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2006 Kia Sedona EX Review

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SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Kia

MODEL: Kia Sedona EX
ENGINE: 3.8-liter V6
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 240 hp @ 6000 rpm/250 lb.-ft. @ 4500 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic
WHEELBASE: 118.9 in.
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT: 202.0 x 78.3 x 69.3 in.
TIRES: P235/60R17 all-season
CARGO VOLUME: 141.5 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 18mpg city/25 mpg highway/17.2 mpg test
PRICE: $31,365 (includes $670 inland freight and handling charge)

One thing you notice about the Kia Sedona minivan is that it is incredibly loaded with features - almost overloaded.

With a sticker price of just over $31,000, the Sedona has leather seats, heated front seats, tri-zone automatic climate control to keep passengers in all three rows as comfortable as possible, a backup warning system that's invaluable when rear vision is limited, power sliding doors and a power liftgate.

There's more, but you'll have to wait.

With a 240 horsepower V6 engine under the hood, the Sedona isn't hurting for power. I remember my old full-size van that (I believe) wasn't that powerful yet was larger and heavier. The engine's power reached the front wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission with a column shifter. That's important, because a floor-mounted shifter, while "cooler" would clutter up the space between the front seats.

As it is, that space is used up by a tray that's convenient for holding a pair of cupholders and assorted smaller objects like cell phones, MP3 players, etc. But, that tray folds out of the way into the side of the passenger seat if it's not needed and you would prefer a clear passageway to the rear seats to attend to misbehaving kids, for example.

This is what impressed me about the Sedona; it's use of space. Go around to the back and lift the power tailgate and you'll see a deep well behind the third row seats. You can use this for cargo (we stacked four golf bags vertically, for example) or you can fold the third row seats into the well, leaving a flat floor.

The second-row bucket seats don't disappear, but you can always take them out if you need the extra cargo space. Again, in my full-size van, the two benches were removable, but they weighed about 60 pounds apiece and were a chore to remove.

Legroom in the second row is excellent. Third row legroom is very good, so you wouldn't be embarrassed to put your boss back there when everyone's headed out for lunch. Seating comfort in all three rows is excellent, with the front two rows offering the best, of course.

Handling isn't great, because of the aspect ratio of the van. However, it isn't worse than any of the other minis we've tested recently.

The instrument panel is clear and easy to rear. There's a huge speedometer, smaller tachometer, and smaller still water and fuel gauges. Even though the two smallest gauges are small, they're clear and get the information to you quickly.

The Sedona had a multi-function steering wheel with audio controls. However, the "mute" button was sometimes too easy to hit and we frequently turned off the audio. An owner might learn how not to hit this switch, though. Audio and HVAC system worked well, with the units being similar, if not identical, to the Hyundai Azera. Both are built by Hyundai.

Power junkies will appreciate the two power outlets up front (one is the lighter) and one in the rear cargo area. There are two cupholders in the center stack as well as one in each of the front doors. Storage cubbies include one at the bottom of the center stack, another just ahead of the shifter and two in the glove box. There's also a second "glove box" in front of the passenger that's occupied by all the literature.

For safety, there are front airbags, side curtain airbags that cover all three rows, and front seat-mounted side airbags.

Out tester came with a base price of $25,595. Added were a luxury package ($2,400) that included leather seat trim, heated front seats, seat and mirror memory, tri-zone climate control, sunroof, the backup warning system, and steering wheel audio controls. The premium entertainment package, that included a DVD player for the rear passengers added $1,700, while the power doors added another $1,000.

Kia offers a 10-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty that has to be respected. There's also a 5-year, 60,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty and roadside assistance. These must be respected.

2006 The Auto Page Syndicate