In the shadow of the SUV boom, the minivan war has quietly continued. In this small segment of people haulers, the Kia Sedona is a handsome and high-value player. As with any good minivan, the Sedona boasts great marks from leading safety agencies, a host of available driver-assistance features, and a kid-friendly interior with plenty of space for friends. While it's not athletic enough to satisfy hot-shoe moms and dads, the engine is smooth and the suspension delivers an agreeable ride. Where the Sedona falls short is in the cargo department: Its second-row seats can't be removed or folded. Depending on how one intends to use a minivan, this demerit may not matter, but the Sedona's rivals allow for more versatility.
What's New for 2019?
Kia's designers have massaged the Sedona's looks for 2019 with new front and rear bumpers and a revised grille. A new eight-speed automatic transmission replaces 2018's six-speed, and a number of new optional features join the roster, including a wireless smartphone charging pad, a dual-touchscreen rear-seat entertainment system, a Harman/Kardon audio system, an electronic parking brake, and a driver-attention monitor.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
- L: $27,980
- LX: $30,880
- EX: $34,180
- SX: $41,980
The base L trim entices with its low starting price, and the SX charms us with its many features and near-luxury cabin atmosphere. However, we'd settle on the mid-range EX if we were spending our own hard-earned dollars. The EX comes with many more standard features than the next-rung-down LX, including 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and leather seats.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Smooth-running V-6, great steering, maneuverable despite its size.
Dislikes: Slowest minivan in our testing, brake pedal feels soft, slower than most rivals.
Smooth and refined, the Sedona's V-6 is well-matched to its people-moving mission and rarely transmits any harshness into the cabin. Around-town driving is stress free, but hustling the Sedona up to highway speeds requires liberal use of the gas pedal. In our testing of minivans, the Sedona (with the old six-speed automatic) tied the Dodge Grand Caravan for the slowest zero-to-60-mph time. We have yet to test a Sedona with the new eight-speed.
The Sedona handles competently but doesn't inspire backroad rowdiness—this is a minivan, after all. Its ride is placid over smooth pavement, but it doesn't soak up bumpy surfaces the same way the Chrysler Pacifica does. The feel of the steering wheel is weighted perfectly—not too heavy, not too light—and the Sedona is easily maneuverable at parking-lot speeds. It's a setup we're satisfied with, even if the steering wheel doesn't provide a great deal of feedback from the road ahead.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Sedona is rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway—more or less the same as last year's model despite the new transmission. We haven't had the chance to put a 2019 model through our highway fuel-economy testing, but the one we previously tested delivered a respectable (but hardly class-leading) 25 mpg. When compared with our long-term Chrysler Pacifica, which delivered 33 mpg, the Sedona's performance is disappointing.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: Deep center-console-armrest storage bin, plushly cushioned seats, intuitive infotainment menu structure.
Dislikes: Second-row seats can't be removed, luxury items reserved for most expensive Sedona, no Wi-Fi hotspot.
While not as stylish as Kia's latest interior designs, the Sedona offers family-friendly features in a spacious cabin. Luxury-minded buyers will want to shoot for the top-spec SX that can be outfitted like a private jet, with reclining captain's chairs in place of the second-row bench seat. First- and second-row passengers will find plenty of room to stretch out; smaller kids will be fine in the third row, but big kids may feel the pinch. All models come with a two-tone color theme that breaks up what might otherwise be a monotonous black interior. Materials feel like they're of a high quality, but they could benefit from additional soft-touch wrappers on the armrests and center console. The best seats in the house are in the second row, which can be had with full-on recliner-style captain's chairs with extendable foot rests, heated seats with leather upholstery, and adjustable airline-seat-style headrests.
Sedona buyers have lots of options in the infotainment department. A 7.0-inch touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, while upgrading to the SX increases the screen size to 8.0 inches and adds navigation with real-time traffic and weather updates; all models come with USB and Bluetooth connectivity. An optional rear-seat entertainment system mounts 10-inch touch screens to the backs of both of the front-seat headrests
In our testing of cargo room, the Sedona fell short of all of its rivals by a wide margin due to second-row seats that tilt and slide but cannot be removed. Small-item storage is good, particularly for the front seats, but it still falls short of the Pacifica.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Sedona earned top marks from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's second-highest award—Top Safety Pick—for its performance in the testing regimens of both agencies. A suite of driver-assistance features is available, but not much is standard and high-tech active-steering features aren't available. Key safety features include:
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available lane-departure warning
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kia—and its sister company Hyundai—is known for its long, 10-year powertrain warranty and generous five-year bumper-to-bumper coverage. The Sedona beats all comers with its standard policies, but the purchase of a Toyota Sienna includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance