup holders. Starting price for the range-topping SXL is $40,795, and the sampled Sedona included a $2,800 Technology Package and $1,095 rear entertainment system, for an as-tested price of $44,690.

The top-of-the-line Sedona’s features are both impressive and innovative. Besides fast-charge USB ports and 115-volt AC outlets, there’s a dual glove box with cooled lower storage area, 360-degree exterior view monitor/display, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, automatic liftgate opening, and perhaps most impressive of all, second-row heated leather lounge seating with winged headrests and flip-up footrests. Combined with 40.6 inches of legroom and the infrared headphone DVD entertainment system, passengers in the Sedona’s middle row are treated to an experience more typically reserved for first class air travel.

If you need to haul a troop, have lots of stuff, or just like to spread out, if you’re in the market for interior real estate, you need to sample the Sedona. It’s an option worth the look.

 

 

While it’s easy to malign the whole minivan idea, they’re generally far more practical than a SUV or sedan, and often perform better than the former while offering higher value than the latter.

 

The Sedona is ripe with features and functions promoting serenity and safety, including wheelhouse padding, double-seal sliding doors, engine-compartment sound deadening, and suspension components specifically designed to isolate road noise from the passenger cabin.

 

 

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