Full disclosure. I’m a Honda Odyssey guy. Or at least I used to be. My family bus is a 2007 Honda Odyssey. I bought it new. I didn’t test drive it or any other minivan. I know – unheard of for a car guy. But in 2007 the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna were the benchmarks in the industry and I grew up with Hondas — so the Odyssey was it. Done.
Until now I didn’t know what I was missing. And let me tell you — I was missing a lot!! How KIA can jam this much luxury into a $43,295 minivan I have no idea. When I first entered the cockpit I thought I was sitting in a BWW 7 Series. Two-tone black and tan Nappa leather trimmed stitched seats. Wood and leather wrapped heated steering wheel. Heated and air-conditioned front seats. First class lounge seating (the middle row captain chairs have foot rests and almost fully recline). Dual moon roofs. Pushbutton start. Automatic lift gate. Need I go on? And this was just the SXL trim package – not even the top of the line Limited version.
The 2015 KIA Sedona I tested also included the SXL Technology Package ($2,700 option) which includes Xenon headlights, lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, smart cruise control and surround view monitor (which provides a top-down 360 degree view of the vehicle from four cameras mounted on the front and rear of the vehicle as well as under each side mirror). When you combine the surround view monitor with the backup camera its almost impossible to hit anything when backing or parking. The large front console mounted LCD screen shows the backup camera on one half of the screen and the 360 view on the other half; you can even select just a forward or side view for those particularly challenging parking situations. With this system my father would never back into anything again.
The 3.3L DOHC GDI CVVT V6 engine kicked out a fairly impressive 276 horses and is matted to a 6-Speed automatic transmission; more than sufficient to power this living room on wheels around town and makes cruising on the highway effortless. The Sedona has more airbags in it then I can count and all of the safety features we have come to expect from a family hauler.
The Sedona SXL became my family hauler of choice for the week that I had it; the Odyssey was left in the garage gathering dust. Rides were given. To school. To dance. To swim. To baseball. To the store. To uncle’s house for a swim. To anywhere we could make up an excuse to go; the kids absolutely had to recline in the first class lounge seating. I quietly wondered to myself while we were driving everywhere how we could possibly go back to regular coach-class, non-reclining, single-toned leather seats.
I’ll admit the exterior styling of this minivan is not going to grab any second looks (it is a minivan after all), but the interior absolutely steals the show. I had more people stop and look and comment on the interior of this van then I did when driving the MINI Cooper S last week. I had grown men (and manly men at that) reclining in the lounge seating enjoying a cold beer talking about minivans (while parked in their driveway, of course). Men who drive trucks and sports cars, but men who have kids nevertheless, talking about minvans!!! KIA, what have you done? My nine year-old son asked if we could trade in the Odyssey (and some cash) for the Sedona — immediately. His buddy who rode in it first asked “Is this a luxury car?” then he followed it up with “Can I live in it?” Its just that comfortable inside! From manly men to nine year-old boys. It was a hit. What about the women you ask? Let’s just say my wife wasn’t happy with all the new female attention I grabbed this week. So if you are a minivan guy like I am, or a manly man with kids like my friends are, or a woman who likes guys in minivans, you have to give the 2105 Sedona SXL a look. Once you get inside it, you won’t want to get back out.