Kia Sedona — Positioned as a multi-purpose vehicle

By David Finkelstein

Love it or hate it, newer-style minivan “people movers” are generally quite purposeful and serve a good deal of the needs and desires of young family's. The number of players in this arena has trailed off over the years with Ford and General Motors having ceased production sometime back.

The phrase, “only the strong survive” applies here because as an auto manufacturer, if you don't have something great to offer (regardless of the vehicle in the spotlight) customers are going to look elsewhere. Having said that, Kia Motors has been a major player in this segment by offering an outstanding minivan for many years, and this tradition continues with the 2016 model year.

More precisely, the award winning Sedona is further positioned as a multi-purpose vehicle or crossover utility vehicle (CUV) leaving the term minivan at the curb. Kia continues to pitch to consumers a high level of maximum flexibility with comfortable seating plus notable cargo capabilities coupled along a lengthy list of premium amenities in Sedona.

This further includes cutting edge advanced safety enhancements, all wrapped up in a stylish product. And when was the last time you heard the term “stylish” associated with a vehicle like this? After all, the designers are somewhat limited on the outer body design, based on the general footprint of minivans and/or multi-purpose CUV vehicles. No question, these attributes (safety, stylish design, etc) resonate and are high on the list of the wants and needs of buyers in this category.

I must add, Kia marketing in fact suggest that Sedona can be your “road trip companion.” That catch phrase is quite clever and honestly, can prove to be very fitting with the overall ownership experience. It also suggests that Sedona has something for everyone in this segment. This raises the bar in terms of its competitiveness, creature comforts, warranty and value.

The 2016 Sedona is built with either a seven or eight-passenger seating configuration for maximum appeal. Its also available in five unique trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SXL. Sedona’s 3.3-liter smooth-operating V6 engine produces 276 horsepower and is tuned for enhanced mid-range torque. The engine design further helps when trailer towing is considered with your travel plans. You can safely tow up to 3,500 pounds.

All versions of this vehicle are mated to a six-speed Sportmatic automatic transmission.

The new Sedona features a variety of design enhancements to bring high levels of functionality coupled with an intelligently engineered chassis system. Sedona’s body design gives off a wide stance which translates to a modern CUV. It also telegraphs confidence and strength. New for the 2016 model year, all trims now come standard with a rear back-up camera.

For the L and LX trims, cloth seat material is now tricot, a more modern-looking pattern that replaces the previous knit. The EX trim now comes standard with heated front seats. For added convenience, the SX and SXL trims offer eight-passenger seating when equipped with the Technology package. Adding to the Sedona’s premium ambiance, the SXL trim now offers side sills with chrome accents that complement the standard 19-inch attractive chrome wheels.

The vehicle's suspension provides a solid base for road-trip readiness. Built using Kia’s Iso-Structure design, the torsional rigidity is 36-percent greater than its closest segment competitor. The frame is made with 76 percent advanced high strength steel, which provides exceptional rigidity and durability. The reinforced roof pillars are also engineered with ultra-high-strength steel tubes. The extensive use of high tech bonding adhesives and larger body welds also add to Sedona’s overall structural integrity.

Additionally, all trims come with standard safety features such as Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Brake Assist System, Hill-start Assist Control, Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Antilock Braking System. Additional technologies such as Roll Over Mitigation and Cornering Brake Control also are standard. As a result, the Sedona has earned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star overall vehicle safety rating.

Also included are high-power (2.1 Amp) USB charging ports and a 115-volt AC outlet to charge small electronics as well as a dual glove box that offers a cooled lower storage area plus seat fabric technology that repels stains and spills. 

The Sedona offers Kia’s UVO state-of-the-art infotainment and telematics system for helping all occupants stay connected and safe. Also available in the showcase is their Surround View Safety Monitor, Forward Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. For further convenience, a hands-free “Smart Power Liftgate” opens the rear liftgate automatically when the key fob is sensed.

Standard second row Slide-N-Stow seating slides and folds upright to allow for on-the-go cargo hauling along with a standard third row split folding 60/40 bench that retracts seamlessly into the rear cargo floor. With a strong emphasis on reduction of outside noises, the interior is among the quietest in its segment.

EPA numbers reflect 17-mpg city/22-mpg highway. The 2016 Kia Sedona is imported from the Kia plant in Korea and has a powertrain warrant of 10-years/100,000 miles. At road test, the SXL trim version I drove had an MSRP of $43,295 after additional options and shipping charges. Kia Motors maintains 765 dealers across the United States.