As Kia continues to advance its status with new and increasingly desirable models, the seven-seat Kia Sedona is lagging somewhat behind its more stylish, contemporary rangemates. However, if you like your seven-seat MPV unglamorous, slab-sided and a touch drab but with an appealing no-nonsense honesty, then the Kia Sedona might be for you.
The current incarnation of this Korean people mover has been with us since 2006, although it’s been dragged partially up to date with the use of Kia’s latest 2.2-litre diesel engine which now appears all the way across the Sedona range.
In line with Kia’s current policy, the Sedona is available in three trim levels: ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’. All three are powered by the usefully potent 2199cc CRDi oil-burner, which produces 192bhp at 3800rpm and a not insignificant 310lb ft of torque from 1800 to 2500rpm. The penalty for all that go is fairly mediocre combined economy and CO2 emission figures of 42.2mpg and 179g/km respectively (or 37.7mpg/199g/km if you opt for the automatic ’box in the ‘2’ trim as opposed to the standard six-speeder).
Equipment levels are impressive, but that’s now reflected in the Sedona’s price. Air-con is standard in ‘1’-spec Sedonas while everything else gets climate control; even a reversing camera is standard on ‘2’ and ‘3’-spec models, built in to the rear view mirror. Everything gets electric windows all round, but leather is only standard on the ‘3’.
Also standard fit is a roomy cabin, access to which is made easier with sliding rear doors, and there really is enough head and legroom to seat seven grown-ups in a degree comfort, although you’ll want to make sure the shortest pair are allocated the two rearmost perches. It’s a flexible interior, too, with usefully folding and removable (if heavy) seats.
Unfortunately, and for all its on-paper attributes, the Sedona isn’t all that great to drive. The 2.2-litre CRDi engine is a responsive and refined performer with a fair turn of speed (especially if unencumbered by passengers or luggage), but dynamically speaking Kia’s seven-seater is shaded by far more capable opposition, notably from Ford and its all-bases-covered Grand C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy seven-seat triumvirate. The Sedona lacks agility and its ride is compromised, with a significant amount of thump-bump intrusions into the cabin both around town and at motorway speeds.
Even worse for Kia, the Sedona can no longer play its ace card by simply offering better value than its competitors. With the up-to-date engine and decent equipment levels has come an increase in price that means you could get a Grand C-Max, or even a base S-Max, for similar money. And if you have even only half on eye on driving dynamics (never mind residual values), it would be only too easy to be swayed by the Fords’ better looks over the increasingly dated looking Sedona.