Memories of the 1980’s- in a good way.
Like most children of the 1980s, my childhood was spent being transported in my mother’s minivan. Before the SUV craze took soccer moms by storm, the minivan was what all the moms drove.
As much as I love and admire my mother, I’m not sure I’m ready to become her yet. Naturally, I was a tad skeptical of driving a minivan – the 2015 Kia Sedona – on my family’s most recent road trip through the Deep South. It turns out I need not have worried. The 2015 Kia Sedona couldn’t have been further from the minivans of my youth. It was stylish and luxurious while still designed with all the practical features families need.
Driving Experience in the 2015 Kia Sedona
My biggest complaint about most minivans in the past is that I felt like I was driving a small tank. I had no such issue with the Kia Sedona. In fact, it felt much more akin to driving a wagon, with a lower center of gravity than many other minivans.
Driving through Tennessee and Alabama in August meant we encountered some very heavy thunderstorms on our road trip. The Sedona’s handling held up on the very wet roads and gave me peace of mind as to its overall safety. The car handled well in one very dangerous situation when I needed quick braking on a steep highway downgrade when traffic came to a sudden dead stop. (Unfortunately, the tractor trailer a dozen cars back from us jack-knifed under similar circumstances, meaning we narrowly avoided a very bad wreck.)
Practical Features & Design
The car was obviously designed by a team that knows the needs of parents with kids well, particular parents of young kids like mine. Storage is everywhere. The center console has plenty of space for storing phones and other items needed within arm’s length. In fact, a small or medium purse could have easily fit in the space.
My favorite feature was the plentiful cup holders. I’ve never had so many cup holders within reach. Even though my family was juggling sippy cups, water bottles, Dad’s coffee, and Mom’s diet Coke, we never ran out of space for our beverages.
The center row bucket seats were another highlight. I found them a bit stiff to maneuver and move, but my 6 year old daughter was smitten with the recline feature and the very fancy footrests. She raved the entire trip.
The third row and trunk spaces were much easier to manipulate. All or only part of the third row can be folded down to expand the trunk space, which adds flexibility for families. In fact, the folding seats were easy enough to handle that I could have done it one handed with my toddler on my hip.
My only complaint about the trunk and the third row is space. The trunk is fairly small when the third row is up and legroom of the third row is tight. The trade off, of course, is the better styling of the car. I don’t anticipate that a family of 6 or 7 could really fit all the people and luggage they needed for a long trip into the Sedona when the third row is fully in use. Having to put a cargo rack on the top of the Sedona takes away some of the cool factor.
The model I drove included the SXL special technology package, a $2700 upgrade that includes lane departure and forward collision warning systems, smart cruise control, and a surround view monitor, among other features.
Overall, the technology on the car was mostly a blessing but was occasionally a bit of a curse. I fell in love with the backup camera and am going to have a very hard time going back to my cars back home without them. The assistance that the surround view monitor gives in parallel parking was kind of like magic. It made me regret ever learning to do it manually.
The blind spot warning system, however, proved to be a bit of an annoyance in heavy traffic. It gave quite a few false alarms when I was simply trying to merge in tight (but still quite safe) spaces. It worked well on the open road, but I could see it needing to be disabled if you lived in a major urban area where merging is practically a contact sport.
As with all navigation systems, the navigation system on the Kia Sedona has a bit of a learning curve but my family mostly mastered it after a week on the open road. The only feature we didn’t like was that it was a bit slow to respond to touch. While it worked well most of the time, it wasn’t as quick or as intuitive as simply looking for directions on an iPhone.
What We Loved
- So much storage.
- Cup holders galore (Did I mention how much I loved the cupholders?)
- Climate control that worked right away (even in the August heat of Alabama!)
- Truly luxurious reclining second row bucket seats with footrests.
- Adaptive cruise control was easy to use.
- Entertainment system featured Pandora pairing.
- Handsome styling made it feel less like a “mom car.”
What You Need to Know
- Seating for 7
- Uses regular gas
- Gas mileage: 17 MPG city, 22 MPG highway, 19 MPG overall
- Base price: $39,700. Price of the model we drove (with SXL Technology Package): $43,295.
- 10 year / 100,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Warranty
- 5 year / 60,000 Mile Limited Basic Warranty
- 5 year / 60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance
Note: The Kia Sedona was provided for a test drive; opinions expressed are my own.