Driven: 2016 Kia Sedona SXL

Optional chrome-trimmed rocker panels enhance the look of the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL | Larry Edsall photos
Optional chrome-trimmed rocker panels enhance the look of the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL | Larry Edsall photos

Stylish is not an adjective often used to modify minivan, but if you need a versatile vehicle that seats as many as eight people, the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL is as stylish as you’re likely to find. Provided, of course, you opt for the SXL Technology Package which not only includes the chrome-accented side sills that give this minivan is stylish, even sleek appearance, but:

  • Xenon HID headlamps with high-beam assist;
  • Lane-departure warning technology;
  • Forward-collision warning technology (blind-spot mirrors are standard equipment);
  • Surround-view monitor;
  • Smart cruise control;
  • A 1215-volt power inverter in the cargo area.IMG_5031

 

Of course, there’s a tradeoff for looking good: The package adds $2,800 to the vehicle’s price.

Opt, as on our test vehicle, to provide your rear-seat passengers with an entertainment system and you’re adding another $1,095 to the price, which starts at $39,900 for the SXL and thus, with freight and handling, turns into a $44,690 out-the-door bottom line.

If that sounds like a lot of money for a minivan, consider your alternatives — a big, heavy sport utility, a less-attractive minivan, or leaving Grandma or a couple of the kids home instead of letting them share the fun of a family outing.

Kia launched the latest generation of its Sedona minivan for the 2015 model year and the 2016 is the same vehicle with a few upgrades and new options, such as a standard rear-view camera in all versions, new cloth for the seats in the L and LX models, standard heated seats for the EX and an 8-passenger seating option for the SX. The top-of-the-line SXL gets those new side-sill and technology package options.

All Sedonas carry at 276-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. Most get 17-inch wheels, but 18s are standard on some and the SXL get’s 19-inch chrome alloys that add to its stylish appearance.

But larger wheels and tires and side sills also add weight and reduce fuel economy, though the SXL still is rated by the federal government at 17 mpg in town and at 22 on the highway, or 19 overall. And yet, we averaged in the mid-20s during our week with the car.IMG_5037

As befitting a $40K minivan, the interior is downright luxurious. There are sunshades for the rear side windows and a pair of sunroofs — one over the front seats and another that stretches over the second and third rows. The sliding doors and rear liftgate open and close at the touch of a button (or the key fob). The exterior mirrors automatically fold out of the way when the vehicle is parked.

There are triple-zone HVAC controls and even the glovebox is cooled.

Seats are covered in two-tone Nappa leather. The front row seats are heated and ventilated. The second row seats have footrests that pivot forward at the touch of a switch.

The SXL gets an Infinity audio system had enables you to hear tones missed by lesser systems (one passenger heard something she feared might be a problem with the car until she realized it was an unusually low-range tone in the music).

There’s a deep storage area behind the third row and the rear cargo area light doubles as a removable flashlight.

For those who either need or want a minivan, the Sedona seems to us to present the state of the art.IMG_5032

2016 Kia Sedona SXL
Vehicle type: 7/8-passenger minivan, front-wheel drive
Base price: $39,900 Price as tested: $44,690
Engine: 3.3-liter V6, 276-horsepower @ 6,000 rpm, 248 pound-feet of torque @ 5,200 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 120.5 inches Overall length/width: 201.4 inches / 78.1 inches
Curb weight: 4,539 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 17 city / 22 highway / 19 combined
Assembled in: South Korea

 

 

 

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