We’ve owned many minivans over the years – a few Honda Odysseys, a Mazda MPV, a Toyota Sienna, and a Ford Windstar. Each of these minivans had some positive and some negative features. Each minivan we owned had one thing in common: a big car that could carry many children and have doors that automatically opened with the push of a button. We never felt like a minivan family, we always had a second car that was not a minivan on purpose. When we needed to all ride together somewhere, we would take the minivan, but otherwise we would really prefer driving a different type of vehicle. We always viewed owning a minivan as a compromise. We needed the space for the kids while they were growing up, so we were willing to sacrifice comfort and convenience for the ability to have the kids spread out and not be on top of each other every time we needed to go somewhere (“He’s touching me” “She’s on my side” “I need to charge my iPad”). We’ve never owned a Kia of any kind and the ones we had driven as rental cars in the past, all had been less than impressive. When we were invited to test drive the Kia Sedona SXL minivan we were not expecting to be very impressed. Boy, were we wrong.
The Kia Sedona SXL minivan almost needs to be in a class by itself, as a luxury, comfortable, fun to drive vehicle that everyone will enjoy riding in. The Kia Sedona SXL is a part of a new category called a MPV, or a multi purpose vehicle. We were able to take a few short trips with the kids and barely a peep was heard for the majority of the trip. It was a pleasure to drive. The driver’s seat felt like one of the leather massage chairs you see at Brookstone. Plus, Kia included every safety feature imaginable. One of the things that stood out to us was the around-view camera. The days of just a rear camera are over. The rear view camera was easy to see, easy to use, and we could back up the car with a confidence that we could see everywhere around us. Not only was the camera view from the rear of the car, but also the area that surrounded you. This was especially helpful when you usually can only see directly behind you, but maybe your child had dropped their glasses, or the family dog had been standing next to the car. My kids sometimes leave their backpacks lying right next to the car. None of these would be problems with this all around camera technology. You also could use the around view camera to fit perfectly into a parking space. This car has earned a 5 star crash test safety rating from the NHTSA. You know what else is so cool? The car knows when you are approaching the trunk with the keys and remote in your pocket and it OPENS UP FOR YOU without having to push any buttons. Moms holding babies and groceries, this is super cool technology you will use daily!
The seats were incredibly comfortable for the driver, but also for the passengers. The driver’s seat was large and had many different adjustments which would allow different drivers to be comfortable. The seat was just a little wider than most driver’s seats which made a huge difference in the comfort for the driver. I have an issue with car designers who don’t give drivers a good place to rest their arms while driving. I find that this area of the car can have hard plastic which digs in and is quickly uncomfortable or sometimes the middle arm rest can be too high or too low which can lead to your arm falling asleep. Somehow Kia got this middle console arm rest absolutely perfect for me. The dash board area was intuitive and easy to use while driving. The buttons on the steering wheel were well placed and made everything I wanted to do easier since they were all within the distance of my thumbs. The entire cockpit area was incredibly well designed by the Kia team. There are some other very unique features that are included with the Next Generation UVO infotainment and telematics system, including: geofencing, speed alert, curfew alert and driving score. These are useful if you have a new teen driving your car, or even your elderly parents. You can also download iTunes, Google Play, Yelp, Pandora, IHeartRadio and other apps from the Kia App store. Finally, the headlights on this vehicle are so bright and have a great appearance even in the daytime. The projector beam headlights with LED positioning made nighttime driving a breeze and gave crisp illumination of the road as you drive through the darkest places.
The 2nd row seats were far and away the biggest hit with our kids. They reclined, they had foot rests, they swiveled, they had arm rests, cup holders and more. In short, they were amazing. The kids didn’t want to leave the car when we got somewhere (“Mom, can we just stay in the car and read?”). The seats also came with optional heating and cooling to keep you comfortable in all seasons. The third row was fairly typical. We asked two of our bigger teens to ride back there and they told us it was really comfortable back there too (I think the exact words were, “Yeah, its fine back here but I want the middle row next time.”). The second row headrests are airplane style winged head rests, super comfortable for the taller people who might need to sit in the back. The dual sunroofs were also a big hit with the kids. The weather was perfect for this and we took advantage of having them open.
This car has a very smooth ride and feels great on the road. It is a perfect option for those people who are not excited about driving a minivan, but need a big car. This car provides a great performance and an all new engine. Prices range from $25,900-$39,000 depending on what upgrades you add to the car. Combine great performance, good fuel economy (about 24-25mpg) and a good price and you have a winning combination. If you are in the market for a minivan, you really should try this MPV non-minivan vehicle. It is comfortable, spacious, luxurious, and if you don’t look in the rear view mirror, you might even forget you are driving a minivan for a few minutes.
If you are a visual person, and you would like to see the 2015 Kia Sedona SXL that we drove, please check out our video here:
All in all, we give this “minivan” or multi purpose vehicle a huge thumbs up and a 5 star rating from us. We hope you enjoyed this car review, stay tuned for more car reviews coming soon!