Despite their growing prestige and the now familiar ‘up and coming’ tag being thrown their way by many wise heads in the motoring world, Kia have rather large blank spot in their current range. Since 2012, when the second generation Sedona was retired from service, the Korean manufacturer has been without a genuine MPV flag bearer. Sure, the sharp-suited new Carens, introduced last year, is a smartly-packaged and excellently priced little people mover. However, even the seven seat model is essentially a compact MPV, not necessarily suitable for the needs of those with larger families who may be on the hunt for something a little more heavy duty, such as the Ford Galaxy or the VW Sharan.
With that in mind, Kia have announced their intentions to revive the Sedona at the 2014 New York International Auto show; but you certainly won’t recognise its face. Thanks to what is more akin to a full face transplant than a mere makeover, the 2015 Sedona has been transformed both inside and out.
Everything from the chassis up is new and improved. The third generation Sedona immediately presents a much more squared-jawed imposing figure than its predecessor. Whilst the wheelbase has been slightly stretched, the rather chunky overhangs of the previous incarnation have been noticeably clipped down to size. Though the overall width and height remain virtually unchanged, the front profile undoubtedly has a wider, more striking stance and is dominated by the latest evolution of Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grille. The rear layout also appears broader than before and includes LED taillights, an integrated bumper guard as well as a standard roof spoiler. New double seal sliding rear doors flank the car and below the transformation is completed with 19-inch alloy wheels as standard.
As with all MPVs, designed first and foremost to offer practicality, the interior is where the real money is made. The all new Sedona sticks firmly to this golden-rule of people carrier logic, offering a surprisingly versatile seating system that caters for seven or eight passengers with ample legroom and incorporates a raft of different storage options. For example, second row seating can be neatly slid and folded upright, whilst the back row split-folds to convert the Sedona in to a handy cargo hauler.
In the engine room, the outgoing 3.5-litre V6 powertrain is replaced by the smaller, more efficient 3.3-litre V6 which also powers the Sorento 4X4. It delivers 276bhp and 248 lb/ft torque via a six-speed automatic gearbox.
In terms of the techy stuff, the 2015 Sedona comes as standard with an armoury of handling and breaking management systems, such as electronic stability control, traction control, brake assist and cornering brake control. The surround view monitor gives the driver 360 degree vision around the vehicle and the car is also fitted with a hands-free electronic tailgate and even a system which automatically illuminates the door handles and unfolds the side mirrors when the key fob is detected. This is the Kia Sedona alright; but not as we know it.
Kia have so far been somewhat economical with specific details on pricing, trim levels and fuel economy. The model debuted in New York is scheduled to hit showrooms across the US this autumn. Although the Korean manufacturer currently has no plans to roll out the all new Sedona in Europe, perhaps due to the growth in popularity of smaller MPVs in the Carens mould, don’t rule out a return to these shores in the not-to-distant future.