With our fourth little one on the way, we knew that we needed a newer van. We currently have a 2002 Kia Sedona that has served us quite well for several years. It has been a great, reliable vehicle with only the occasional minor required repair. But, as reliable as it has been, the van has seen better days. It is 13 years old and is at the age where things start breaking down. Beyond that, more modern vans have much more useful features. For example, our 2002 Sedona only has about six inches of storage space from behind the rear seats to the rear hatch. That is basically useless for the most part. Luggage, groceries and sports equipment have no chance at fitting there. Our solution to the problem was to remove one of the captains chairs from the second row as we only needed three seats for the children. In this way, we have a large open space in the cabin where we can load the children from one side of the van and then load up other cargo like groceries.
While this solution works, it does come with its own challenges. The children have to be loaded in before any cargo, which can be really inconvenient. In other instances, we may need that extra seat space and then we really have no usable storage space. There really isn’t a perfect solution. Comparatively, the new models of minivans all have large, cavernous trunk spaces. Modern minivans have much more thought and convenience baked into the designs. So, when we had the opportunity to check out the new 2016 Kia Sedona, we gladly accepted. It was a week-long test drive of one of the minivans on our short list of possible purchases, after all. We were pretty excited for the opportunity!
If you are a tech-lover like my husband, Orin, you will absolutely love what the Kia Sedona has to offer. Of all the minivans we’ve had the opportunity to try, tech-wise, this was his favorite. Most of them have to do with safety and parking assist. His favorite feature (and one I enjoyed as well!) was the Surround View Monitor. There are cameras on all sides of the Sedona that, when combined, provide a compiled overhead view of the van and its surroundings. It’s really very cool. When parking (and under a certain speed) a press of a button near the shift knob brings up the overhead view on the main cabin monitor. This is fantastic for parking straight in tight parking spaces or parallel parking. You can select each camera individually as well for an even better view of a specific angle while you’re parking.
Other technology on our test Kia Sedona included Smart Cruise Control which allows you to maintain a specific distance from the car in front of you while maintaining highway speeds and a Forward Collision Warning System which sounds when you are approaching an object ahead of you at an unsafe speed. Safety is and always has been a very important feature to Kia vehicles and this trend is obviously set to continue in all of their new models. This tech is just the tip of the safety iceberg. The many other safety features included Dual Front Advanced Airbags, Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags, Full-Length Side Curtain Airbags, LATCH for car seat installation, Anti-Lock Brake System, Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Control System, and Tire Pressure Monitoring System.
My favorite features usually stemmed from convenience and comfort. I hate cold weather so the heated and ventilated front seats (and steering wheel!) were a dream come true for me! Orin and I differ on our preferred temperature in the cabin. He likes it cooler while I prefer a nice, toasty drive. The Tri-Zone Climate Control is great for us since we can’t seem to agree on a temperature. I keep mine set to a nice 74 degrees, Orin at 68 degrees, and the children split the difference at 70 degrees. It’s nice that we are all comfortable for once!
The dual sunroof is a pretty cool feature, although we didn’t get to utilize it due to the colder, rainy weather that has settled in across our region. I know for sure that the kids would have loved it. The power doors and lift gate were fantastic when we took the van grocery shopping. When you have your hands full with groceries and three kids, being able to pull a key out of your pocket and press a button to unlock and open your doors is a god-send, especially when it is cold and rainy or snowy. Before you even get to the car, the doors are open. The kids scrambled in out of the rain to their seats while I unloaded the groceries into the gigantic trunk space.
The built in DVD player kept the children occupied in the mean time. Once the groceries were loaded, all I had to do was press a button on the rear hatch to close it again. As a smaller woman, I had trouble closing our old lift gate, so this automatic was AMAZING. After putting away the cart, all that was left was buckling the children and snuggling in to my nice warm leather seat and driving with my heated steering wheel. Yes, it was quite nice! No more freezing fingers!
The only downside we noticed with the 2016 Kia Sedona were the limited number of top tether anchors and LATCH connectors, plus odd placements for the ones included. There were 2 top tether anchors in the back (right and middle seat) and 2 in the middle row. LATCH connectors were located in both middle captain chairs and also the back right-side seat (3 total LATCH). When I tried to install a car seat rear-facing in the far back left seat using the seat belt, it was impossible to install the seat tightly without the seat also tilting to the side, due to the pull of the seat belt. Because there is no top tether anchor on this side of the bench, installing a forward facing car seat in this position is not recommended. This limits the number of seating arrangements you can utilize if you have children in car seats or boosters. Generally, if you don’t plan on having more than three children, this will be a non-issue. For us, with our fourth on the way, this could be a deal-breaker when going to purchase a new van.
That being said, it was really hard when I had to give the Kia Sedona back. Don’t get me wrong, we like our 2002 Kia Sedona, but those extra convenience and safety features were quite fantastic to have for the week! We enjoyed the new model immensely and it was difficult to go back to our spartan older model. So, as we look towards purchasing a new vehicle, Kia models continue to intrigue and excite us with there seemingly endless lists of features and safety track record. If you, like us, are in the market for a newer vehicle, Kia is definitely worth a look!
Buy It: Visit your local Kia dealer to test drive one of their amazing models!