Review and road test of the Kia Sedona (2006 - 2012)
By Steve Walker
It's often the case that as a family grows, more and more is asked of the family car but less and less cash is available to buy that vehicle. It's a nasty feedback loop to get entangled in. Before you know it, you're in an aging city car overflowing with truculent children wondering where it all went wrong. It's as a preventative measure to just this type of quandary that the Kia Sedona rose to prominence. In offering a seven-seat MPV at a bargain basement price, Kia didn't do anything particularly groundbreaking. The genius was in ensuring that the product was actually rather good.
(5 dr MPV 2.7 petrol, 2.9 diesel [ GS, LS, TS])
The original Kia Sedona first hit the streets in 1999 but that car was replaced in 2006 by the model we're looking at here. This second generation Sedona was tasked with building on the success of its predecessor which had turned out to be something of a surprise hit in critical and commercial terms. Sensibly, this car didn't deviate too far from the magic formula with a large, versatile interior and not too much by way of complexity that might bump up the price. The engines were a 2.7-litre V6 petrol with 182bhp that served as an entry-point to the line-up and a more cost-effective 2.9-litre four-cylinder diesel with the same power output but a lot more torque and lower running costs.
The trim levels ran from GS to LS and TS, with the petrol engine only available in the entry-level specification. The diesel unit could also be specified with an automatic gearbox to make life that little bit easier.
What You Get
If you want an MPV with the clever flippy spinny seats that disappear into the floor as if conjured away by Paul Daniels, the Sedona emphatically is not your car. Both the middle and third rows of seats can slide on runners and it's possible to recline them and fold them in half but that's about the extent of the car's party pieces. The seats can come out too, of course, raising the carrying capacity of the Sedona from 364 litres to 1,753 when the rears come out and then 3,440 litres if you convert your Kia into a sexy two-seater.
This Sedona is a little shorter and a whole lot prettier than the original model, but repackaging the wheelbase meant that the cabin is significantly bigger. This means that there's more room for people and less sweaty brow when the time comes to parallel park the thing. A 'walk through' section between the front seats means that even very tall passengers can have Club Class style legroom in the second row. The need to carry a lot of bags in the back forces the rearmost seats to be slid to their foremost extent and this limits legroom for adults.
Fit and finish is better than you'd have any reasonable right to expect in a car of this price. Even the screwheads that hold the door pulls on are finished beneath hinged plastic covers. I've driven cars four times the Sedona's price where this would never have occurred to the manufacturer. The dash is slightly busy but there's a lot of equipment and a decent double-DIN sized JVC stereo. The twin sliding doors make access to the back easy and also mean that the kids won't be knocking cobs out of other cars in the multi-storey. Front, side and full curtain airbags are standard on all models while the front passenger bag can be deactivated if you have a child seat fitted. ISOFIX anchor points and anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution are also present on all versions.
What to Look For
The lack of complexity in the Sedona should count in its favour. There simply isn't as much to go wrong as there is in some other MPVs that come loaded with gadgets. The engines are large and relatively lightly stressed so there's likely to be little cause for concern in that department too.
(approx based on a 2007 Sedona 2.9 CRDi) Kia spares have gained an enviable reputation for good value, and replacement parts for the Sedona are no exception. Front brake pads weigh in at around £70, with rear shoes a bit pricier at around £90 a pair. A radiator retails at approximately £90, whilst an alternator will cost around £130. For a starter motor you'll be looking at just £60 although a full exhaust system is over £500.
On the Road
The 2.9-litre CRDi diesel engine that forms the backbone of the Sedona range has 185bhp, combined economy of 36.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 206g/km. The second generation common rail fuelling and variable geometry turbocharger help here and while the Sedona is no ball of fire, accelerating to 60mph in 15 seconds, it's acceptably refined at cruising speeds.
Accelerate hard and the engine becomes a little vocal. The brakes require a bit of a prod but they're powerful and reassuring when they clamp down on the ventilated front discs. The steering is notably better than the previous generation car, although handling is still spongy and a little vague. The upside of this is that the Sedona has ride quality to compare with the best big people carriers of its generation. Refrain from chucking it at a corner and it feels a class act. Taller drivers may want a little more height adjustment on the front seats but aside from that and an optional roof-mounted DVD screen that obscures rear view mirror vision, ergonomics are largely good.
Seven-seat vehicles are often bought out of necessity rather than choice. The Kia Sedona made its name by minimising the amount of cash buyers need to get a passable seven-seater on their driveway without forcing them to make too many compromises with regard to quality. Given the prices that second generation Sedonas can now be obtained for, it's actually surprising how competent the car is in virtually every respect. Handling isn't particularly sharp and the petrol engine is best avoided but go for a diesel model and after a few years of family life, you shouldn't be left wishing you'd spent bigger.
Kia Sedona (2006 - 2012) review by Steve Walker