Kia Sedona SXL – The New Definition of the MiniVan

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Text and photos by Cor Steenstra

Ever since my first Renault Espace back in Germany I have been a fan of the practical minivan. The Espace at the time offered me not only the space to carry my computers equipment from company to show to presentation all over Europe, it offered it in style. I wasn’t driving a delivery vehicle, I as traveling in luxury. When I took it with me on holidays my little son at the time could be seated safely in the reversible front seat, he could watch videos and TV on the middle row seat, and I could talk with him easily.

Over time, especially here in the US, the minivan has been renamed Soccer Mom Van, and the image hasn’t really been kept up to par with what I had at the time. The new Toyota’s and Honda’s have done nothing to reshape that image, and so the majority of soccer moms have evolved into the soccer mom SUV’s. Totally useless of course, since the ride height does not make it easier to get in and out of, the interior space is far less than the minivan’s, and they rarely if ever go off road, so that fuel wasting 4WD system is just that.

I am hoping that this Kia Sedona does help change the image of the minivan, this time back to the more practical and luxurious segment it was in once. The vehicle looks the part, sophisticated styling, luxury impression, quality fit and finish, and an interior that wouldn’t look bad in a luxury sedan. The leg room offered with the reclining middle seat are even catapults it into the Maybach Long Wheelbase section.

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Of course the price tag is higher than the average minivan, but this Sedona is so worth the money. I was driving it up the freeways to the mountains, up to Big Bear in the snow, over the curvy mountain roads, and at no stage did the Sedona feel out of place, or did it get uncomfortable. In fact, many of the ‘gadgets’ I’ve found in this SXL version I initially dismissed as maybe of less interest to me, but have proven to be very useful during my trips. For instance I loved keeping my hand on the steering wheel at night and the Sedona itself dimming the lights when opposing traffic came upon us. The option to switch on all the cameras even when not in reverse, to best park on a narrow road without damaging the car also came in handy, as did the option automatically reduce speed while on cruise control in the car pool lane when slower vehicles moved in front.

I would think the only thing my daughter was missing was a massage function on the middle row seats to make her feel like we were once again in the Lexus LS LWB from 2 years ago, but this time with much more leg room for her.

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