2015 Kia Sedona Long-Term Update: Design
It's not exactly the un-minivan, but the 2015 Kia Sedona in our long-term test fleet has some design cues that are calculated to reinforce the notion that this is not your ordinary people-mover. Sure, it has sliding side doors and the usual complement of minivan accoutrements, like 3-row seating with room for eight, ample cupholders and a back bench which folds into the floor.
But the exterior isn't quite the box-on-wheels that we've come to expect from the minivan category. The nose of the vehicle is a bit more pronounced, with Kia's Tiger-snout trademark grille, a low belt line and an aggressively wide stance. There's also some elegant brightwork which gives the vehicle an air of sophistication and elegance, two attributes not usually associated with family haulers of this ilk.
Perhaps the biggest change is best seen from behind the steering wheel. The quintessential minivan design feature is an open area and before consoles became common, the ability to pass through to the second row without having to get out of the vehicle.
The new Sedona takes a different approach giving the front cabin the look more in line with a crossover SUV. The cowl is high, with a traditional dash layout that would look good in a luxury car. The controls are straightforward and easy to use, none of this haptic tomfoolery that seems to be the rage these days. And the console itself is fixed, large and divides the first row into distinct zones for the driver and passengers. Likewise a traditional shift lever with a normal PRNDL shift sequence is console-mounted.
This changeup in cockpit configuration works. From the front seat forward you might as well be driving a Sorento or a full-size crossover SUV. The seating position is upright with great visibility and a useful console with storage, USB ports and other connections close at hand. You may be sacrificing a bit of openness, but there's no lack of storage-in fact on the console has a quite a deep bin the middle to handle all sorts of loose ends.
Behind the first row, however, the look and functionality is pure minivan, from the ease of getting in and out of the second row, to the fact that the kids won't be dinging neighboring vehicles when they fling the doors open. Minivans in general, have long thought of being commodities-interchangeable in both function and design. Kia deserves kudos for taking a different tack and infusing the 2015 Sedona with some fresh thought.
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