2012 Kia Sedona Minivan - FROM $24,900
Although still an excellent, feature-laden minivan, the 2012 Kia Sedona lags behind revamped rivals and begs for the upgrade treatment recently given to other Kia models.
What's New for 2012
The 2012 Kia Sedona carries over unchanged.
Kia might need to revisit some landmark legislation from the first Bush II administration, for the automaker has clearly left a child behind. While busy overhauling its Optima and giving fresh legs to its Sportage, Sorento and Rio models, Kia has left the Sedona minivan to languish outside the company's halls of engineering and design. That's a shame, because the 2012 Kia Sedona packs the kind of features, conveniences and warranty in a package that from more established competitors would cost additional thousands.
The neglect of the Sedona is especially critical in light of the redesigned minivans from Chrysler, Dodge, Honda and Toyota. In comparison, Kia gave its van a slight power bump and some minor styling tweaks last year. For 2012, the Sedona gets only a few different exterior colors and an optional rear-seat entertainment system for both trim levels. It's still an exceptional value, but the Sedona suddenly looks a little tired within its class and even within its own brand family.
Ultimately, the 2012 Kia Sedona is still a smart pick if you want a safe and comfortable minivan that won't bust the bank. But the reality is that the Honda Odyssey, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna offer a number of selective advantages, including better fuel economy, more enjoyable driving dynamics, fresher interior designs and superior resale value. There are also the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, laudable efforts from the home team.
If you want a minivan that offers a lot for less, the Sedona still deserves a look. As for us, we'll be waiting until Kia gets around to giving the Sedona the redesign it deserves.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 Kia Sedona is offered in LX and EX trim levels.
Standard LX features include 16-inch wheels, roof rails, keyless entry, full power accessories, rear parking sensors, front and rear-air conditioning, a fold-down table between the front seats and removable second-row captain's chairs. Also standard are 60/40-split fold-flat third-row bench seats, cloth upholstery, a tilt steering wheel with audio controls, cruise control, Bluetooth and a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo with satellite radio and a USB/auxiliary input jack. A rear seat DVD entertainment system is also available.
Upgrading to the EX trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated outside mirrors, a power tailgate, power rear quarter windows, power-adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a trip computer and wood interior trim. The EX also includes dual power-sliding doors, chrome exterior trim, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a rearview camera. These features, along with 16-inch alloy wheels, are also available to LX buyers through the Power package.
Additional options on EX models are bundled into packages. The Luxury package adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, power-adjustable pedals, driver-seat memory and tri-zone automatic climate control. Upgrading to either the Premium Entertainment package or Navigation package (you can't get both) requires the Luxury package first. The former package includes a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a 10-speaker Infinity audio system with an in-dash six-disc changer, while the Navigation package adds a navigation system and eight-speaker Infinity audio.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 Kia Sedona is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 271 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is the only available transmission. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.
Standard safety features for the 2012 Kia Sedona include antilock brakes with brake assist, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The Sedona earned the top "Good" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in frontal-offset and side-impact tests.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside the cabin, the 2012 Kia Sedona features a modest design that's plain but not unattractive. Most interior materials have a more premium feel, but some elements -- such as instrument bezels, rings and knobs -- feel a little flimsy, underscoring the advantage held by the Sedona's redesigned competitors. Gauges and controls are intuitively placed, with the exception of the haphazardly arrayed manual controls for the climate system.
All three rows of seats provide adequate headroom and legroom, and they're comfortable enough for long-distance road trips. Small storage bins and pockets are plentiful, providing storage for everyone's bottles, cups and portable distractions. The 60/40-split third-row seat folds into the floor and the second-row seats can be folded down at the seatbacks or removed entirely, yielding a competitive 142 cubic feet of maximum cargo space.
The 2012 Kia Sedona's 3.5-liter V6 generates plenty of power for family and domestic shuttling duties, and like the Honda Odyssey, the Sedona handles well for a minivan. Its commendable cornering feel offers confidence enough to weave around the road's unexpected obstructions. Ride quality doesn't suffer any for the Kia's heightened reflexes either, as the cabin keeps calm and quiet on the highway and over rougher pavement.