They have been fairly quiet about the Sedona, simply because it was functional but hardly grand. The Grand Sedona changes all that, coming in as a true long wheelbase model with pretty much all the bells and whistles. It moves Kia into the space age. It will be most commonly experienced as a genuine seven-seater but the body is large enough for Kia to be introducing an 11-seater shortly. Adding to its appeal as the perfect “Mom’s Taxi” is that it has been designed to look like the rest of the Kia range as far as is possible, which makes it fairly easy on the eye.
The Grand Sedona introduces a wider-looking stance, a clean profile with crossover utility vehicle style and KIA’s typically bold ‘face’. The new model was designed to offer a modern interpretation of the practical and versatile MPV, with a look that combines the on-road presence of a large crossover with the luxury of a sedan. It is the sedan-like qualities of the Sedona that are most significant, given they are available to all seven passengers.
Our launch drive was from Kia’s well-stocked parts wharehouse in Germiston to the former hamlet of Clarens. A journey of some 300km. This was achieved without any discomfort at all, except for those answering the call perhaps. Overnight bags fitted easily into the boot, in spite of the third row of seats. This unusual achievement is made possible by the fact the biscuit spare sits underneath the second row passenger seat behind the driver. This means there is no need for items that belong in the boot to be stored in the cabin. What is more, the cabin is littered with storage facilities, so again those items you do need with you do not present as clutter.
Among others, this includes a large centre console storage, slide-open tray in the second row and seat-back pockets. In addition, each passenger row can independently set its own air-conditioning settings, while built-in sunshades for second and third row seating improve passenger comfort. There are three specification levels – EX, SX and SXL – so obviously specification detail varies; but it is decent across the range, as is Kia strategy generally.
Basic ride comfort is assured via MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, rather than the cheaper torsion bar systems. However, the adoption of a hydraulic rebound spring on the front axle and stiffer suspension bars and cross-member bush mountings on the rear enhance ride comfort and stability by improving bump absorption and suspension rebound rates.
High specification models feature a 12-way power-assisted driver’s seat engineered with a number of features to improve comfort, including four-way lumbar support, while the front passenger seat benefits from eight-way power adjustment. A 60:40-split folding third row of seats, with the ability to fold completely flat to provide a large cargo area, completes the interior package. The seven-seat versions feature KIA’s innovative ‘stand-up’ seats in the second row – which allow the base cushion to fold forward and the rest of the seat to slide forward and ‘stand up straight’ – allowing easier access to the third row in the back.
The smart power tailgate automatically opens when the key is sensed in close proximity to the boot, allowing owners to load their shopping bags or heavy objects straight into the vehicle. I have been fortunate to experience similar technology in other upmarket vehicles recently and it is hard to overstate how addictive this feature becomes. For added convenience, the Grand Sedona also features two power-sliding rear doors that also open at the touch of a button, either on the driver’s overhead console or the smart key.
A new seven-inch colour TFT LCD screen, with an electro-luminescent instrument cluster, further improves the interior’s modern function and ambiance, while displaying all relevant journey information which the driver can select from the multi-function steering wheel. The standard audio system provides 4.3-inch TFT LCD touchscreen display, also fitted with a rear parking camera, MP3 CD player, multimedia ports for USB and AUX-in connections, and six speakers around the cabin. High specification models feature eight Infinity speakers throughout the cabin and an external amplifier to provide a more powerful, high quality sound.
Our launch unit was fitted with a heated steering wheel, and with temperatures in Clarens dropping below freezing, it was a brilliant “nice-to-have” – as were the heated (and cooled) seats. The Grand Sedona is available with either a 3.3-litre MPI (Multi-Point Injection) V6 petrol engine or Kia’s 2.2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine, which was my preference. They are combined with a six-speed automatic transmission feeding the front wheels in all derivatives.
The 3.3-litre MPI engine produces 199kW and 318Nm, while the diesel makes 147kW and 440Nm. Owners have access to a number of active safety technologies, including BSD (Blind-Spot Detection) with LCA (Lane Change Assist), which alerts the driver to vehicles approaching from the rear at high speeds in neighbouring lanes, and RCTA (Rear Cross-Traffic Alert), which warns against other cars driving behind the Grand Sedona in car parks.
Kia will offer five versions of the new Grand Sedona, making use of both engine options, seven- and 11-seat configurations and three generous specification levels (EX, SX and SXL). All five models come with a five-year/150 000km warranty, a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan, and three years unlimited roadside assistance.