The minivan market in Canada, while not large compared to other vehicle segments, is a surprisingly competitive one. In that space, one finds the Dodge Grand Caravan, the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey, along with Kia’s Sedona, all competing for Canadian’s attention and their dollars.
Kia’s 2021 Sedona is the Korean carmaker’s third generation family-friendly minivan to enter the market. So what does this new iteration of the Sedona bring to the table?
Well, first off, some interesting styling. Where most minivans tend to look like vans or van-like, Kia makes its 2021 Sedona look more SUV-like. Its lines are clean and smooth and the feeling one gets looking at the Sedona is that this vehicle is something substantial but elegant. The front sports a nice-looking grille that does not overwhelm either one’s eye or the vehicle front design, and the SX Tech model I drove came with LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED positing lights, all of which add to the pleasant look of this Sedona.
Inside, there are additions that will make this a serious contender for those looking to buy a minivan.
First off – cargo space. That is the reason why people buy minivans – to ferry kids back and forth from school or events, to transport large things with ease. You know the drill. Well, in that department, the 2021 Sedona delivers. The third row can be folded into the tubs sitting just behind them and the second-row seats can be slid and stowed away giving even more room. To break it down, you get behind the first row some 4,022 L (142.0 cu. ft.) or cargo capacity; 2,220 L (78.4 cu. ft.) behind the second and 960 L (33.9 cu. ft.) behind the third row. So, no more complaining about not having the room to bring those Billy bookshelves home from Ikea or having to take the kid’s bulky sports equipment along.
The interior styling of the 2021 Sedona tends toward simplicity, which might seem unusual in a market that is making interiors for vehicles this size as luxurious as possible. But to say that the simplicity of the this Sedona’s interior implies inferiority or ‘cheapness’ is to be mistaken. Behind the wheel this Sedona gave a distinct upscale vibe with the interior materials feeling impressive and refined.
The second row is not your typical bench, but “Slide and Stow” seats that are pleasant to sit in with a smaller center seat that can be stowed to provide a bit of extra elbow room. There is plenty of legroom in the second row and the seats recline to such a degree that I can image someone taking a needed snooze in them during a long road trip. My son certainly did as he could lean back and just enjoy the ride while listening to his music. The second row also provides plenty of ways to charge devices with a 15V power outlet and USB port. The third row rear 60/40 seats were also comfortable, but the legroom might be a bit tight for someone who is over six-foot or likes to really stretch.
Front legroom is also ample, and the front seats feature gray leather upholstery and a nice touch of red stitching; and passenger seat can also recline quite a bit, which my wife absolutely loved. The dash materials have a high-quality feel with some nice leather finishes. But I was most impressed with Kia’s decision to continue to use of physical controls for many features.
Today, I find too many vehicles now try to do too much through the infotainment system. Too much scrolling and too many sub-menus that too often cause confusion and frustration. I may be old fashioned, but I like having knobs and buttons to push and here the Sedona does an excellent job of making key vehicle and infotainment functions – such as temperature control for the front and rear, or accessing the radio, map function or other media – accessible through individual buttons. No having to scroll through a menu on the 8-inch infotainment screen.
Now that screen size may not seem large compared to some that are included today with some vehicles of similar size, but it is to me the perfect size, with crisp graphics and highly responsive to the touch. The infotainment system offered all the now standard connectivity features one expects, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in navigation system that was very good, a nice addition to have even with access to the every ubiquitous Google Maps or Waze.
And like all vehicles today, you get plenty of safety and driver assistance features, including Lane Departure warning system, Driver Attention Warning and Forward Collision Avoidance.
A nice feature for me – and one that I will always pay extra for – is the sound system. This 2021 Sedona came with an 8-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system. I listen to lots of music when I drive – opera, classical and jazz – so a good sound system is something I crave in a vehicle. And this Harman/Kardon did not disappoint. Audio was excellent, and with the surprisingly quiet cabin, even at low volume the audio system provided clear and distinct sound right back to even the third row.
The 2021 Sedona sports a 3.3L V6 GI engine with an 8-speed AT transmission and puts our 276 HP with some 248 lb-ft of torque. The engine provided plenty of power, with excellent acceleration and never strained to get to the speeds I need. The handling was supple, both on the highway and in the city. And for such a large vehicle, the fuel economy while not spectacular, was better than what I was expecting from a vehicle this large
So, if you are looking for an all-round practical minivan that offers plenty of room, some nice extras and a dash of refined style, the 2021 Kia Sedona is something you should give serious consideration to.
The vehicle was provided to the writer by the automaker. Content and vehicle evaluations were not subject to approval.