After close to two years and nearly 18,000 miles accumulated -- a pretty good chunk of that by yours truly -- the time has come for us to say goodbye to our long-term 2015 Kia Sedona SX minivan.

When it first came into our possession, we were immediately impressed with the new Kia Sedona's refinement. No longer was Kia content to let a low-price compensate for cheap plastics and shoddy workmanship. Instead, like many new Kia models, the Sedona looked, felt, and drove like a far more sophisticated vehicle than its predecessor. It was quiet on the road, especially compared to its primary competitors at the time: the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

But we had our concerns. Would the Sedona's quiet be marred by the squeaks and rattles that often accompany big vehicles like minivans as the miles add up? Would we miss the floor space between the front seats? Would the Kia's long-term reliability live up to the company's promises? Would we, in short, continue liking it? In short, yes.

Quiet, comfortable

The Sedona remained comfortable, quiet, and dependable during its stay with us. Being a minivan, the Sedona found itself ushered into service whenever a road-trip was involved, whenever there were many passengers to carry, or if someone moved. On road trips, the Sedona acquitted itself with excellent road manners and a quiet cabin. The downside was the lack of a factory-installed rear-seat entertainment system, especially considering many of its competitors -- especially the new Chrysler Pacifica -- all have very good rear seat entertainment systems. Kia's available dealer-installed entertainment system uses a screen that's too low for comfortable viewing, especially for third-row passengers.

Speaking of third row passengers, they're about the only ones who may suffer on those long trips. The rear bench seats three, but only two can fit comfortably, and even my own kids -- all over 10 -- frequently decided to forget the third row altogether and sit three-across in the middle. The second row -- even the small center spot -- was perfectly comfortable, and as long as the smallest kids wound up in the third row, even an 8-passenger load gave everyone enough room.

The driver got the best treatment of course. The refined cockpit doesn't even look like a minivan, thanks to the full center console. Rather than offer a pass-through to the rear seats, the console housed a deep well for large objects and was also the location for the gear selector, all of which made the Sedona look more like a full-size SUV than a minivan. We did occasionally miss the large space on the floor that's a minivan staple, but otherwise the console worked quite well thanks to the generous storage area underneath. From the driver’s perspective, the steering was accurate, and the suspension struck a minivan-appropriate balance between a comfortable ride and better-than-expected handling. The 3.3-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission had no problem moving this big van.

Reliable and a bit thirsty

One issue that we couldn't escape was fuel economy. During its time with us, the Sedona was resolutely in the 17-mpg range, whether we used the "Eco" mode or not. It was an unfortunate shortcoming in a van that otherwise was exceptionally satisfying to drive.

From an ownership standpoint, we loved the Sedona's reliability. The only hiccup during its 18 month stay with us was a minor annoyance; fuel door was occasionally hard to open after pressing the release button, but since a quick tap on the door usually solved the problem we never got it adjusted. The body itself didn't exhibit any undue squeaks, rattles, or other noises. The seat anchors for the middle row needed extra lubrication to squelch an especially annoying squeak just once; chalk it up to an unexpected metal-on-metal dry spot.

One potential limitation proved to be mostly theoretical. You can't remove the middle row seats, just collapse them against the front seats to maximize cargo space. It only gives you about 6 feet of floor space though, so if you need to move something longer than that -- a long couch, for example, or a grandfather clock -- the Sedona won't quite cut it. However, the Sedona was called into moving duty twice, and neither time was the short floor really an issue.

The one ownership drawback may be cost to own. The Sedona, despite being very good at minivanning, suffers from a larger depreciation hit than its competitors, despite other projected costs being roughly equivalent. It works out to an average of $0.69 per mile, compared to $0.61 for the Honda Odyssey and $0.62 for the Toyota Sienna. If we were to try to sell our van right now, we'd get about $24,500 from a dealer and closer to $27,000 from a private party. That's a couple thousand less than you'd get for a comparably equipped Odyssey or Sienna.

So should you buy the Sedona? We won't talk you out of it, but keep depreciation in mind, and the mediocre fuel economy. The former won't matter if you decide to keep your minivan for a long time. And the fuel economy is up to you to decide. Caveats aside, the Kia Sedona is a winner of a minivan.

See past reports for our Long-Term 2015 Kia Sedona...


Long-Term Update: Design

Long-Term Update: Utility

Long-Term Update: Powertrain

Long-Term Update: Comfort

Long-Term Update: Moving Day

Long-Term Update: Fuel Economy Part 2


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