Auto Nsider Review: 2016 KIA Sedona SXL

Don’t bet against KIA.

To borrow from Buick’s tag line from a few decades ago….“This is not your father’s Buick”….I’ll just say that this is not the KIA that you may remember, either.

 

Once known for building cheap cars, KIA is now taking home First-Place JD Power “New Vehicle Quality” Awards….and like kudzu, is rapidly moving into every corner of automotivedom.

 

Known now primarily for offering mid-priced cars and SUVs, you’ll soon see KIA taking on BMW with a new sport sedan….and thanks to their corporate cousin, Hyundai, KIA’s luxury K 900 sedan will continue to evolve into a true competitor for Mercedes, Lexus and their friends.

 

But for now, we’ll take a look at KIA’s Sedona mini-van…a category overshadowed by SUVs, but one which may well be on its way back.

 

Why?   Just like everything else on wheels, mini-vans are better than ever.   Full of function, connectivity…and they’re now more agile….better handling and more pleasing to drive.

 

Fiat-Chrysler just hit the streets with a formidable competitor, the Pacifica….and Honda will soon give chase with a re-designed Odyssey.

 

So….how does KIA’s re-designed in 2015 Sedona stack up?

 

Let’s just say that the Sedona doesn’t have to look nervous or guilty when parked next to one of its peers

 

The power, fit and finish, functionality and connectivity that you expect are all there now.

 

Sedonas come in five levels of trim….all powered by the same 276 horsepower V6 running through a 6-speed automatic…and able to tow 3,500 lbs.

 

Base models will start in the low $20’s….with most popular options like “pinch-free” power doors and power rear liftgate…even leather….available for a low-to-mid $30s window sticker.

 

Want more?

 

KIA’s top-of-the-line SXL takes you to luxury territory.  Perforated heated and cooled Naapa leather seat trim, second-row captains’ chairs that recline with  “Bentley-esque” footrests, too.    Quite a way to kick back and nap out while someone else takes the wheel!

 

Tri-zone climate, heated leather steering wheel, blind-spot detection, 19” alloys, dual sunroofs, and Sirius radio round out the SXL.

 

Features like traction-control, electronic stability control and tire pressure monitoring are now expected to be standard….and on the new Sedona, they are.

 

An additional $2,800 will get you Xenon HID headlamps, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, a surround-view monitor, smart cruise control, and a 115V power inverter in the luggage area.

 

Oh…..and after experiencing the Bentley-like rear limo seats, I forgot to mention the third-row “stow-and-go” easy to flip up and down seating.

 

All touches that you’d expect on any near-50K high-end vehicle….but as is KIA’s custom, available in a KIA store for 2-3 4thousand less than their competitors.

 

Our test SXL came in under 45K…..and didn’t seem to leave anything out….and even included a touch or two that others don’t have yet.

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