Kia has been busy during the last few model years by introducing a succession of important new models. One recent addition is the Sedona, the first minivan from the South Korean automaker to reach the U.S. market.
Because Kias minivan debuted as a 2002 model, changes are modest for the 2003 model year. New rear combination taillights have been installed, and a trailer hitch is available. The LX edition switches from a cassette player to a CD unit.
Following the lead of its other models, Kia promotes the front-wheel-drive Sedonas price and value. The automakers Long Haul Warranty covers the powertrain for 10 years or 100,000 miles.
Kias minivan broke no new ground in styling, so its similar to the competition. Sleek and integrated in appearance, the Sedona has a character line down its sides. A long, sloping hood leads into a horizontal-bar grille that sits between multireflector headlights. Body-colored bumpers, mirrors and bodyside moldings are installed.
Dual sliding side doors are standard. The step-up EX model adds a body-colored roof rack, fog lights, alloy wheels and additional chrome body trim.
The Sedona seats seven occupants on bucket seats in the first row and benches in the back. The second- and third-row seats slide fore and aft and can be reclined or removed. Bucket seats go into the second row of the EX model, which also has an eight-way power drivers seat with lumbar support.
Standard LX equipment includes front and rear air conditioning, twin glove boxes, power windows, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, a tachometer, an intermittent rear wiper/washer and rear privacy glass. The EX model adds such extras as heated mirrors, power rear-quarter windows, lighted vanity mirrors, a keyless entry system and a cassette/CD stereo. Only a handful of options are offered, including a power tilt/slide moonroof, leather upholstery and a programmable garage-door opener.
Under the Hood
A 3.5-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine develops 195 horsepower. The V-6 runs on regular gasoline and drives a five-speed-automatic transmission.
Dual front airbags are standard, but side-impact airbags are not available. Antilock brakes are optional. Child-safety seat anchors are installed in the second row.
The Sedona is comfortable, smooth riding, refined and energetic it scores high in each important minivan attribute. Taken as a whole, the Sedona ranks as top-notch even if it doesnt reach far above the pack in any specific category. Take its modest sticker price into consideration, and Kia clearly has another high-value model to be reckoned with.
The Sedona takes off in a hurry. Even when trudging up long grades, the V-6 pulls the minivan along effortlessly. The transmission responds smoothly, and theres only moderate delay when a downshift is necessary. The Sedona is exceptionally quiet, and it handles predictably. Not only is steering pleasantly precise, but its also easy to drive.
Most of this minivans seats are comfortable and spacious, but the second-row seats are a bit hard. Getting into the drivers seat isnt quite as easy as it is in some minivans, and the estimated gas mileage lags behind the competition. But those are about the only quibbles that have emerged for Kias appealing, if unexceptional, minivan.