Full disclosure time: I own a 2002 Honda Odyssey, and I love it. It's older, true, but it's been a solid, comfortable, reliable, and even somewhat entertaining family hauler for us over the past 10 years. When someone asks what kind of new van I'd buy if I were in the market, my answer has always been simple: a new Odyssey. But these days, I'd give the 2015 Kia Sedona minivan a good hard look.

Of course, Kia would rather I not mention that its newest van is actually a van. The word never appears in any of its corporate descriptions, despite numerous references to sliding doors. Still, this "multipurpose vehicle," as Kia calls it, is one of the nicest sliding-door, multi-passenger, just-don't-call-it-a-van vehicles you're going to find. The 2015 Sedona's styling looks more like an SUV, with a blunt, truck-like nose, and the interior wraps around you with a car-like dash design and a shifter mounted between the seats in the full center console. It's amazingly quiet for a minivan, especially considering that boxy shapes like this are notoriously difficult to keep silent. It's also the nicest driving van you're going to find, with a well-controlled suspension, very good steering, and plenty of power from the 3.3-liter V6 engine. With active cruise control, blind spot warnings, and various other electronic assistants, the new Kia Sedona is a family hauler built for road trips. 

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However, despite being nicer to drive than the Odyssey, the Honda stalwart still holds a few key advantages. For example, over a weekend with the Sedona I bought a small table, which came preassembled in a box. However, it didn't fit in the Sedona's cargo well, which meant folding one of the Sedona's rear seats to accommodate it, further necessitating a detour home to drop it off and make room for the rest of the errands we had to do. The Honda Odyssey would've fit the box in its cargo well with room left over for more, meaning no extra stops. My 10-year-old kids also had a hard time maneuvering the bulky captain's chairs in our SX-L test model, although the 8-passenger models are easier to use. The Kia's entertainment system is a dealer-installed option that lags behind the Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Pretty pedestrian stuff, but cargo management and kid friendliness are two primary reasons people buy minivans. However, they aren't the only reasons, and if they aren't topping your list, the Kia Sedona's styling, driving manners, and overall comfort are enough to compensate for its shortcomings against the Odyssey and Sienna. If you're in the minivan market -- or even looking for a large SUV -- the 2015 Kia Sedona deserves a look. 

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