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Heels on Wheels - 2016 Kia Sedona Minivan Review


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE SEDONA VEHICLE
The Kia Sedona with its many attributes can actually be quantified into a desirable three-row, seven-passenger vehicle – a minivan, yes, but one so smartly designed that it can help you overcome your stereotypes of what it means to be driving this often dreaded family vehicle.

I drove a 2016 Kia Sedona with the 290-horsepower 3.3-liter GDI V6 engine with 252 pound-feet of torque coupled with a standard six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic. Available in five trims – the base L, LX, EX, SX and SXL – my top-of-the-line SXL trim came with the following standard features: Nappa premium leather upholstery; tri-zone climate control; an upgraded Infinity audio system; UVO eServices; rear camera display; navigation; XM Radio; Bluetooth; power tailgate; push-button start; leather-wrapped steering wheel; rear park assist system; nineteen-inch chrome-alloy wheels. Total price as described without options came to $39,700.

Main competitors that have dominated the minivan class in the past include the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Town and Country. (SEE SIDE BY SIDE TOP OF LINE COMPARISON) Mostly a carryover from 2015, the Sedona draws attention any for the segment staples by offering extensive technology, style and performance features.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Described ‘first-class lounge seating’, the Sedona does offer luxurious second-row seats with retractable lower leg rests; but also gives the choice of a practical Slid-n-Stow seating system perfect for hauling loads. Significant interior volume and versatility define the cabin environment, with a generous use of soft-touch materials on the SXL trim (but the standard YES Essentials fabric upholstery plays up the Sedona’s practical and refined sides and is quite nice). One reason I steer friends and readers to Kia or Hyundai is the technology: the voice-activated UVO eServices has a fairly new integrated eight-inch touchscreen navigation system that supports Siri Eyes Free, Google searches, and apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio. Plus the Sedona is the first Kia vehicle to additionally offer four new eServices features including Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score. I do recommend the optional $2,700 Tech Package which adds Land Departure Warning, a surround view monitor, and Forward Collision Alert.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) names the 2016 Kia Sedona as a Top Safety Pick for a minivan with ratings of “Good” in all areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle a 5-Star rating. Standard safety equipment includes an advanced airbag system, traction control, electronic stability control, hill-start assist, and a revised independent front and rear suspension.

Cost Issues: The Sedona starts reasonable $26,400. A fully loaded SLX trim with a $2,700 optional Technology Package come in at $42,400. A top-of-the-line Kia Sorento SUV is $45,800.

Activity & Performance Ability: The Sedona features the same engine that’s inside the Sorento, Kia’s three-row SUV, which adds to its performance appeal. Kia has been perfecting is powertrain over the years – combined with enhanced rigidity and higher strength steel, it’s a pretty robust ride, and one that is surprisingly maneuverable in tight spaces. Extra comfort and space is the reason for opting for the minivan rather than Kia’s SUV, especially if there will be high traffic to the third row.

The Green Concern: The Sedona’s 3.3-liter V6 engine retains 17-city and 22-highway for a combined 19 miles-per-gallon. You could step down to the 2016 Kia Sorento L and LX trim’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque and a fuel economy of 20-city and 27-highway for a combined 23 miles-per-gallon.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
A flagship vehicle for the carmaker, the 2016 Kia Sedona uses alluring tech features, solid SUV-like performance, and loads of space to pursued those doubtful about the power of a minivan.

©2016 Katrina Ramser

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