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The Daily Drivers: 2016 Kia Sedona SXL

2016 Kia Sedona SXL
2016 Kia Sedona SXL
Published Nov. 17, 2016

The bottom line: If you're shopping for a minivan, the Sedona may not be the first name that springs to mind, but it should be part of the conversation, especially if you value styling and a comfy cabin.

Kia brought back the Sedona in 2015 to compete with the heavyweights in the minivan segment: Toyota, Honda and Chrysler. One thing quickly becomes evident if you spend any time in the Sedona, especially the top-of-line SXL trim: The Big 3 may have become the Big 4.

Appearance: Not much has changed since the Sedona was reintroduced. The styling is still bold — at least for a minivan — with a front end that reminds us of an SUV. The hood slopes down to the unique-finish mesh "tiger-nose" grille trimmed with chrome and upswept projecter-beam headlights. There's a "zig" in the belt line just behind the rear door that Lyra didn't like, but Peter found it a small design element that added some visual interest. Our Sedona had bright 19-inch chrome alloy wheels that complited the van's silver exterior paint.

Performance: The 3.3-liter, 276-horsepower V-6 is adequate for city driving, but the acceleration felt sluggish in situations such merging on the interstate. Lyra, who sometimes ferries her son and his soccer teammates, wonders how it would perform when fully loaded with passengers and equipment. (The estimated MPG is 17/22 and nothing to write home about.) The V-6 is mated to a somewhat sluggish 6-speed automatic. The ride is comfortable, but the handling and steering are a bit numb. If our take on the Sedona's performance sounds less that enthusiastic, know this: It's a minivan, not a performance car. Our Sedona came with the SXL technology package that added lane-departure warning system, forward collision-warning system, surround view monitor and smart cruise control.

Interior: This is where the Sedona shines, especially in the SXL trim, which hauls seven. (The other trims can fit eight). The SXL is so luxurious that it may give you pause about hauling around kids in dirty cleats. Premium soft-touch materials abounded in our Sedona's inviting Burgundy and ivory interior. Fit and finish are excellent. Our Sedona had the available First Class Lounge Seating with soft Nappa leather trim pop-up lower leg supports like your home recliner. These seats don't fold flat, unlike the ones in the lower trims. But the the second-row seats slide forward and back, as well as to the side. The Sedona has Kia's UVO infotainment system, which is user-friendly and one of our favorites. The third row — what the kids like to call the "way-back" — is a bit cramped and best reserved for them, but it does fold flat. A rear entertainment system is available as an option. Its screen is mounted on the back of the center console, which can make it difficult for the third-row passengers to see. The second-row cup holders are also on the console and abit low.

Our 3 favorites

Second-row seating: Kick back and relax in the First Class Lounge Seating while watching a movie on the rear entertainment system.

Shhhh: The cabin is library quiet.

Practical details: There is a a 110-volt power inverter plug in the rear cargo area, which is convenient for tail-gating or other outings. There is removable and rechargeable cargo-floor light that doubles as a flashlight. There are dual glove boxes, with the lower one also serving as a small chill box for drinks.

The bottom line: If you're shopping for a minivan, the Sedona may not be the first name that springs to mind, but it should be part of the conversation, especially if you value styling and a comfy cabin.

Our 3 favorites

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Second-row seating: Kick back and relax in the First Class Lounge Seating while watching a movie on the rear entertainment system.

Shhhh: The cabin is library quiet.

Practical details: There is a a 110-volt power inverter plug in the rear cargo area, which is convenient for tail-gating or other outings. There is removable and rechargeable cargo-floor light that doubles as a flashlight. There are dual glove boxes, with the lower one also serving as a small chill box for drinks.

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