By Nauman Farooq
The third-generation model of the Kia Sedona (Carnival, as it’s known in other parts of the world) has been with us since 2014, and not much has changed in all this time.
It has been five years since we last tested a Sedona, so will this model feel aged now, or can it still impress? Only one way to find out, by having another go at it!
Styling: Kia hasn’t fiddled with the styling in the last five years, and that’s fine! While minivans have never been the most attractive genre of vehicles on sale, the Sedona is quite nice. The styling is clean, with no fussy and unnecessary details – so while no one is likely to have a picture of a Sedona as their screen saver, it won’t put anyone off either!
Interior: The real beauty of the Sedona becomes apparent as soon as you open the door. This is a beautifully made minivan with lots of tech features – for entertainment, and safety – and offers more space than some of the apartments I’ve lived in!
In many minivans, while they can carry up to seven passengers, they offer little to no trunk space. Not so the case with the Sedona. Open the tailgate and you’ll find a large, deep well to swallow your strollers, grocery bags, etc. It has the well because the third-row of seats can fold into the floor, in that cavity, so when the seats are upright, it provides a lot of usable space for your shopping – that’s very neat!
Also neat is the amount of space in the second-row – these seats can also recline for added comfort, and even has its own climate control settings.
Up at the very front, the driver and passenger gets to enjoy proper captain’s chairs – with eight-way power adjustment. In the SX trim, you also get a touchscreen seven-inch UVO infotainment system which is easy to use, and has lots of features – and is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto friendly. The 360 degree camera makes parking this huge vehicle (201.4 inches long) quite easy, and on the highway, its adaptive cruise control made long distance travel quite stress free. This Sedona truly is a nice place to be in.
Powertrain: Powering this 2.1 tonne automobile is the Kia/Hyundai group’s familiar engine from the Lambda family. In the Sedona, it displaces 3.3L, with this V6 producing 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. All this power is just sent to the front wheels (no all-wheel drive option for this minivan) via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Performance & Driving Dynamics: Given its size and weight, and just 276 hp to play with, no one should expect the Sedona to be quick – and they’d be right!
It is fine keeping up with traffic, but it prefers to not be rushed. So, unlike the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – which actually has entertaining performance – the Sedona is best left to be driven calmly.
In fact, it doesn’t like speed, as its chassis starts to flex and vibrate at speed – something I had noticed even with the unit I drove five years ago.
Handling is also as you’d expect from something this big and heavy, but the steering is light, making it easy to toss into corners; but given the torsional rigidity of this platform, this vehicle is not designed to attack corners.
Ride comfort is quite good, and while there is tire noise in the cabin – can’t be avoided with a large box on wheels – it is no worse than any other minivan.
Fuel Economy: In my fuel economy test (where I drive a vehicle 170 km on the highway + 130 km in the city) the 2020 Kia Sedona averaged 11.1 L/100 km. That’s fairly good for a vehicle of this size, and I bet, in the summer, with a vehicle running on all-season tires (over the winter tires my tester was wearing), that number will drop down into the 10’s.
Pricing: The 2020 Kia Sedona in LX trim, starts from $31,995. The fully loaded SX Tech package will set you back $41,695. Given the price of its competition, the Sedona is priced very well.
Verdict: No one buys a minivan for driving excitement, they are bought for practical reasons, and this is where the Sedona really impresses.
The marketplace has very few minivans now, and in my opinion, minivans are more practical – since they offer more space – and are often far more fuel economical than the equivalent SUV.
Will the next Sedona be a hybrid or fully electric? Time will tell!