Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2006 Kia Sedona
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Kelowna, British Columbia – Start a conversation with an auto writer, and the topic soon turns to — you guessed it — cars (sorry, it’s all we really know). Fortunately, the guy next to me on a recent Kelowna-to-Vancouver flight was an enthusiastic car nut, and our subsequent talk made quick work of the one-hour trip.

After reminiscing about the first cars we owned, along with the scariest cars we’d driven (his were a ’62 Chevrolet Biscayne and a ’56 Triumph TR3 respectively), the conversation got real.

“What would you recommend for four-to-five people car pooling everyday?” he asked. “We’re pretty much stop-and-go for 50 kilometres each way.” Having just driven a top-of-the-line, $36,395, 2006 Kia Sedona EX at its product launch in Kelowna, minivans were on my mind, and the Sedona in particular.

Let’s see now — five people in heavy traffic, the same route everyday. They’ve got to be looking for decent fuel economy with a good ride, of course, but a key factor has to be the vehicle’s interior environment.

“We need room to read our newspapers,” agreed my travelling companion. “Big cupholders for our coffee; legroom; places to store things; directional, interior lights to read when it’s dark.”

2006 Kia Sedona
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Let’s look at the Sedona to see how it might perform in this kind of daily duty. It’s an all-new, second-generation Sedona that shares no body panels or technology with the outgoing model. The front-wheel drive, long-wheelbase, 5,130 millimetre Sedona (a short wheelbase version arrives next year) is bigger in all dimensions when compared with the previous generation. Length increases by 200 mm (the Sedona is longer than a Honda Odyssey or Toyota Sienna), wheelbase is up 130 mm, and the taller, wider body raises interior volume to 4,879 litres, from 4,262.

Power comes from a smooth, new, 3.8-litre V6 engine with variable valve timing that makes 244 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, and 253 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,500 rpm. The five-speed automatic transmission with adaptive shift-logic keeps the engine speed down to a quiet 2,000 rpm at highway limits. Fuel consumption is rated at 14.2/8.6 L/100km, city/highway (a 12% improvement over the previous Sedona), and the fuel tank holds 80 litres of regular grade gasoline.

2006 Kia Sedona

2006 Kia Sedona
Click image to enlarge

The base Sedona LX is very well equipped at $29,495. Six airbags are standard, including the important dual side-curtains. Anti-lock brakes with four-wheel discs bring the big Sedona smartly down from speed, and a back-up warning system helps when parking. Anti-whiplash active headrests are designed to minimize injury if the Sedona is struck from behind. The third row, split bench seat folds with little effort into the floor, and the second row captain’s seats can be removed to create a cavernous cargo area. Alternatively, the second-row seats flip and fold.

The Sedona has front, middle and rear power windows, and tri-zone air conditioning. In cold weather, the front windshield de-icer helps free the wipers, and heated side mirrors keeps them free of condensation or snow. An AM/FM/CD player with six speakers provides the entertainment, and deep-tinted glass affords a level of privacy for passengers.

The Sedona LX rides on 16″ steel wheels with covers, has a cloth interior and features power door locks with remote keyless entry. A choice of six colours is available across the range, four of them new this year.

For $31,895, the Sedona EX adds 17″ alloy wheels, a power eight-way driver’s seat, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, compass and trip computer, roof rack, an illumination package, fog lamps, chrome exterior accents and solar control windshield and front-door windows.

2006 Kia Sedona
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At $33,395, the Sedona EX with Power Package adds power dual sliding doors with power tailgate, power adjustable pedals, automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror and a Homelink transmitter system to open garage doors and gates.

The $36,395, full-load Sedona EX with Luxury Package checks off all the options by adding leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, automatic climate control, power sunroof, memory seating and pedal position and an electronic stability program with traction control.

2006 Kia Sedona
Click image to enlarge

Kia Canada executives say that they expect most of their Sedona sales to come from the lower-priced LX versions, and while that trim level does offer a comprehensive list of desirable features, the EX with the Luxury Package would seem to be the real value leader here.

Priced at up to $10,000 less than similarly equipped minivans from Japan and the U.S., the Sedona EX with Luxury Package, like all Kias these days, offers just about all the equipment buyers would want in a vehicle of this type.

But not everything.

Strangely absent in this large, family minivan, is a DVD entertainment system. This is a major oversight that will be rectified, says Kia, in a few months. Apparently the decision hasn’t been made by Kia whether to supply the DVD entertainment systems at the factory in Korea, or after they’ve been delivered to Canada. In the meantime, buyers of the first 2006 Sedonas will have to factor in a subsequent retrofit.

2006 Kia Sedona
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Other high-end features, like a navigation system, are not offered in the Kia, but there are several aftermarket units that plug into the 12V power point, rival factory systems for functionality, and sell for about $500. The rear-seat directional reading lamps mentioned earlier are a great idea, but not available in the Sedona or any other minivan, it appears.

Another observation is that the traction control/stability control system is only available in the EX with Luxury Package trim. We think this system should be in all the trim levels, especially considering that this is a large vehicle likely to be transporting groups of people.

And the owner’s manual needs a much better index. For instance, when looking up “flat tire,” would you look under the letter “I” for “If you have a flat tire?” Didn’t think so. Other similar errors are common in the short, unhelpful index.

2006 Kia Sedona
Click image to enlarge

We drove the Sedona EX with Luxury Package approximately 450 km from Vancouver to Kelowna, spending about six hours on mountainous roads in mostly foggy, wet conditions (our pictures were taken in a rare moment of sunshine). Visibility all-round is excellent in the Sedona; the ride is smooth and quiet. Our tester was rattle-free, and the seats were comfortable throughout the journey.

Roominess in the Sedona is outstanding, with excellent second and third-row legroom and hiproom. Storage containers are everywhere. We found power from the V6 engine quite sufficient to ascend the steep roads with two adults and their luggage on board. At higher speeds there was some wind-noise evident at the front of the vehicle. The overall interior and exterior design of the Sedona is generic, but pleasing and well executed.

The Kia five-year, 100,000 km warranty is comprehensive, even covering consumables like brake rotors and windshield wipers.

Would it make a good car-pool commuter? Close to ideal.

Look for the 2006 Sedona in Kia to reach showrooms in late November, early December, 2005. Kia expects to sell 5,000 2006 Sedonas in Canada.


2006 Kia Sedona

  • Type: Seven passenger, full-size minivan

  • Price: $29,495 (LX) – $36,395 (EX w/Luxury Package) plus $1,295 destination and delivery
  • Notable: Large, roomy, standard side-curtain airbags, more power, better fuel economy than outgoing Sedona.
  • Built in: South Korea

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