We're the first to admit it: Minivans aren't hot.
Although we're partial to a minivan's comfort, we're aware that it's not cute. The interior doesn't have much style either, but it's not offensive. We give it a 4 out of 10 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Kia has added thoughtful touches like a clean front end, swept-back headlights, LED running lights, and a more upright version of the Kia grille to help class up the exterior.
The profile is unmistakably that of a minivan, with practicality trumping any motion to innovate, but it's good looking nonetheless.
The solid window line starts at the headlights and continues all the way to the taillights. The side windows step up a notch just ahead of the third row, like on the Nissan Quest, rather than down, as on the Honda Odyssey. The view from the rear clearly resembles the latest Sorento crossover, only with its rear pillars hidden away, fashionably, beneath wrap-around glass, and its rear bumper height several inches lower (for easier loading).
Get between the doors and the Sedona is a little chunky, without being cluttered. The horizontally laid-out instrument panel is a little boring, but swatches of piano-black trim and two-tone schemes help break up the landscape. Soft-touch materials adorn the higher trim levels on the dash and door, and there's a level of fine detail borrowed from upscale sedans such as the Cadenza and K900.
Minivans are like Homer Simpson. It doesn't matter that the Sedona isn't svelte as long as it does what Marge tells it.
Performance usually isn't the first priority on most minivan shoppers' lists. The 2017 Kia Sedona doesn't disappoint, but it doesn't really inspire either.
Its best trait is a comfortable ride, made more quiet in more expensive trims. We're giving it a point over average for that, for a solid 6 out of 10 on our performance scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The Sedona rides on a basic strut suspension design in front and multilink rear. In tuning, the Sedona feels like a heavier, older Chrysler minivan in a couple ways, with some minor shake in the steering column and a mostly well-damped ride that can get bouncy as it encounters rhythmically placed bumps. It's nearly wander-free on the interstate, but push it briskly in corners and the Sedona's weight and suspension fail-safe into minivan mode, tires lodging lots of complaints, just like your passengers will.
Under the hood, the Sedona uses Kia's corporate 3.3-liter V-6 that makes 276 fuss-free horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to an adequate 6-speed automatic that's starting to show its age compared to Chrysler's 9-speed. The Sedona is front-drive only—the Toyota Sienna is the lone van to offer all-wheel drive—and the engine is saddled with a lot of weight to carry behind it.
The Sedona is rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds, but with a full passenger load and trailer, the van may struggle.
Base vans are fitted with 17-inch wheels, although the bigger 19s in top-trims don't ruin the Sedona's ride.
The best quality about the Sedona's performance is its ride—what more do you need?
The comfort of minivans can't be easily beat. Living rooms? Sure. Six-figure luxury sedans? Maybe. Everything else? Probably not.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is another boxy tribute to function over form; a superbly quiet hauler built for friends and family—who cares how it looks from the outside?
We give it a point for good front seats, second-row seats, cargo, and well, for being a minivan. It narrowly misses out on a perfect score because those third-row seats are made for kids only—you may be too tall for that ride, adults. It earns a 9 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
In most configurations, the Sedona features seating for eight with a second-row bench. Kia tries to have it both ways with the second row, with a Slide-n-Stow feature that tucks the seat backs closer to the first row, and seat bottoms that flip up near the seat backs. It leaves behind a low, level floor without the need to remove the seats, though there's not the internal length to do some of the things Chrysler's vans can do, such as haul a full-size sofa with the tailgate closed. A 4-by-8 sheet of plywood will fit in back, but only if it's loaded at an angle over the tipped forward second-row seats.
On top-level vans, Kia offers the option to remove the second-row bench and swap in captains chairs that can recline with retractable leg rests and head rests, which they call "first-class" lounge seats. These seats can also move a limited amount from side to side, to make a wider path from the front to the rearmost seats, but they can't be removed. The Sedona's exposed seat tracks are open to attracting a lot of gunk, but they're wide enough to be easily cleaned.
As for the third row, it's small and not suitable for teenagers or adults, unlike the Sienna and Odyssey back seats. Head room is shy and the entry space is barely a foot wide, even with the sliding seats moved forward. The third-row seat splits 60/40 and folds flat right into the floor.
There's ample storage in the Sedona, even in the dual glove box holders, one of which can be chilled for drinks. There's a huge, deep front center console and several usable storage bins around the doors and dash. Top-end Sedonas have a sliding armrest on the console and a tiered tray. USB and charging points are easily accessible, and some models offer high-powered USB ports and 115-volt outlets for charging on the go.
Explore the space
By the numbers, the Sedona is within a few inches of most of its rivals. The van is 201.4 inches long, with 120.5 inches between the wheels. The total space behind the front seats is 142 cubic feet, or 78.4 cubes with the third row folded down, and 33.9 cubes in the cargo area behind the third row. By comparison, the Honda Odyssey has fewer inches between the wheels, but is longer overall, with more space behind the first, second and third rows.
Our eyeballs and our usability scale tells us that the 2017 Kia Sedona is bigger than the Nissan Quest, on par with the Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but not as flexible as the new Chrysler Pacifica, which have very useful stow-away second-row seats.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is flexible and comfortable like a minivan should be.
The 2017 Kia Sedona is one of two minivans to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick or better award winner (the Chrysler Pacifica is the only other) thanks to added available advanced safety features this year.
It received five stars overall by the feds that bring it up to an 7 out of 10 on our safety scale. The only things holding it back? There's a lone four-star score in the rollover test, and to get the advanced safety suite requires shelling out a serious chunk of change. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
We like the Sedona's standard Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and a rearview camera. We'd also like to see the available surround-view cameras offered on a trim package other than the SXL—we're sold on the parking convenience they offer, not to mention the added safety inherent in a 360-degree view of parking-space surroundings.
In all cases, the Sedona packs a standard complement of airbags and stability control systems. Adding this year's available advanced safety systems (which helped it achieve TSP+ status by the IIHS) requires adding $4,300 in optional extras for LX models, $2,800 for EX models, and $3,900 for SX models. The advanced safety features are standard on SXL models, which is handy, but those minivans also start well north of $40,000.
The Sedona's safety scores are nearly perfect; adding advanced safety features will cost a pretty penny, though.
|Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating:||(5/5)|
|Overall Side Crash Rating:||(5/5)|
|Overall Side Barrier Rating:||Not Rated|
|NHTSA Roll-over Resistance Rating:||(4/5)|
|Side Impact Test||Good|
|Roof Strength Test||Good|
|Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint||Good|
|IIHS Small Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
|IIHS Moderate Overlap Front Test Results||Good|
The 2017 Kia Sedona is available in five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX, and SXL, that span a wide price range from very affordable to very opulent.
The base Sedona starts at $27,695 and includes Bluetooth, keyless entry, a 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, rearview camera, 17-inch wheels, and seating for seven.
That's good value, and good enough for a point over average in our books. Make it two for that touchscreen. It earns a 7 out of 10 for features, according to us. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Stepping up to LX models adds a second-row bench that increases seating capacity from seven to eight, power-adjustable driver's seat, power sliding rear doors, and power folding outside mirrors. Perhaps LX models are more notable for what's available, rather than what's standard. Most options, including leather seating, upgraded infotainment with Apple CarPlay, advanced safety features, and bigger wheels, are available as options on LX models, which start at just under $30,000.
EX models add a 7.0-inch touchscreen as standard that includes Apple CarPlay, a 3.5-inch driver information display buried in the gauges, a cooled glove box for drinks, leather seats, heated seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift knob, rear parking assist, and higher-power USB charging ports for tablets and phablets.
Opting for an SX model adds luxury touches to a minivan that we can get behind. Make fun of the exterior all you want, but most owners stare at their cars from the inside out, not the other way around. SX models upgrade to an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Infinity premium audio, power liftgate, power-adjustable passenger seats, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats.
Topping out at SXL models add the advanced safety suite as standard, keyless ignition, wood trim, 19-inch wheels, high-intensity headlights, a surround-view camera system. An optional "Prestige" package adds lounge-style seating in the second row, Nappa leather, and a dual power sunroof, for executive minivans.
The Sedona doesn't offer embedded data to feed the entertainment monster. All of its infotainment functions are dependent on your smartphone, an idea we like. The next-generation UVO infotainment system includes app capability from iTunes and Google Play (including compatibility with Pandora, iHeartRadio, and Yelp) plus SiriusXM Travel Link information on traffic weather, fuel prices, and more. UVO also uses Siri Eyes Free connectivity and Google Local Search systems to help find and navigate to points of interest.
Kia doesn't have much in the way of rear-seat entertainment—only top SXL models can get an entertainment screen, and even then, it's not all that impressive. We don't mind, honestly. Two iPads would be cheaper for families interested in plunking a screen in front of children, and they're probably more useful anyway.
The Sedona starts at sensible family hauler, and runs all the way up to luxobus with leather and first-class seats.
Fuel economy estimates change slightly for the 2017 Kia Sedona based on trim.
That's not the norm for many cars, but thankfully they don't swing too wildly. Most Sedonas will be close to 18 mpg city, 24 highway, 20 combined. That's good enough for 6 out of 10 on our fuel economy scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
The difference comes down to what kind of steering help the car needs. Less expensive models use a hydraulic assist that saps some of the engine's power, which drops the mileage slightly. Step up to SX or SXL models, and those cars use an electric assist that doesn't burden the engine. SX models are rated at 18/25/21 mpg, according to the EPA.
At the top, SXL models give back all the gains found by the more efficient steering system, mostly because they're heavier with more goodies. Those models are rated at 17/22/19 mpg.
That's not quite as good as the Chrysler Pacifica or Honda Odyssey, which are both rated at 22 mpg on the EPA combined cycle.
The Kia Sedona keeps up with the minivan pack, in terms of fuel efficiency.