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2019 Kia Sedona: New Car Review

The 2019 Kia Sedona minivan offers a nice blend of amenities, safety, versatility and value, something any growing family can appreciate. While the SUV craze continues to lure customers away from other forms of transportation, there is no getting around the minivan’s overall superiority when it comes to easily moving around kids and cargo. There’s a short list from which to choose, however, so the Sedona doesn’t face much in the way of competition. The Honda Odyssey leads the pack in resale and reliability, while the Toyota Sienna is the only minivan to offer the option of all-wheel drive. The stylish Chrysler Pacifica is the only one to offer a plug-in hybrid, while the Dodge Grand Caravan lays claim to the lowest price minivan you can buy. So where does the Sedona fall? Well, it offers the best warranty, one of the most powerful standard engines, a long list of standard features and a really great price. In other words, smack dab in the middle of the pack.

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.

What’s New for 2019?

For 2019, the Sedona gets a mild makeover, sporting a new front end and revised headlights that include LED units on the SX trim. New features include wireless charging, a one touch open button on the sliding side doors, larger 10.1-in viewscreens for the rear seat entertainment system and a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The SX Limited trim is no longer offered.

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?

$28,245-$45,000

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 an 8-speed automatic and towing tops out at 3,500 pounds.

Fuel-economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency start at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Overall, these aren’t horrible numbers, but the Odyssey’s are significantly better, as are the Chrysler Pacifica’s — the latter also offers a plug-in hybrid model.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Kia Sedona is offered in L, LX, EX and SX trim levels, with 7- or 8-passenger seating.

The L ($28,245) comes standard with features such as 17-in alloy 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 7-in color touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a USB port and a 4-speaker audio system with satellite radio.

The LX ($31,045) also receives alloy wheels plus 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 ($34,345) throws in larger 18-in 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 wireless charging. Also standard are blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.

The SX ($42,145) boasts LED headlights, fog lights and 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, forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, driver attention alert and an electric parking brake.

The EX premium package adds a power sunroof, a power lift gate, forward-collision warning and emergency braking, lane-departure warning, driver attention warning, adaptive cruise control, 110-volt outlet, power folding outside mirrors, heated outside mirrors, one touch up/down front and rear power windows, tri-zone climate control, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar, a 4-way power passenger seat and more.

Safety

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 2019 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 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.

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.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Chrysler Pacifica — The Pacifica is much sleeker-looking, offers a more powerful engine, is more stylish interior and the option of plug-in hybrid model. However, a loaded Pacifica costs thousands more than a similarly equipped Sedona.

2019 Honda Odyssey — The Honda Odyssey has more power, a larger and more versatile interior and better fuel economy than the Sedona. Its driving dynamics and advanced safety features are highly refined.

2019 Toyota Sienna — The Sienna’s 3.5-liter V6 is the strongest and most satisfying engine in this segment, and the 2019 Sienna is the only minivan to offer AWD. Emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams all come standard on every Sienna.

Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid — While not a minivian, a used 2015-2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will give you room for seven passengers, an exceptional reliability rating and great fuel economy, plus no soccer-mom minivan stigma.

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. However, if you want autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and heated side mirrors, you’ll need to move up the EX or the SX trims to get them.

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