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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

2015 Kia Sedona SX-L Review

Once my husband and I ticked off the 3 children check box we consciously chose to be a minivan family.  Our current minivan (2005 Honda Odyssey) is coming up on 10 years. Through all of those years it’s been reliable, practical and comfortable.  However it was with great anticipation that we got to review the Kia Sedona SXL since we’re in the market for a new van. It would be great to see what’s changed in the 10 years since we’ve had our minivan.

Smooth as Silk
First off, the Koa Sedona SXL is a slick, silky vehicle.  I have to say it truly handles much nicer than my Odyssey.  It was one of the smoothest rides I’ve ever experienced.  The electric power steering makes driving a breeze.  While my current van has a back-up camera, the Sedona has front and rear cameras that help during parking and exiting a parking spot.  The navigation screen displays both front and back views in a split screen so you can clearly see what might not be as visible just with the naked eye.  There’s the added benefit of an audio feedback system that lets you know if you’re getting close to an object.  That’s a great feature and very handy for those teen drivers.  It works not only in a tight parking spot but also while driving and changing lanes.

Ready for a Road Trip?
The Sedona delivers 276 horsepower and a super quiet and smooth drive.  Both active and passive safety features provide the utmost safety whether you’re going to the grocery store or a cross-country road trip. 

Driver View
The Kia Sedona was named Best New Car Design at the 2014 New York Auto Show.  It’s definitely a winner and was a dream to drive. The dashboard has loads of features.   The steering wheel has a bunch of buttons to maximize the safety of having 2 hands on the wheel at all times.  You can answer the phone, lower the media volume, and manage cruise control and other car settings.  The comfortable driver bucket seat allows for 2 different drivers to have preset settings so you never have to grumble about your husband changing the perfect seat height and mirror view.   The front passenger seat also has electronic control seat settings.  There is a sunroof in the front, which I find I don’t use much in my current van.  Both seats have heating and cooling settings – true comfort in the cockpit.  There’s also ample room to store commuter mugs, snacks, small bags and more in the center console.

Passenger View
My 3 kids tested the second row and marveled at the comfort.  Not only are there two captain chairs but they come complete with ottomans or foot rests that make traveling first class. The middle row also has a separate sunroof.  Perhaps that makes up for the lack of an entertainment center.  I don’t find the lack of an entertainment center a concern at all now that most kids have their own hand-held device whether it is a smartphone or tablet. 

Kia’s UVO eServices App
Kia’s UVO is a subscription-free media service offered by Kia Motors America.  Besides hands-free calls using your smartphone and the built-in Bluetooth you can also stream music, download apps from the UVO Download Center including Yelp and Google Maps and register your account to view maintenance information.  Available for both the iPhone and Android you can sync between the phone and car and take note between your parking location, get roadside help plan stops along your trip.

Doggy and Luggage View
The third row and trunk space offer lots of convenience you don’t find in an SUV.  You can fold both the single seat or double seat or just one at a time.  When flattened my only complaint is the floor is not completely level.  A flat surface would mean it would be easier to sleep in the vehicle of you were using it for camping or to transport something that required a level surface.  My two big dogs are often relegated to the back of the van so having a level surface means more comfort.  I would add some blankets to make up for the bump in the back.  But beyond that minor inconvenience there’s plenty of room to pack, store and move lots of stuff.  Again, something most SUVs are incapable of carrying as much as a minivan.  That to me is reason enough to go with a minivan.

For me it was a welcome bonus to have an trunk door that opens with the click of a button on the remote.  You can open it with the remote or by pressing a button above the license plate of the trunk door.  Then simply press the button on the base of the door to gently close.  My two dogs, a Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever, had no problem jumping in the back of the van. The height of an SUV is typically too high to allow your dogs to jump in the back.

Nice to Have’s
A few of the niceties with the van include two USB ports in front, one in the back and two 110v outlets (front and rear).  The outlets are very handy when camping, charging or using a device that does not have a USB port.  On more than one occasion we’ve used someone else’s outlet to blow up our mattress when camping or use a blender at a tailgate.  So it’s a great ‘nice-to-have’ feature.

Some other awesome features include the cooling glove box that comes standard on the EX, SX and Limited and optional on the LX.  The trunk light is detachable for those times when you need a flashlight – ingenious!

The exterior has a lot to offer too.  The sleek looking grill mimics the lines of the windshield.  There are interior window shades and the overall comfort level is outstanding.  It rated very high in the crash test scores with an overall score of 8 out of 10. 

What’s the Bottom Line?
After driving the Kia Sedona SXL for a week, I have to say we are seriously considering buying or leasing this minivan as our next vehicle.  While Toyota and Honda minivans are often the top pick, their many recalls and hefty price-tags make the Kia Sedona is definitely a heavy contender. 

For more on the Kia head over to US News 2015 Car Rankings or Kia’s website.

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