THE PROS AND CONS
- WHAT’S HOT: 5-year/100,000 km warranty on almost everything
- WHAT IS NOT: No DVD system available
I have confessions to make. I am not a relative and rarely carry anyone other than my designated passenger. If I have a lot of stuff to haul, I usually throw it in my van. But at the same time, I always know that if you need to move a lot of people and their cargo, nothing is better for the job than a van.
I take a road trip every year where I break character by driving two passengers, luggage, and several boxes of auto parts for 10 hours each way, and over the years I’ve taken all kinds of vehicles. Even crossovers and SUVs can’t beat a van for making it easier for everyone to get in and out and pack all the goods inside.
My car this time was Kia’s Sedona, which got a complete redesign for 2015 with a new chassis, engine and styling, and is unchanged for 2016. The makeover replaced the old 3.5L from the Sedona by a new 3.3 L which, although smaller, is more powerful.
It’s hard to compare minivans because many are advertised with deep discounts or incentives, like Dodge’s $21,000 Grand Caravan. When you compare MSRPs, however, Kia’s starting price of $27,695 is the lowest of them all, or $300 less than the Dodge’s factory price.
RELATED: 2015 Toyota Sienna Review
It’s a handsome minivan, inside and out, especially with my tester’s premium seven-passenger SXL-Plus trim line, which includes leather upholstery, dual sunroof panels and second-row captain’s chairs with swing-out legrests that turn them into loungers. The dashboard and front center console look more like a crossover than a minivan, but it all comes down to personal preference. A full-length front console like this gives you more room to store small items within easy reach, but the shorter consoles on Toyota’s Sienna or Honda’s Odyssey give you floor space. at the front to put your purse or bag so it’s close at hand.
The Sedona’s third row seats can be lowered to create a flat load floor behind the second row. The captain’s seats slide forward and fold in half, while the second-row seats in an eight-passenger vehicle can be tipped forward to provide more cargo space, and the small seat central in this configuration can be completely removed. Only Dodge’s Grand Caravan and Chrysler’s Town & Country have second-row seats that fold completely into the floor.
The Sedona comes with plenty of features for the price, even in its base L trim level. second row power windows, privacy glass, satellite radio, illuminated mirrors, rear seat climate controls and driver’s automatic up. the window.
At the other end of the scale, my $46,195 top tester included automatic high beams, cooled front seats, navigation, heated steering wheel, 360 degree parking camera, lane departure warning , blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control that maintains a preset distance from the vehicle in front, though many other automakers have overcome the jerky operation this one presents.
The Sedona’s engine works effortlessly to haul a full house, and it had no trouble tackling very steep inclines, even with three adult passengers and less than 150 kilograms of cargo (old car parts are heavy! ). Its advertised fuel economy rating is among the highest in the segment, although I found my combined fuel economy rating of 10.4 L/100 km when the minivan was heavily loaded to be very good. And while its ride is smooth and very comfortable, the suspension is a little soft and has a bit of body roll when cornering. Its competitors feel much calmer, especially those from Toyota and Honda, which have much quicker and more precise steering response.
Even so, with test results to match, the Sedona and Honda Odyssey are the highest-scoring minivans in crash tests conducted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Sedona and Odyssey’s identical scores earned them “Top Safety Pick” awards for 2016 (Toyota’s Sienna got it for 2015 but with a score slightly lower and, at press time, hadn’t been rated for 2016).
Of all the vehicle segments, minivans are probably the most likely to be purchased based on price and convenience above all else. The Sedona could benefit from a little more sophistication from the steering, but considering what you get for what you pay, it definitely needs to be tested when considering these unsexy but ultimately very sensible alternatives to SUVs and crossovers. .
TABLET INFORMATION BOX:
BASE/TESTED PRICE: $27,695/$46,195
MOTOR: 3.3L V6
FUEL CONSUMPTION: City 14.2 L/100 km, highway. 10.5 L/100 km, tested 10.4 L/100 km (SXL version tested)
WEB LINK: Kia.ca
Dodge Grand Caravan — Base price $27,995 — Factory rebates drive this minivan’s base price even lower
Toyota Sienna — Base price $31,040 — The only minivan available with all-wheel drive