By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 8.9
When the latest-gen Kia Sedona arrived last year, it marked a fresh start for the automaker's family hauler. What was formerly a simple minivan known more for its value than style has been reborn with both. Now coined as a "multipurpose vehicle" rather than a traditional minivan, the 2016 Kia Sedona is available in several trims that fit a range of budgets. Whether bought as a value-oriented 8-passenger family shuttle or in 7-passenger premium form decked out in wood, leather and the latest technology, the Sedona is now a serious rival to established minivans such as the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town & Country.
The 2016 Kia Sedona has a smooth ride, stylish looks that make it appear more like an SUV than a traditional minivan, loads of amenities, and the latest tech and safety features. With a starting price of just over $27,000, it's also the least expensive full-size minivan (is that an oxymoron?).
Yes, it's an oxymoron: There isn't much "mini" about minivans anymore. If you can go a size smaller, check out the Ford Transit Connect Wagon, which is also less expensive and more fuel-efficient. If you need an all-wheel-drive minivan, the Toyota Sienna remains your only option.
KBB Expert Ratings
Just off a complete revamp, the Kia Sedona returns for 2016 with a rearview camera as standard on all trims. Mid-trim EX models now come with heated front seats, while top-trim SX and SXL models with the Technology package can be had with seating for eight.
In remaking the Sedona, Kia put a priority on noise suppression, and the work has paid off. This Kia minivan is exceptionally quiet. The standard V6 engine is unobtrusive at...
... all but full throttle, and road noise is hushed regardless of pavement composition. The Sedona's overall ride quality is soft and smooth, appropriate traits for a family hauler. While devoid of any real vices, the Sedona’s responses in quick maneuvers are deliberate, rather than eager. The electric power-steering system could benefit from improved feedback, and the V6 engine, while smooth, delivers acceleration that’s classifiable as adequate, rather than brisk. On the other hand, there’s no hesitation in the engine’s throttle response, and the operation of the minivan's 6-speed automatic transmission is generally seamless. We're also fans of the cockpit layout. Controls for climate, audio and the like are intuitive and easy to reach.
FIRST-CLASS LOUNGE SEATING
Standard on the top-line Sedona SXL models, these 2nd-row captain’s chairs recline within about 25 degrees of horizontal, and the vertical sections below the seat cushions extend to become footrests. Behaving very much like First Class airline accommodations, the seats are aptly named.
The Sedona’s solution for achieving maximum cargo volume with a flat floor is track-mounted middle-row seats that fold up and slide forward to stack against the front row. Third-row seats fold below floor level to create a substantial cargo hold.
Like its competitors, the 2016 Kia Sedona is equipped with three rows of seats and seating for eight or seven, the latter figure reserved for higher-end trims that can forgo the standard 3-person middle bench for the captain's chairs. The Sedona is far roomier than a 3-row SUV, but trails rivals like the Odyssey and Sienna in back-seat passenger room and cargo capacity behind the 3rd-row seats. Up front, the Sedona has a stylish, contemporary cabin, with horizontally laid-out controls and nooks and crannies to store the essentials. Most models come with a cooled glove box to keep snacks and drinks chilled.
With the new Sedona, Kia set out to make this family vehicle look more like an SUV and less like a minivan. Key elements are a hoodline with less slope, side panels with minimal creases, and a beltline rising from the windshield pillar to the rear of the van. The new front fascia features Kia’s signature “tiger nose” grille and LED accents for the headlights, while the rear sports a roof spoiler and LED taillights. While it’s unlikely to be mistaken for a sport-utility vehicle, the new Sedona does project a more muscular persona.
The 2016 Sedona is available in five trims, from the base L to the range-topping SXL. Spend the least and you'll still get an AM/FM/CD/satellite audio system with 4.3-inch touch screen, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and USB/auxiliary inputs, a rearview camera to make backing up safer, the all-important pop-out "conversation mirror" to keep an eye on back-seat shenanigans. Other road-trip perks include 12 cup holders and the new tricot fabric seats with built-in stain-resistance. Safety features include a bevy of airbags, traction and stability systems, and hill-start assist control. As with all new Kias, the Sedona has an excellent 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Most extras for the Sedona come by climbing trims. The LX includes 8-way-power driver's seat, roof rails and power-folding outside mirrors. EX models add quite a bit more value with power-operated sliding doors and liftgate, leather seating, Kia's UVO infotainment system, backup warning system and tri-zone climate control. SX models have Infinity premium audio, 8-inch touch screen with navigation, ventilated front seats, blind-spot monitoring and LED headlights. Top-line SXL models up the luxe factor with amenities like Nappa leather, lounge seating, dual sunroofs and a heated steering wheel. Other options include smart cruise control and forward-collision and lane-departure warnings.
As in previous generations, this new-gen Sedona is limited to one engine, one transmission and front-wheel drive. However, the engine and transmission are both fresh to this latest Sedona, though not new to Kia’s powertrain inventory. The engine, a 3.3-liter V6 with direct fuel injection, has already proved impressive in the
sedan and Sorento SUV. This engine makes 276 horsepower, which translates to fine power and acceleration in this family van (you needn't fret about getting up to speed on those short freeway onramps). The Kia Sedona's towing capacity is rated at 3,500 pounds. EPA fuel economy ratings are 18 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway on the three lower trims, and decrease slightly in the generously equipped SXL model.
276 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (L, LX, EX models), 18/25 mpg (SX), 17/22 mpg (SXL)
The 2016 Kia Sedona has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $27,295 for a base L model. On the other end, the top-line SXL begins at nearly $41,000 and can climb a few thousand higher with options. Realistically, a mid-trim EX model that starts at roughly $33,600 represents a very good value. With the Dodge Grand Caravan now out of the minivan playing field, the Sedona is the least expensive full-size minivan, though not by much. The Nissan Quest starts at just a couple hundred more, while the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are a couple thousand beyond the Sedona's base price. Before buying, be sure to check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their new Kia minivan. When it comes to resale value the Sedona has typically trailed that of the Sienna and Odyssey.