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2017 Kia Sedona: New Car Review

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author photo by Autotrader December 2016

Even though Ford, GM and Volkswagen have all backed away from the minivan game, Kia still offers a family-friendly minivan, and we think it offers a number of attractive features. Although the current benchmark for styling and handling is the new Chrysler Pacifica, the 2017 Kia Sedona offers similar styling and features, but with a better price and longer warranty.

Just one look, and you can tell from the Sedona's assertive exterior styling that it means business. This is a distinctively good-looking van, with muscular features that Kia says are inspired by crossover SUVs. Inside, you'll have all the features that minivan buyers expect, along with a snug driving position that puts the shift lever beside you on the console, like in a crossover. The look of the dashboard is decidedly upscale, including the buttons, the gauges and the materials. The Sedona also comes standard with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Is the 2017 Sedona the best minivan you can buy? We're not ready to go that far, but it's certainly a competitive minivan for the money. This is the first Sedona able to go toe-to-toe with the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna, and that's a big win for Kia.

What's New for 2017?

For 2017, Kia offers autonomous emergency braking on all but the base L trim. LX and EX trims offer UVO3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while new options for the upper trims include Dynamic Bending Headlights and an acoustic windshield.

What We Like

Distinctive styling; generous features; unique second-row seats with flip-forward cargo mode; strong value

What We Don't

Unimpressive fuel economy; narrow rear-quarter windows limit side vision

How Much?


Fuel Economy

All Sedona minivans employ front-wheel drive and a 3.3-liter V6 engine generating 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic.

Fuel-economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency start at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for the L, LX and EX trim levels. The SX takes it up a notch to 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy, but the SXL drops to 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy. Overall, these aren't horrible numbers, but the Odyssey's are significantly better, as are the new Chrysler Pacifica's -- the latter also offers a plug-in hybrid model.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Kia Sedona is offered in L, LX, EX, SX and SXL trim levels, with 7- or 8-passenger seating.

The L ($27,695) comes standard with features such as steel wheels, manual sliding doors, rear parking sensors, a rear backup camera, a height-adjustable driver's seat, second-row seats that flip forward against the first-row seat backs to increase cargo space, air conditioning with a rear-passenger control panel, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio, a USB port and a 4-speaker audio system with satellite radio.

The LX ($29,745) also receives alloy wheels, roof rails, LED running lights, power-folding mirrors, rear privacy glass, power-sliding doors, 8-passenger seating, a power driver's seat and a 6-speaker audio system.

The EX ($34,495) throws in larger 18-inch wheels, fancier LED running lights, fog lights, heated mirrors, a power lift gate (with programmable height adjustment), heated front seats, keyless ignition, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 3-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a cooled glove compartment, rear sunshades and UVO3 eServices with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto.

The SX ($37,795) boasts LED taillights, driver memory settings, second-row captain's-chair seating, a power passenger seat, heated seats (first and second rows), cooled front seats, driver-selectable steering and transmission calibrations, an upgraded color trip computer, an 8-in touchscreen with navigation, an Infinity audio system with eight speakers and HD Radio, a voice-command system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert.

The SXL ($42,795) throws in larger 19-in wheels, auto-leveling HID headlights, a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, an Around View Monitor, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.

The LX offers the Advanced Technology package, which adds a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a supervision gauge cluster, autonomous emergency braking, dual heated power mirrors, forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning. The Essentials Premium package brings Smart Key keyless entry and push-button start, a cooled glove box, front and rear parking sensors, roof rails, leather seating, heated front seats, second- and third-row sunshades, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

For the EX, an Advanced Premium Technology package includes the contents of the LX's Advanced Technology package and adds driver's-seat memory and power lumbar support, an 8-way power passenger seat and heated second-row seats.

The SX trim offers the Advanced Touring package with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, Dynamic Bending Headlights, automatic high beams, HID headlights, a 110-volt outlet, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, a surround-view monitor, an acoustic windshield and a heated steering wheel.

For the SXL, the Prestige package brings Nappa leather seating, reclining second-row seats with leg-rest extensions and dual power glass sunroofs.

All trims can be outfitted with a tow hitch and a rear-seat entertainment system.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the Sedona a 5-star overall crash-test rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Sedona its highest rating of Good in all crash-test categories and names it a Top Safety Pick.

The 2017 Sedona comes with anti-lock disc brakes, stability control and six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Options include a surround-view monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning and a forward-collision warning system, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Behind the Wheel

In our interior evaluation, we were impressed by the 2017 Sedona's upscale vibe. The placement of the shifter definitely has something to do with it. Most minivans have shift levers on the dashboard, but the Sedona's is between the seats on the prominent center console, just like in a crossover. There's more to the high-quality interior than that, however. The buttons and switchgear look like they've been yanked from the Cadenza luxury sedan, and the materials are easily class-competitive. The previous Sedona was all about being generic, but the new one's not afraid to stand out.

Seat comfort is solid all around in the Sedona, with enough room for full-sized adults in the third row. The optional 8-passenger layout utilizes a removable middle seat for the second row, and the second-row seats have a Slide-N-Stow feature to help maximize cargo space, collapsing upright against the first-row seatbacks. Operation is pretty straightforward, and we like that the Sedona doesn't require the back-breaking task of removing the second-row seats to achieve full cargo capacity. The only letdown is the SXL's optional lounge seats, which don't offer Slide-N-Stow, so if you plan to haul a lot of stuff, this option probably isn't the best fit.

On the road, the 3.3-liter V6 sounds a bit coarse at higher revolutions per minute, but in general, it's well-behaved. Acceleration is sufficiently brisk, with fuel economy acceptable but somewhat disappointing for a relatively new model. Road noise is noticeable but stays at reasonable levels on most surfaces. We found the ride rather firm with the SXL's 19-in wheels aboard; for optimal ride comfort, stick with the 18-in (EX and SX) or the 17-in wheels (L and LX).

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Chrysler Pacifica -- The Pacifica is much sleeker-looking, offers a more powerful engine, more stylish interior and the option of plug-in hybrid model. However, a loaded Pacifica costs thousands more than a similarly equipped Sedona.

2017 Honda Odyssey -- The revised 2017 Odyssey has the best fuel economy of the bunch, and its driving dynamics and advanced safety features are highly refined.

2017 Toyota Sienna -- The Sienna's 3.5-liter V6 is the strongest and most satisfying engine in this segment, and the 2017 Sienna is the only minivan to offer all-wheel drive. You won't find autonomous braking, and only the most expensive trims offer adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning.

Used Mercedes-Benz R-Class -- A 2010-2015 3-row R-Class was basically a luxury minivan with four conventional doors instead of a couple of sliding doors, and it's brilliant to drive. Look for the BlueTEC turbodiesel model for better fuel efficiency and low-end torque.

Autotrader's Advice

We see the most value in the Sedona's reasonably priced LX trim level. You'll have cloth upholstery instead of leather, so it'll be one less thing to worry about. You also have a power driver's seat, alloy wheels and power-sliding doors, and you can add autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and heated side mirrors while staying under the $35,000 mark.

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2017 Kia Sedona: New Car Review - Autotrader