Minivans are hardly the coolest kid on the block anymore. CUVs, with their “normal” hinged doors and lofty ride height, now are getting all that family business minivans used to enjoy back in the 1990s and early 2000s.
But the passenger and cargo space of the ’15 Kia Sedona SXL, winner of a 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors award, is so impressive it should get some of today’s moms and dads to plunk down money for a vehicle with – eek! – sliding doors.
The Sedona we tested in late February and early March was a fully loaded SX Limited top-of-the-line grade with a classic light-and-dark color scheme, in this case, butterscotch with black. But the interior is kicked up a notch with white piping and red-orange stitching on all seven seats.
Material quality is good, with seats covered in premium Nappa leather and numerous soft-touch surfaces elsewhere in the cabin.
Hard-plastic trim pieces approximate soft-touch due to their low gloss.
The vehicle is loaded with so many goodies you could live in it: sunshades, numerous storage bins, driver’s power lumbar, power tailgate, tri-zone automatic climate control, dual sunroofs, navigation, Infinity Surround Sound audio system, SiriusXM and Kia’s UVO eServices telematics system.
Judges especially enjoyed the Sedona’s heated front seats and steering wheel during a record cold spell.
But the front-seat passengers don’t get all the goodies.
Rear-seat occupants can travel in comfort in a Sedona SXL, thanks to its standard first-class lounge seating, which includes second-row buckets that not only recline but also have a footrest.
“The footrests are sweet!” says Editor Jim Irwin. Yup.
Also sweet are fold-into-the-floor third-row seats, creating a flat load floor in the cargo area.
Should the third row be used as intended, passengers will enjoy the “nice, little touches” Irwin likes, such as outlets and a reading light.
Making it easier to access the third row is a side-to-side slide function on second-row chairs, which creates a wider entry path to the back row.
And the Sedona ranks high in terms of ergonomics and driver information. “Everything is where it should be (and) buttons are big and clearly marked,” says Editor Byron Pope.
Editor Tom Murphy, not an easy man to please when it comes to vehicle interiors and minivans (he owns an ’04 Sedona and previously had a Dodge Caravan), calls the new Sedona “arguably the nicest minivan I’ve ever driven.”
Notice to the Odyssey, Sienna and Town & Country: The Sedona has set the bar high and you’ll need to meet it.