2012 Kia Sedona Expert Review

3.3 Overall Score
Performance 3.2 Comfort 3.1 Styling 2.8 Value 3.2

Editor's Overview

While well-equipped minivans frequently top the $35,000 mark, the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan is significantly less expensive while still offering an impressive array of features. It is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and it carries Kia's class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

You'll Like The 2012 Kia Sedona If...

If you think you have to pay big money to get big content, the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan proves otherwise. An unbeatable warranty coupled with an IIHS Top Safety Pick award should be enough to dampen any lingering doubts.

You May Not Like The 2012 Kia Sedona If...

About the only reason not to like the 2012 Sedona would be its still relatively unknown long-term reliability record and perhaps its somewhat bland styling. 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 2012 Kia Sedona minivan remains largely unchanged from last year, with the exception of an available rear-seat DVD entertainment system on the LX trim (previously available only on the EX).

Interior Features

With room for up to seven passengers, the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan offers plenty of room in all three rows, as well as a flexible seating set-up that allows for an easily- configurable combination of passengers and cargo. The Sedona doesn't offer a second-row bench seat, instead providing two, removable captain's chair-style seats with reclining seatbacks and a one-touch fold-and-flip device. Third-row occupants enjoy a small but comfortable 60/40 split-bench seat that folds flush with the floor to create an impressive 141.5 cubic-foot cargo hold (second-row seats removed). Compared to other minivans, the 2012 Kia Sedona's interior plastics aren't as soft or attractively styled, and the color palate consisting of beige and gray is a bit boring. On the plus side, there are lots of storage areas, including a dual glovebox and covered side storage bins. Available features of note include the EX's dual power-sliding side doors and power rear vent windows.

Exterior Features

Compared to the exterior styling of the Nissan Quest and Honda Odyssey, the 2012 Kia Sedona definitely looks dated. But, next to a Dodge Grand Caravan, it's actually not so bad. Remembering that styling is the least of a minivan owner's concerns; the Sedona includes a lot of noteworthy functional features. Large side glass and a massive front windshield provide excellent visibility for all, although the Sedona's sloping hood can make it difficult for some drivers to gauge the front of the vehicle. To help with rearward vision, the 2012 Kia Sedona comes with standard rear parking sensors to warn the driver of objects near the vehicle's rear bumper. EX models go a step further with a rearview backup camera and rearview mirror display. 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

There is nothing "van-like" about the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan's ride and handling. Overall, driving the Sedona is a pretty uneventful chore, with strong acceleration made possible by the potent 271-horsepower V6. The 2012 Kia Sedona's 6-speed automatic is a really fine transmission, showing no signs of gear hunting or abrupt gear changes under hard acceleration. Fuel economy figures are about the same as other minivans in the segment. The Sedona's 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. For the most part, we found the Sedona's steering and braking to be above-board, and the interior sound levels are sufficiently low as to allow normal conversation between people sitting in different rows. If the front-wheel-drive Sedona has one shortcoming, it's the rather large turning circle (39.6 feet to be exact) that limits maneuverability, not to mention U-turn efficiency, in tight confines.

Pricing Notes

The 2012 Kia Sedona LX has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting under $26,000, while a fully-loaded EX tops out around $34,500. Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world transaction prices in your area, 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 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2012 Kia Sedona LX includes tri-zone air conditioning, power locks, power mirrors, power windows, dual sliding rear doors, manual rear vent windows and cruise control. The AM/FM/CD/MP3 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.

Notable Options

Stepping up to the 2012 Kia Sedona EX minivan adds fog lights, power driver's and front passenger's seats, heated mirrors, 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 an auto-dimming mirror with HomeLink and a rearview camera. The up-level EX trim offers the Luxury Package that includes leather seating, heated front seats, sunroof, power-adjustable pedals, memory, tri-zone automatic climate control and a power sunroof. The Premium Entertainment Package includes an Infinity 7.1 Surround Sound system with 10 speakers, an in-dash 6-disc CD changer and rear DVD entertainment system with two wireless headsets, while the Navigation Package adds navigation and an Infinity sound system.

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 who also appreciate the 2012 Kia Sedona's relatively eager handling.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Kia 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 6-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 @ 6,300 rpm

248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25

Editors' Notes

If you've been shopping the minivan market lately, you know that the days of the cheap family hauler are long gone. Price tags around $30,000 are not uncommon on some minivans, and that's just an entry-level price, which is why we think the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan is so brilliantly positioned. With a starting price below $26,000, the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan isn't some stripped-down model designed to lure you in and then hit you with expensive options. The 2012 Kia Sedona is a well-equipped, well-regarded minivan capable of matching the horsepower and safety ratings of the segment's top sellers. And, while resale figures for the 2012 Kia Sedona minivan rank well below those of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna minivans, the savings in the showroom, coupled with the Sedona's 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, may be enough to convince shoppers this is one leap of faith worth taking.

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