While crossover SUVs continue to lure buyers away from other types of automobiles, the Kia Sedona minivan soldiers on as an utterly capable vehicle well suited for family life. It offers excellent versatility and value, plus an enticing blend of amenities and available safety features. It’s also backed by a fantastic 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
For moving kids and cargo, minivans can’t be beaten. And frankly, there aren’t that many to choose from these days. Other than the Sedona, there’s the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna,and three FCA products: the Chrysler Pacifica, the Chrysler Voyager, and the Dodge Grand Caravan. A new 2021 Toyota Sienna arrives later this year with a gas/electric hybrid powertrain and available all-wheel drive.
Where does the Sedona rank in this mix? Middle of the pack. The Korean-built Kia Sedona minivan has pleasant styling, an attractive price, a proven V6 engine,and an outstanding warranty, as well as a long list of other standard features. But today’s most modern active safety features are reserved for only the top Sedona models.
Inside the Sedona, a traditional shift lever, not a panel with confusing buttons, is right beside you on the center console, below a decidedly upscale dash. The controls are easy to decipher and operate, and a 7-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The top Sedona SX model comes with an 8-inch touchscreen and navigation.
What’s New for 2021?
It’s a quiet year for Kia’s minivan. The entry-level Kia Sedona L has been discontinued, and the Venetian red exterior color is no longer available. Also, the camel-colored interior on the LX has been dropped. See the 2021 Kia Sedona models for sale near you
What We Like
- Attractive styling
- Generous features
- Unique second-row seats with flip-forward cargo mode
- Strong value
What We Don’t
- Unimpressive fuel economy
- No hybrid version
- Less spacious than some rivals
- Modern safety tech only on top models
The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2021 Kia Sedona at 18 miles per gallon city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined. These aren’t horrible numbers, but they’re not up to par with the V6s in the Honda and Chryslers, which are more powerful and more fuel-efficient.
All 2021 Kia Sedona minivans are front-wheel drive, and they’re powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine feels relaxed in this role, and one transmission remains available: a smooth 8-speed automatic. Towing capacity, at 3,500 pounds, is about what you’d need to tow a tent trailer.
Standard Features & Options
The 2021 Kia Sedona is offered in LX, EX, and SX trim levels, with 7- or 8-passenger seating. Last year’s base model, the L, has been discontinued.
The Sedona LX ($30,400, plus $1,120 destination) is equipped with dual power side doors, air conditioning, stain-resistant interior fabric, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, 12 cupholders,and 17-inch alloy wheels. Cruise control also is standard on the LX, along with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a 6-speaker stereo.
If you order a Sedona EX ($33,700), it comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, tri-zone air conditioning,and a power liftgate. Other noteworthy standard niceties include heated front seats, a cooled glovebox, and wireless smartphone charging. Standard safety tech on the EX includes a blind-spot monitor, a rear cross-traffic,and parking sensors front and rear. Automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control, we’re happy to report, are available as options on the EX.
The Sedona SX ($41,500) is quite a bit more expensive than the EX, but it does have a lot more standard equipment. Besides a sunroof, LED headlights and taillights, second-row captain’s chairs, and power front seats, the SX comes with an 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. Also significant: The Sedona SX has firmer sport shock absorbers and a thorough standard safety suite that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert,and a 360-degree surround-view monitor.
The greatest number of options are available on the mid-level Sedona EX. It can be ordered with the sport shock absorbers, as well as a smart power tailgate, a sunroof, a cooled glovebox,and a 115-volt inverter behind the center console. Moreover, the EX can be ordered with several good active safety features like automatic emergency braking, a lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
While a trailer hitch is available on all three trim levels, a dual-screen rear entertainment system can be ordered only on the EX and SX models
The Chrysler Voyager and Dodge Grand Caravan, for the record, are priced lower than the Kia Sedona. The Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna are priced higher.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Kia Sedona a 5-star overall crash-test rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives the Sedona its highest rating of Good in all crash-test categories and names it a Top Safety Pick+.
The 2021 Kia Sedona comes with six standard airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain). Key safety features (standard or available on some models) include rear cross-traffic assist, a lane-departure warning, a forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
Behind the Wheel
Inside, the Kia Sedona has an appealing upscale vibe, which is enhanced a bit by the placement of the shifter. While most minivans have a shift lever on the dashboard, the Sedona’s is between the seats on the prominent center console, just like in a crossover SUV.
There’s more to it than that, though. All the buttons and switchgear work with good precision and the materials throughout Kia’s minivan are impressive. While the previous Sedona was a bit generic, the 2021 model looks rich and refined, with a good sense of style.
Seat comfort is laudable in the Sedona, with just enough room for adults in the third row. The 8-passenger layout employs a removable middle seat for the second row. The second row also has a Slide-N-Stow feature that maximizes cargo space by allowing the seat to collapse up against the first-row seatbacks. Operation is straightforward.
On the road, Kia’s 3.3-liter V6 gets the job done with no major criticisms. It’s a solid engine that provides this minivan with sufficiently brisk acceleration, but its fuel economy is far from impressive. On a positive note, the shifts of the 8-speed automatic transmission are smooth and well-timed.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Dodge Grand Caravan — Yes, the Grand Caravan is still being built, and this proven machine continues to sell well because it’s priced well below $30,000. Not the van if you’re looking for modern safety technology.
2020 Chrysler Voyager — Chrysler’s Voyager is a de-contented version of the Pacifica minivan, so it looks good and has an attractive MSRP but not much in the way of advanced safety tech or other options.
2020 Chrysler Pacifica — The Pacifica is sleeker and more powerful than the Sedona, and it has a more stylish interior. It’s also available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). However, a loaded Pacifica costs thousands more than a similarly equipped Sedona.
2021 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.
2020 Toyota Sienna — The outgoing Sienna’s 3.5-liter V6 is strong, and this is the only current minivan to offer AWD. Emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and automatic high beams are standard on every 2020 Sienna.
2021 Toyota Sienna — An all-new Toyota Sienna arrives later this year as a 2021 model. All will feature a hybrid powertrain with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine supplemented by two electric motors. The rear wheels of the available new AWD model are driven exclusively by electric motors, not the gasoline engine.
Used Toyota Highlander Hybrid — While not a minivan, a used 2015-2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid will give you room for seven passengers, exceptional reliability, and great fuel economy without the soccer-mom minivan stigma.
Questions You May Ask
How many seats are there in the Kia Sedona?
The Kia Sedona is available as a 7-seater with center-row captain’s chairs, or as an 8-seater with a center row for three.
Where is the Kia Sedona minivan built?
Kia builds its Sedona in South Korea.
What’s the warranty on the 2021 Kia Sedona?
The Sedona has an excellent warranty. It has a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and an impressive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Is the 2021 Kia Sedona offered with all-wheel drive?
No. The Kia Sedona is a front-wheel-drive minivan. The 2020 Toyota Sienna and the upcoming 2021 model both are available with all-wheel drive.
Are the Sedona’s center-row seats removable?
No. The Sedona’s center row tilts and slides forward for extra cargo room, but it’s not designed to be removed.
Although we see the most value in the Kia Sedona LX, the availability of automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control in the Sedona EX makes it the more enticing family hauler, aided by a standard blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic assist. Find a Kia Sedona for sale