Fleet News

Kia Sedona

Kia

Review

YOU may be surprised to learn that Kia’s Sedona is one of the most popular large MPVs in the UK, selling 31,000 units since its launch in 1999 and outsold only by the Ford Galaxy and Renault’s Espace range.

And this success looks set to continue with a new version, on sale this month. Taller and wider than the previous model, the 2006 Sedona also offers features such as alloy wheels, powered sliding side doors and darkened glass to spice up the South Korean challenger.

Discussions with customers led to Kia’s UK division specifying the features on the new range.

Kia Motors UK marketing general manager Lawrence Hamilton said: ‘MPVs are perfect for family transport as well as business use, but we need to cater more for the older families that tend to use full-size models.

‘Research shows they like their cars to come with all the gadgets as well as being practical, so we’re aiming for the new Sedona to be a bit more cool.’

Though its bodywork is 120mm shorter than the previous generation Sedona, a taller and wider stance provides more interior space in the new model. Cabin length is up by 177mm and better packaging allows seven adults to sit in comfort.

Managing director Paul Williams added: ‘We’re making a lot of space available and even though the new range is dearer (the previous top-spec version cost £18,995 compared with £22,595 now), it still represents top value.’

As more buyers opt for compact models such as the seven-seat Vauxhall Zafira, Williams expects reduced retail sales with the new car, which costs from £15,695 in V6 petrol form and from £17,495 with a turbodiesel engine. But he’s confident that increasing fleet business will compensate to keep annual volume at around 5,000 units.

He said: ‘Diesels accounted for 97% of sales of the old model and fleets represented almost half our business. With a more powerful diesel engine and an optional automatic transmission, I think we have new opportunities and we’ll field a choice of six versions with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.’

Markedly less conservative than its predecessor, the new car is attractively styled and boasts a quality finish with a squarer appearance at the rear emphasising the wider track. As part of the quest to provide more interior space, the floor level is lower than before, and mounting the transmission lever on an extended dashboard gives extra space in the front.

An MP3-compatible CD player is standard and a DVD player is a dealer-fit option.

In revised form, the Sedona’s 2.9-litre turbodiesel develops 182bhp – 40bhp more power than the old model but with no loss of fuel economy.

A similar improvement is promised for the petrol version, due at the end of the year. Six airbags are standard, but electronic stability control is only an option on the top-spec model.

Seats follow the 2-3-2 layout and all rear seats recline, fold in half and store upright to create a large load area.

With seven seats in place, luggage space is only 364 litres, but this rises to 1,753 litres with the back two seats removed and a massive 3,440 litres with both centre and rear rows removed.

Available in three grades – GS, LS and TS – all models are well equipped, with the entry-level version offering sophisticated, triple-zone air conditioning and power rear windows as standard, along with powered and heated mirrors, remote locking and roof rails.

The LS adds climate control, electric sliding rear side doors, rear parking sensors, alloy wheels, metal dash panel inserts and power rear quarterlights.

Leather trim comes in the TS, along with cruise control, front seat heating, an electrically-adjustable driver’s seat and larger alloy wheels.

Behind the wheel

WITH its underpinnings borrowed from the latest Magentis range (Fleet NewsNet, June 29), the new Sedona represents a step-change over its predecessor.

A more modern all-independent suspension set-up replaces the old leaf spring system of the past, and the car feels all the better for it with a composed, supple ride and confident cornering that belies its bulk. Another benefit of using the Magentis platform is a tighter turning circle for more agility around town.

Acceleration might be leisurely for some, but once on the move the turbodiesel proves to be a solid performer which spins away unobtrusively to add to the relaxed, refined environment of a living room on the move.

Thanks to tall gearing, both manual and automatic versions are able to lope along motorways in comfort at high speed. As the rev counter needle hovers well below 3,000rpm at 70mph, it’s still possible to hold a conversation without raising your voice.

Space abounds in the front and centre row, and there’s more than average legroom in the back row, which also has the benefit of a cooled air supply thanks to a comprehensive specification.

Verdict

THE Sedona is another example of Kia’s fast-advancing product line-up. This people carrier has all it takes to compete head-on in performance, features, build quality, detail finish and refinement with more high profile models.

Fact file

Model: 2.7 V6 2.9 CRDi
Max power (bhp/rpm): 185/6,000 182/3,800
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 181/4,000 252/1,750
Max speed (mph): 119 122 (120)
0-62mph (secs): 14.5 15.5 (16.2)
Fuel consumption (mpg): 26.4 36.2 (31.4)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 255 206 (237)
On sale: Now Prices (OTR): £15,695–£22,595

(Figures in brackets for automatic model)

  • Click on the next page to view pictures

  • CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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