The Kia Sedona is all-new for 2006 and, based on the time we've spent with it, it appears to be a compelling value among minivans, offering convenience, comfort, style and performance. The front-wheel-drive Sedona has just about everything the Honda Odyssey has, except the reputation, for a lot less money.
The 2006 Kia Sedona was designed by studying every other minivan in the class, choosing the best features, and improving them. It uses a new high-tech V6 engine that more than matches the Odyssey in power, a responsive new five-speed automatic transmission, and a sophisticated and steady suspension.
From the outside, the all-new Sedona looks classy and stylish. Inside, there's seven-passenger seating with seats that easily collapse to create a vast cargo space. Every cabin convenience known to man is either standard or available; there are storage spaces everywhere you turn, and no fewer than 14 cupholders. And the Sedona achieves five-star crash certification, all for a base price of $22,995.
The Sedona LX ($22,995) is well-equipped for that price, including seven-passenger seating: two rows of two captain's chairs, and a bench in back. The first two rows get power windows, and there's also remote keyless entry, power locks, three 12-volt power outlets, intermittent wipers front and rear, privacy glass, eight-speaker CD sound system, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, overhead console. 16-inch tires on steel wheels, and more.
The EX ($25,595) adds quite a lot for the price difference: larger, 17-inch alloy wheels with wider profile tires, upgraded cloth interior, power front seats, MP3 audio system, auto headlamps, front foglights, self-dimming rearview mirror, Homelink, heated sideview mirrors, solar glass, roofrails with crossbars, trip computer with compass and illuminated vanity mirrors.
Options for the EX include the Power Package ($1000) with power sliding doors and liftgate; the Luxury Package ($2400), which includes primarily leather interior with heated front memory seats, sunroof and back-up beeper; the Premium Entertainment Package ($1700), which includes an Infinity 13-speaker surround-sound audio system and DVD player with an eight-inch monitor and wireless headsets. There's also a First Aid kit ($20) and a trailer hitch ($375).
Safety equipment is extensive; the '05 Sedona earned a five-star crash rating from NHTSA, and the '06 should too. The unibody construction provides rigidity, with side-impact door beams and energy-absorbing bumpers. In addition to the weight-sensing frontal airbags (the front passenger airbag turns itself off if a child is in the seat), there are front side airbags (for torso protection) and air curtains (for head protection) that cover all three rows of seats. There's an energy-absorbing steering column, and anti-whiplash headrests in front. There's electronic stability control with traction control, and anti-lock brakes with electronic balanced brake force distribution (ABS with EBD). A tire-pressure monitoring system is also standard.