Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins
Here’s a neat little trick. Have someone blindfold and escort you to your new 2015 Korean people mover. Take a seat, strap in and grip the multi-talented steering wheel. Remove the blinder, open your eyes and reimagine the possibilities of a 20th century utilitarian vehicles that is cavernous and all-inclusive of transcendent style, invigorating mobility and technologically savvy for the task at hand. Yes, it’s still a minivan, but one that redefines convention of the most traditional family vehicle in the marketplace. And if you happened to see Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day this past weekend then you will get my drift. I’m pretty sure the calamity and misadventures of Steve Carell’s character, Ben Cooper, and his squad of five would have been squandered if they were rolling in a 2015 Kia Sedona.
LL Cool J once said “don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years!” This poignant verse brings relevance to the Korean automaker Kia who is celebrating their 20th anniversary in the United States. To keep the mood flying high the brand sold 535,179 new Kias in 2013 after debuting in 1994 with just two models. Now they boast twelve and have become as ubiquitous as pumpkins in the fall. Moreover, in April the company hit the 5-million vehicle mark and respectfully announced that 4 million are still on the road today. Their strategy of introducing design led products such as the new luxuriant Kia K900 is raising awareness of the brand in more ways than one while partnerships with global brands like the NBA keep them in the limelight.
I can proudly say I’m a Fit Father of two young girls — Mika and Aya — and that we started the wonder years off in a minivan. Regardless of status, my wife Misa and I came to the forgone conclusion that this mode of transportation would give us the best possibilities for convenience and safety on the road. The only problem was that our Nissan Quest literally rattled apart after just a few years of ownership. I’ve never seen a vehicle deteriorate in such a short amount of time. Our girls are now 11-years old and 8-years old and currently require a bit more pizzazz with their transportation. I know for a fact they regard themselves as one of the cool kids and the only way they’re signing off on a Rawlins minivan is if it’s just as hip as they are. No worries, the 2015 Kia Sedona is strikingly appealing with a low center of gravity, flowing lines, premium materials, available 19” chrome alloy wheels, proud and strong seats, a unique driver oriented console (shifter has been moved to center console), an 8” screen and Infinity audio. I also admire the spilt upper and lower glove boxes.
“The all-new Sedona is the final model to undergo Kia’s design-led transformation under the direction of chief design officer Peter Schreyer,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning, Kia Motors America. “Beneath the strong lines is a vehicle designed for today’s active lifestyles with more power than the previous Sedona, a longer wheelbase for improved leg room and unique seating configurations, including available ‘First Class’ second-row seats. Combined with intuitive technology and safety, the Sedona brings new levels of sophistication to a segment that’s been filled with bland and predictable practicality.”
Kia is remaining stout and resolute during a time when the minivan has found itself in a formidable position. In fact, the category has dropped about 53% over a 10-year period with manufacturers taking exodus like migrating birds and transitioning into the midsize CUV market. Kia says the Sedona blends CUV sportiness with minivan comfort. Perceptions of this segment stem from aspects that commingle comfort, safety, accommodation and capability. After testing the vehicle in Orange County California I wholeheartedly agree. Especially since I fit the buyer profile of a young, bi-modal family that is active, travels extensively, loves the outdoors and assigns recreational activities with top priority. In fact, after I submit this editorial piece I’m heading out for my Sunday morning mountain bike trail ride then coming back to fetch the kids for our joint family ride and picnic.
With five trim levels (L, SX, LX, EX and SX Limited) the new Sedona can be had in basic form as the “L” at $25,900 (same price as outgoing model) or up to $39,700 (MSRP) for the SX Limited model. My Deep Formal Blue Sedona SX Limited came in at $43,295 with the option of the $2,700 Technology Package with Xenon HID Headlights, Lane Departure Warning System, Forward Collision Warning System, Smart Cruise Control and Surround View Monitor which shows a picture of your vehicle on screen and any nearby vehicles or other objects in close proximity. Plus Kia offers their 10-year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty. Though, the most highly touted feature is the innovative First Class Lounge Seating with the footrest extension. After lying back while my partner drove I could have easily caught up on some well-deserved rest. Owners can opt for the seven or eight passenger Sedona. Keep in mind the seats fold flat and do not need to be removed and the rear features Fold-In-The-Floor 3rd row seats.
The van’s power is decent as Kia went for efficiency in the 3.3-liter DOHC GDI V6 engine with 276 horsepower, 248 lb.-ft. of torque and is paired with a 6-sped automatic transmission with Sportmatic. I would like to see a light turbo model to bring in more umph! With a family of five and some luggage the Sedona will struggle a bit uphill and when accelerating on highways. But with technology and ergonomics such as a very square interior cabin for storage, UVO eServices with navigation and rear back-up camera, middle row power windows, dual sunroofs, side curtain airbags, brake assist and a Smart Power Tailgate which opens when sensed by the key, the Sedona is just too smart for its own good.
Kia in most cases is always ahead of the curve when it comes to style, presentation and the amenities of their vehicles. Trust me, it is very hard to have a very bad day when you’re toting around town in the new Sedona!