2011 Kia Sedona Expert Review

3.2 Overall Score
Performance 3.2Comfort 3.3Styling 3.2Value 3.1

You'll Like The 2011 Kia Sedona If...

If you think saving money on your next minivan purchase means sacrificing features, comfort and power, the 2011 Kia Sedona will make you think again.

You May Not Like The 2011 Kia Sedona If...

While the 2011 Kia Sedona looks competitive on paper, in person the styling both inside and out is rather generic. Also, those who lease or regularly trade in their vehicles probably won't be impressed by the Sedona's low resale values.

What's New

The 2011 Kia Sedona receives an all-new 3.5-liter V6 engine capable of making up to 271 horsepower. That's 23 more horsepower than the previous 3.8-liter V6. A new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the old five-speed. This combination helps improve fuel mileage by two miles per gallon in the government's highway driving cycle. Also new are side mirror turn signal indicators. Now standard on all models, Bluetooth allows hands-free operation of most cellphones. A new, slightly revised grille, shared by other Kias, differentiates the 2011 from the 2010.

Interior Features

The 2011 Kia Sedona's seven-passenger layout consists of four captain's chair-style seats. The two in the second row are both removable and reclining. The second row seats also feature a one-touch fold-and-flip device permitting easy access to the 60/40 split bench third-row seat. When not hauling people, the third-row seat can be folded flush into the floor, creating an enormous 141.5 cubic-foot cargo hold. Features of note include power windows in the sliding side doors, a dual glovebox and available power rear vent windows. On the downside, the Sedona's plastic parts feel rather hard and cheap, the faux wood center console is just downright tacky and interior colors are limited to beige and gray.

Exterior Features

While the Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest have raised the bar for minivan styling, the Kia Sedona sails into 2011 with its same ho-hum appearance. But this is a minivan, not a luxury car, so function should trump form. Its sharply sloping front nose makes it a bit difficult to see the front end when parking, but large side glass makes for excellent 360-degree visibility. The base LX models feature rear sensors designed to warn the driver of objects near the rear of the vehicle, while the up-level EX trim includes a rearview camera to help backing in tight quarters. The EX comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels, while 16-inch covered steel wheels are standard on the LX. Other standard EX features include fog lights and roof rails.

Driving Impressions

For a minivan, the 2011 Kia Sedona delivers a pretty pleasing driving experience. It corners well, brakes well and accelerates with surprising vigor. The new six-speed automatic displays no sign of gear hunting, delivering seamless shifts and excellent fuel economy. The captain's chair seating is fairly comfortable, but the seat bottoms proved a bit short for our long legged occupants. Seating in the third row is also well designed, but best suited to young children who don't have to worry about legroom. The Sedona's overall ride is smooth and controlled, and interior sound levels are low enough that we could easily hold a conversation with the second and third-row passengers. On the flip side, the Sedona's turning circle is quite large (39.6 feet) and its ability to maneuver into tight parking spaces is limited.

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Kia Sedona LX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $25,000 while a fully-loaded EX tops out around $35,000. Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world transaction prices, so be sure to check it before you buy. Also, be sure to click on the Incentives tab to see what deals the manufacturer is offering. A comparably equipped Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country or Honda Odyssey will cost thousands more. While Kia's impressive 10-year/100,000-mile limited warranty works in the Sedona's favor, predicted resale values that fall well short of the category's best can neutralize the Kia's up-front savings.

Notable Equipment

In addition to a 3.5-liter V6 and a six-speed automatic transmission, the base Sedona LX includes tri-zone air conditioning, power locks, power mirrors, power windows, dual sliding rear doors and cruise control. The AM/FM/CD sound system comes with auxiliary and USB inputs, steering wheel mounted audio controls, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Bluetooth hands-free cellphone connectivity. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side and three-row side-curtain airbags, advanced anti-lock brakes (ABS), tire pressure monitoring system and electronic stability control, all of which are either currently or imminently government mandated.

Notable Options

Stepping up to the 2011 Kia Sedona EX adds fog lights, power driver's and front passenger's seats, heated mirrors, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power third-row vent windows and power sliding side doors and tailgate. The Power Package, available only on the base LX trim, adds power sliding side doors, automatic headlamps, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rearview camera. The up-level EX trim offers the Luxury Package that includes leather seating, heated front seats, sunroof, power-adjustable pedals and tri-zone automatic climate control. The Premium Entertainment Package includes an Infinity 7.1 Surround Sound system with an in-dash six-disc CD changer and rear DVD entertainment system with two wireless headsets.

Favorite Features

7.1 Surround Sound System
An available 10-speaker, Infinity audio system features front- and second-row center-channel speakers. It delivers impressive music and movie performance.

Sportmatic Transmission
Even though it isn't the most responsive manu-matic transmission, the ability to choose your own gears will be especially welcomed by those that also appreciate the Sedona's relatively eager handling.

Under the Hood

The Sedona's 3.5-liter, 24-valve, all-aluminum powerplant with continuously variable valve timing makes it one of the most powerful minivans. Combined with a responsive new six-speed automatic transmission, the Sedona merges, passes and deals with traffic with ease, whether it's on the highway or headed to the supermarket.

3.5-liter V6
271 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

Editors' Notes

In the world of minivans, the 2011 Kia Sedona is a giant. It offers almost all the features, power and safety of the best minivans, but it costs thousands of dollars less. From its 10-year/100,000 mile warranty to its long list of standard features, the 2011 Kia Sedona is an excellent choice for a family on a tight budget. If there is a fly in the ointment, however, it's the Kia Sedona's resale figures, which rank well below the class leader Honda Odyssey and even below the traditionally underachieving Dodge Caravan. Still, if long-term ownership is more important than retained value, the 2011 Kia Sedona promises years of happy commuting and low monthly payments.

Video Reviews

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