2011 Kia Sedona EX Luxury Review

2011 Kia Sedona van
2011 Kia Sedona Review
By Daniel Barron, Toronto Sun
Sedona up to the family challenge
Kia is one of the few automakers that haven’t given up on the minivan, and its Sedona EXfamily-mover improves significantly for the 2011 model year.
By adding a new engine and transmission, along with new aesthetic features, safety equipment, and comfort and convenience add-ons, it’s ready for just about any demand of a 21st century family worth its weight in overlong road trips.
Still, the Sedona is in tough against competitors that don’t take minivan-ing halfway. Kia’s entry certainly has its share of positives, but it falls short in some ways as well.
As you could probably expect, the Sedona has all sorts of cargo space for a large family. Whether you’re taking a team (with all its gear) to hockey practice, doing a week’s worth of grocery shopping or going on a weekend camping excursion, you’ll have lots of space in which to carry everything.
Sedona comes only in a seven passenger configuration (Toyota’s Sienna offers eight), with a third row bench that tumbles away quite easily, though it does require two hands to manipulate.
The two second row captain’s chairs can be folded forward in one simple step for added cargo room, and though they are removable, it’s not an easy process. The seats are very heavy, so besides having to detach the clamps that hold them to the floor, they quite simply require considerable strength to lift out of the vehicle. Lifting them back in and lining the clamps up again is even more cumbersome. Optional second row foldaway seats in the Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country are not only much more convenient, but allow for extra hidden cargo space when they’re not folded away.
It’s rarely easy to get into the third row of seats in any such vehicle and the Sedona is no exception. It has a little more ground clearance than competitors, so stepping in isn’t quite as easy, but there is acceptable room in the third row bench for two youngsters (though there are enough seatbelts for three). The second row seats are plenty comfortable thanks to individual HVAC controls (on all trims but the LX), dual armrests, and sliding and tilting functionality.
All-in-all, the interior is put together in typical minivan user-friendly fashion. There are plenty of cubbies to store loose stuff, a centre console tray that can fold away, coat hooks, sunglasses case, and way too many cupholders. Up front, mom and dad are treated to easy-to-read, easy-to-find buttons, along with that bane of bratty kids everywhere, the conversation mirror. It looks a little more plasticky than a Routan, but it’s a no-fuss, no-muss cockpit.
The new engine in the Sedona puts it ahead of competitors in terms of power, and it does a fine job when you need to get moving in a hurry. It doesn’t exactly have neck-snapping acceleration, but for a minivan, it does the trick. It’s big and boxy and heavy like everything else in this segment, so you can probably guess what handling and steering is like.
There is no all-wheel drive version available (Sienna is the only minivan to offer that), though for the 2011 model year, all Sedonas now offer electronic stability program with traction control as standard equipment. That’s in addition to ABS and six airbags, with a backup warning system standard on all models except the LX.
Other handy features included on the 2011 Sedona include Bluetooth – standard across the board – and a DVD entertainment system which is optional on all trims except our tester, the EX, where it’s part of the Luxury package add-on.
The Sedona may not introduce anything new to the segment, but it does an admirable job keeping pace with most other vans. Its competitive high-end pricing is sure to entice those who can’t justify a $50,000 minivan, too.
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