2015 Kia Sedona Long-Term Update: Comfort
Recently, I returned from four days away from home on a business trip. I slogged through LAX, waited (forever) for my parking shuttle, endured another bumpy, crowded ride, and was finally deposited near our long-term 2015 Kia Sedona. I threw my bag in back, slipped behind the wheel, and let out an audible sigh of pleasure as I sunk into the driver's seat.
Exiting the parking structure, I drove back on the same roads that minutes earlier had beaten me up in the shuttle bus. They may as well have been repaved in that short span. OK, it'd be sad for the Kia if it couldn't beat a 15-year-old airport shuttle van in ride comfort, but the dramatic difference in quiet, ride smoothness, and seat comfort reminded me why I've come to enjoy driving this minivan so much.
Vans are sold on their utility for the most part. Even the luxury features -- rear seat climate control, multiple USB ports, rear-seat entertainment and so on -- have a utilitarian bent to them, usually along the lines of child pacification. But most of the time the driver is going to be alone with his or her thoughts, and in the Sedona, those thoughts aren't "man, my back is killing me."
The driver's seat has proven itself over the long haul and long drives, offering excellent support and enough adjustability that finding a sweet spot is easy, and easy to keep thanks to the two-position memory. The carlike interior layout, with the shifter between the seats instead of on the dash, not only makes it easy to get used to driving this van, but makes the rest of the driver's relationship with the controls comfortably familiar. The second row gets the same treatment, with a pair of supportive and adjustable seats on the outboard positions, and a center spot that's comfortable enough that my kids often volunteer to sit there when they don't feel like clambering into the third row. That happens because the third row, while OK for smaller kids, is on the small side for modern minivans. There's decent head and should room, but legroom behind the second row leaves something to be desired, and taller passengers aren't going to enjoy a long ride.
Beyond the suspension tuned to favor smooth sailing instead of dynamic handling, the Kia Sedona's biggest asset is quiet. Minivans are hard to silence, since their very structure -- a big open box -- means they're more likely to transmit sound through the cabin. Yet the Sedona manages its sound surprisingly well. There's none of the "boom" from the rear that's common in vans, and even wind noise is nicely controlled at speed. Granted, it's still a minivan -- this is no Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- but if you're putting a high priority on driver comfort and overall quiet, it's hard to find a better minivan.
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