2015 Kia Sedona. Click image to enlarge
Preview by Mark Stevenson; photos by Jonathan Yarkony
The Koreans have never been incredibly serious in the past with their minivan efforts in North America. The Kia Sedona and Hyundai Entourage were the ultimate also-rans in the segment. Oddball styling and uncompetitive features relegated the pair to the bottom of the charts against the volume Caravans and other higher-end options.
Thanks to Kia’s most recent product onslaught, the Korean automaker is looking to expand their lineup while redesigning all current offerings under the watchful eyes of a certain Peter Schreyer. The Sedona is the last existing model from Kia to receive the German’s penmanship.
Like every other minivan since the mid-engined Toyota Previa, the new-for-2015 Kia Sedona uses a front-engine, front-drive layout with no all-wheel drive option (the only model in the segment with motivation going to all four wheels is the Sienna). However, the engine sitting under the hood is a truly modern six-cylinder unit. The 3.3L aluminum head and block V6 uses direct injection, producing 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. It’s the same engine used in the Cadenza and Sorento, though detuned slightly. The new engine has similar output to the old 3.5L V6 but should return better fuel economy.
The sole transmission option continues to be a six-speed automatic, though you get no complaints from us for using the traditional torque convertor slushbox. In fact, there’s not a CVT in the entire Kia range. Good on ya, Kia.
Keeping motivation in check are 11.9-inch disc brakes on all four corners, the front getting vented discs while the rear is a solid disc affair. Electronic stability control, brake assist system, hill-start assist control, cornering brake control, and roll over mitigation all work in concert to keep you and your family safely between the ditches and sidewalks.
The Sedona’s new, shapely front fascia features swept back rectangular headlights similar to the Kia Optima and SUV range while sporting a grille larger even than that on the new K900 executive sedan. In fact, I’m sure you could fit multiple Kia Rios inside that gaping maw of a grille. But, as large as it is, the design wears it well. A lower grille, which houses the Sedona’s fog lights and lower intake vent, is reminiscent of the Lincoln moustache look we all love to hate. Again, Kia seems to have pulled it off. Even the faux metal skid plate doesn’t look out of place on the Korean family hauler.
Silhouettes of minivans all pretty much look the same, and the Kia is no exception. The slab side does show off some nice chrome garnish around the windows without looking gaudy and a selection of 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels complete any look one should desire.
Around back, a single chrome strip is affixed above the handle for the door and another skid plate finishes off the look under the rear bumper.
2015 Kia Sedona. Click image to enlarge
Overall, the new Sedona is slightly shorter than the outgoing model (5,116 mm vs 5,130) though the 2015 model will benefit from a slightly longer wheelbase that will surely iron out bumps with a little more ease. The new Sedona is also shorter in height than its predecessor, better to cut through the air we suspect, though the width remains unchanged. Inside, the new model is actually slightly tighter up front and in the second row, while third row occupants see more leg- and headroom.
2015 Kia Sedona in 8-seat (left, middle) and 7-seat (right) configurations. Click image to enlarge
Speaking of inside, the Sedona will be available in two basic seating configurations – seven and eight passenger – with the only real difference being the middle row. Eight-passenger vans will get a full, three-way split (40/20/40) bench while seven-passenger models receive two ultra-comfortable, reclining and leg supporting captain’s chairs, just like your father’s La-Z-Boy. We can see some future arguments between family members, especially adults who like to take siestas on road trips, over who gets to sit in the middle row captain’s chairs. Even the eight passenger models have a fairly comfortable middle row, and the bench folds up neatly behind the first row for those wanting to carry around some 4×8 plywood. However, those with child seats in the second row will have to remove them before doing this tricky origami seat procedure.