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Kia Sedona review: Soccer mom stereotype? This minivan will change your mind

The Sedona may not be sexy but it wins in comfort and utility

The 2016 Kia Sedona is a super-smooth ride that soaks up bumps and potholes.

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The 2016 Kia Sedona is a super-smooth ride that soaks up bumps and potholes.

Just like the late, great Rodney Dangerfield, minivans get no respect. Once hailed as the perfect family vehicle, the minivan is now generally the butt of “soccer mom” jokes.

But while it’s far from sexy, the minivan deserves a second look. I recently took the all-new 2016 Kia Sedona on a long trip with two other adults, all our luggage and several large boxes of antique car parts, and nothing could touch it for comfort and convenience.

Its three trim lines all use a 3.3-litre V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission that had no difficulty keeping up with highway traffic while climbing Pennsylvania’s steep mountains. While its published fuel economy can be a little higher than some competitors, I was impressed with a real-world return of 10.4 L/100 km, considering how loaded it was and that I didn’t use its “Eco” mode, which dials down the engine’s performance too far for my liking and turns it sluggish.

Eight-passenger versions are available, while my top-line SXL+ seven-seater had two captain’s chairs in the second row with pull-out leg rests that turned them into easy chairs. They also slide forward to give third-row passengers more legroom if needed.

The upper trim throws in a number of high-end features, including a dual-panel sunroof, leather upholstery, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, and a four-camera monitoring system to give a “bird’s-eye” overhead view when parking. The “Plus” in my trim level also added lane departure and front collision warning, along with adaptive cruise control that keeps a pre-set distance from the vehicle in front but was a bit jerkier than many I’ve used.

Its suspension is soft and there is some resulting body roll around turns, but it’s the price you pay for a super-smooth ride that soaks up bumps and potholes. After nine hours on the road, between the ride and the seats, all of us were still comfortable. Even if your family never goes that far, a minivan could still be the best possible solution.

The checklist: 2016 Kia Sedona

THE BASICS
Type. Four-door, 7- or 8-passenger full-size minivan
Engine (hp/torque). 3.3-litre four-cylinder (276/248)
Transmission. Six-speed automatic
Price. $27,695 (base), $46,195 (as tested), plus destination

COOL FEATURES
• Anti-stain cloth seats
• Rear air conditioning controls
• Windshield wiper de-icer
• Heated steering wheel
• Removable cargo-area flashlight
• 360-degree camera monitoring system
• Automatic high-beam headlamps

POINTS
• The upper-line trims include a power liftgate that opens automatically if you stand beside it while holding the key.
• While Hyundai used to sell a version of the Sedona, called the Entourage, Kia is now the only Korean automaker with a minivan.
• The Sedona is covered by a five-year/100,000-km bumper-to-bumper warranty.
• Eight-passenger models include a removable second-row middle seat.

MARKET POSITION
Dodge leads the market with its Grand Caravan, but the base Sedona costs less. The Kia’s higher trim line also undercuts its fully loaded competitors, but does not offer an integrated DVD player.

THE COMPETITION
Dodge Grand Caravan — Base price: $27,995
Toyota Sienna — Base price: $31,040
Honda Odyssey — Base price: $30,690

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