REVIEW: 2016 Kia Sedona SXL – It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Posted by

The 2016 Kia Sedona SXL has it where it counts.

sedona 16 my pic main

Minivans aren’t known for their styling and swagger.  Families buy them for their utility, comfort, space, safety, and ease of use.

In every one of these areas, the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL excels.  If you have not driven a modern minivan lately, you may be surprised.  The top sellers all handle well in normal driving, and they’re easy to live with.

Related: Video – The IIHS and Minivan Crash Testing – Misinformation Abounds

Whether it be parking at the supermarket, maneuvering in heavy traffic, or on the open road headed to a vacation spot, vehicles like the Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna all provide a very pleasurable and comfortable ride by comparison to any other vehicle with its seating and cargo capacity.

They also come with powerful V6 engines that have the grunt to haul your family and a couple of your kids’ friends and their gear.

So what makes the Kia Sedona SXL special? Let’s start with where it impresses most – the interior.

2016-02-19 11.04.01

Inside, this is a luxury sedan with spacious seating for seven.  The driver and passenger seats are multi-way power-adjustable, heated and cooled, and they’re trimmed in Nappa leather.

Related: Review – 2015 Toyota Sienna XLE – It’s Why You Want a Minivan

The steering wheel is much like a Lexus RX’s, with wood on the top and bottom, and the leather portions are heated.  Comfort in the Sedona rivals that of a luxury vehicle.

2016-02-19 11.08.18

The Sedona SXL is the highest of five trim levels, and it is finely appointed.

The center stack has an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system. There is also a rotary knob for both volume and tune, which unfortunately is deleted in some luxury models.

There is also a thin row of buttons to use to access the various parts of the system, and one can do a lot from the steering wheel as well.  Underneath that are the HVAC controls, which also have rotary knobs.  During our test we grew to appreciate the full Pandora interface and excellent sound quality of the audio system.

2016-02-19 11.10.29

The display also helps when guiding this large vehicle in tight spaces.  The screen can split to be a good-sized backup camera view with a surround view to the right of that. Coupled with sensors that alert the driver to obstacles, this is the best system one will find on the market.

Just below the gear selection lever is a row of very useful buttons for heated seats and steering wheel, drive mode, and camera operation.  They fall to hand and can be operated while the driver’s eyes are up and forward.

Storage space is plentiful, with two gloveboxes facing the passenger.

sedona glove boxes


2016 Sedona EX

Our 2016 Sedona SXL test vehicle was set up with the standard dual captains’ chairs in the middle row.  These can slide back and forth on rails offering limousine-like leg room.

The third row is also comfortable, and it offers legroom for adults when the middle row is set to its center position. Accessing them from the sliding doors is easy for kids.

2016 Sedona SX Limited

There’s big cargo space, even with all three rows up for seating, and the deep well keeps your groceries from flying around.  It’s a useful space that could hold two or three hockey bags without needing the third row to be dropped.

During our test, the Sedona revealed itself to be a great around town vehicle.  It was comfortable over bumps, even with its 19-inch wheels and low-profile tires.  Handling is sharp, and the Sedona exhibits minimal body lean.

Fuel economy was impressive: we averaged 22 MPG in combined suburban and highway driving.  The EPA rates the Sedona SXL at a combined 19 MPG.

2016-02-19 11.05.49

The 2016 Kia Sedona scored a “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) on each of its crash tests.  It’s a Top Safety Pick, and our tester had the optional Forward Collision Warning System and Lane Departure Warning System.

Kia does not offer a full-auto braking system for the Sedona, so it cannot earn the “Plus” rating from IIHS.

The Sedona is not offered with AWD, so it would not be compatible with some drivers’ needs in the snowbelt unless they also had an AWD vehicle of some type to augment it.

Overall, the Kia Sedona SXL was impressive.  For its $44,690 as-tested price, the 2016 Kia Sedona SXL feels luxurious, and Kia’s 5-year basic warranty is reassuring.  You might buy a full-sized SUV for vanity, but the Kia Sedona SXL would be the better choice.

Check out the 2016 Sedonas listed on BestRide here.

Base Price: $40,795 (including destination charge)

Price As Tested: $44,690


  • Luxurious Interior
  • Easy To Drive and Live With
  • Fuel Economy


  • AWD Not Available
  • Full Auto-Braking Not Available