The Kia Sedona has been on the sidelines while updated versions of the Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica have dominated minivan headlines in recent years. The Odyssey impressed with its refreshed chassis and new features, while the sleek and well-equipped Pacifica added a very first plug-in hybrid version. With this mid-cycle refresh, Kia hopes to remind everyone that the attractive Sedona still exists and offers a complete package.
On the outside, Kia wanted the Sedona to line up with newer models in its lineup, like the newly updated compact Forte. The van’s front fascia receives minor changes with exaggerated lines, sharper cuts and a pronounced chin, while the rear is tweaked with new chrome accents and a redesigned bumper. The front and rear headlights have been redesigned, with standard LED headlights on the first two of six trim levels, SX and SXL. The rear side door handles on the midrange EX trim and above now have a button to operate the sliding doors, and the 17, 18 and 19 inch wheels are all getting a makeover.
The interior has also been updated with more technology, more features and a new look. The instrument panel has been refined with minor nips and kinks, the instrument cluster has redesigned graphics, and a new wireless device charger is available for the center console. An electronic parking brake is standard on SX and SXL models. The seating arrangement remains the same, with configurations for seven or eight passengers. A two-seat second row offers reclining captain’s seats with footrests, while the three-seat second row uses Kia’s Slide-N-Stow configuration – the seat cushions pivot vertically as the bench slides forward, which allows them to move further away. – and the optional 60/40 split-folding third row continues to be retractable into the cargo floor.
Entertainment was a top priority for Sedona refreshment. Kia added an optional rear USB port accessible from the third row or cargo area and replaced the optional Infinity audio kit with a Harman / Kardon system. The Sedona already had Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity up front. Now, catching up with the modern era, the Sedona ditches the only overhead rear entertainment display for two 10.1-inch touchscreens, one mounted on the back of each of the front headrests. Using an upgraded dual-core processor, the entertainment system offers smartphone mirroring and wireless Bluetooth headset connectivity so rear passengers can stream video through the phone’s data plane.
On the security side, the Sedona was already fairly well equipped. The 2018 model currently offers forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and automated emergency braking. For 2019, Kia is adding a Driver Attention feature which, when the system feels the driver needs it, flashes and beeps to suggest a break on the road.
While the Odyssey and Pacifica have adopted advanced powertrain components such as a 10-speed automatic transmission or a hybrid version, Kia has only partially updated what’s under the Sedona’s hood. . Gone are the old six-speed automatic transmission in favor of a new eight-speed unit, but the power still comes from the same 3.3-liter V6 engine producing 276 horsepower.
Kia has been silent on pricing and availability, but we should find out more about that before sales start, possibly later this year.
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