REVIEW: 2016 Kia Sedona SXL – Tech-Savvy Family Hauler

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2016 Kia Sedona SXL Profile

The Kia Sedona was redesigned for 2015 to make it more competitive in the minivan market.

In terms of sales, Sedona still isn’t one of the heavy hitters, selling far less than the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country, and Honda Odyssey.

While it’s not a sales leader, there is still plenty to like about the Sedona.

The 2016 Kia Sedona SXL pretty much carries over from the previous year. The big news is a standard rearview camera in all trims. The EX now has standard heated front seats, and there’s eight-passenger seating in the SX and SXL when ordered with the Technology Package.

Last year’s refresh spiffed up the interior, especially on the top Kia Sedona SXL. There’s three-zone automatic climate control, Nappa leather seating, and a leather-wrapped and wood-grain-style steering wheel that look lifted right from a luxury car.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL Front Seats

The dashboard is piano black with chrome accents, but these plastics look a bit less than luxurious.

There are also woodgrained accents, which do a better job of improving the Sedona’s first impression.

Seating is comfortable, supportive and roomy. The driver gets eight-way adjustability with four-way lumbar that is fantastic.

Lumbar support often ends up feeling like a tennis ball behind your back. The lumbar support in the Kia Sedona SXL instead firms up that area to offer comfortable support across your back, instead of a hard lump in the middle.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL Rear Seats

The SXL’s second row features standard “First-Class Lounge Seating” when you opt for the seven-passenger configuration. The seats are like living room recliners with leg rests that flip up just like your easy chair.

Additionally, they slide 11 inches front to back and 3.3 inches left to right. It sounds like a great idea but doesn’t work out as well as you think in the real world.

In order to get the most legroom and flip the leg rests up, the seats need to be all the way back so no one can realistically sit in the third row. Assuming you have no third-row passengers, this is fine.

There’s also not as much legroom as many adults will need to use the leg rest. Shorter adults will be fine, but anyone over 5’6″ will find their feet brushing the backs of the front seats. Taller folks shouldn’t bother trying this feature.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL Cargo

There is the option of a three-passenger second row with “Slide-N-Stow” seats that fold neatly to make the change to cargo carrier instead of passenger hauler. The third row, which is the least comfortable and best only for kids, split-folds 50/50 to create a flat load surface.

Cargo capacity grew last year. The Sedona now has 33.9 cubic feet behind the third row, 78.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and a total of 142 cubic feet behind the first row.

This is smaller than what you’ll find in the Toyota Sienna (39.1/87.1/150.0) and the Honda Odyssey (38.4/93.1/148.5). If cargo is a priority, then the Sedona is not your best choice.

Power comes from a 3.3-liter V6 engine paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It provides 276 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. It’s plenty to keep the Sedona handling its high-speed merges, but it isn’t a lot of power for a vehicle this size. A Sedona loaded down with people or cargo isn’t going to win any races.

Handling is typical for the minivan segment. It’s not overly top-heavy and manages its bulk well, but there’s no mistake you’re driving a large, bulky vehicle.

A tight turn radius makes the Sedona surprisingly easy to fit into narrow parking spaces.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL Dash

The ride was smooth, even with the 19-inch wheels on our tester. Road and wind noise were not invasive. This can be a big issue in minivans, but the Sedona was quiet enough to talk to third-row passengers without a bullhorn, even on the highway.

Infotainment includes Bluetooth wireless connectivity and AM/FM/CD/MP3/SiriusXM with an 8-inch touchscreen and 8-speaker Infinity surround sound system. It easily fills the cabin with rich sound.

The touchscreen is responsive with easy-to-navigate menus and buttons along the bottom of the screen to quickly access commonly used features. Buttons for radio, media, phone, and navigation make sure you’re never fumbling through menus.

Navigation is also standard with voice-command and SiriusXM real-time traffic. Kia’s subscription-free UVO eServices adds additional connectivity that includes a smartphone app. It can help you find your car with GPS guidance, run regular diagnostic checks, and automatically call 911 for help in the event of an airbag deployment.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL Rear

On the safety front, the Kia Sedona SXL offers loads of standard and available features to set your mind at ease. There’s a standard rearview camera and a surround view monitor, which shows a nearly 360-degre view around the car. This includes a bird’s-eye view that makes maneuvering in tight spaces much easier and safer.

Parking assist with front and rear sensors, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert are also standard. Optional features include smart cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

Pricing on the Kia Sedona is competitive. The top-of-the-line Kia Sedona SXL starts at $39,900, but you can opt for the base trim and bring that price all the way down to $26,400. It’s all a matter of how many features you want in your minivan.

The Kia Sedona SXL offers an attractive, updated minivan with a wide range of options to fit a variety of budgets. The latest in safety technology, flexibility for cargo or passengers, and a modern infotainment system make it an attractive option.

2016 Kia Sedona SXL

Base price: $39,900

Destination charge: $895

Price as tested: $44,690


  • Comfortable driver’s seat
  • Comprehensive safety features
  • Intuitive infotainment


  • No option of all-wheel drive
  • Less cargo space than other minivans
  • Tight third-row seating