On the market since 2014, the 2021 Kia Sedona is the final model year of the third-generation of family-friendly minivans from the Korean manufacturer. Trading on SUV-like styling to set it apart from the crowd, the Sedona is a middle-of-the-road option against established class-leaders like the Chrysler Pacifica. But, with the likes of the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey being completely overhauled for 2021, the Sedona is quickly losing relevance in a market dominated by the crossover, and even the brand's own Telluride SUV is cannibalizing sales of the aging minivan. That doesn't mean it's bad, however, and you still get a comfortable upscale interior, a fair amount of safety features, and, as before, a 3.3-liter V6 engine powering the front wheels with outputs of 276 horsepower. An all-new Sedona is being prepared for a 2022 market launch, so until then, the current model is merely a placeholder in the segment against more accomplished rivals.
Kia is readying an all-new Sedona for 2022, and as such, the 2021 iteration is effectively a carryover model. Venetian Red has been dropped from the color palette, and in an effort to simplify production, the previous entry to the range, the Sedona L, has been cut from the lineup leaving just the LX, EX, and SX trims.
Kia has accomplished something here: Unlike your typical minivan, the Kia Sedona manages to disguise its exterior to such an extent that it can come across as a crossover SUV from certain angles. The side profile gives away that this is a large people carrier, but the front and rear end both look comfortably SUV-like. Even in base form, Kia makes sure that the Sedona looks relatively upscale with standard features such as body-colored door handles (chrome on the SX) and a subtle rear spoiler. A black mesh grille does duty on the LX and EX, replaced by a dark metallic mesh grille on the SX. This trim also gets a power sunroof as standard and LED headlights and taillights in place of the projector beam clusters on lower trims. Wheel sizes start at 17 inches for LX models, while both the EX and SX wear 18-inch alloys finished in silver and machine finish, respectively. These are also the only two trims with standard roof rails.
Offering lots of space is the name of the game here, so the Sedona doesn't hold back when it comes to its exterior dimensions. Length measures 201.4 inches, which is spread over a 120.5-inch wheelbase. Width comes in at 89.3 inches with the mirrors included, or 78.1 with them folded. Without the roof rails in LX guise, the Sedona is 68.5 inches tall. Upper trims with the rails measure 69.1 inches in height. Ground clearance is a respectable 6.7 inches. The LX has a curb weight of 4,443 pounds, growing to a maximum of 4,517 lbs for the SX. Fully optioned, these figures can swell up to 4,736 lbs.
Big vans tend to look, well, big when coated in lighter colors, so thankfully, Kia offers the 2021 Sedona with a choice of darker hues that help slim down this handsome minivan and make it look even more SUV-like. With Venetian Red being dropped from the list, the Sedona has just five remaining options available to all trims. Silky Silver, Celestial Blue, and Panthera Metal are the standard no-cost hues - not exciting, but tantalizing enough to see out the current model's final year of production - while Aurora Black and Snow White Pearl command a $395 premium.
The Kia Sedona will lap the Nurburgring faster than a professional long-distance runner. If that doesn't impress you, then nothing else it can do will. In all seriousness, the Sedona is more than competent when it comes to hauling people around. Sure, it's not going to light up the tires or the drag strip, and it won't offer any thrilling moments through the corners, but it does the van thing pretty well. Its naturally aspirated V6 engine is as smooth as silk and offers good pulling power throughout the gears. Driving through suburban roads is comfortable, and there's enough poke to get things going at a reasonable rate. Out on the highway, the van is adept at cruising at highway speeds, and there's a decent amount of go left for overtaking maneuvers.
As has done duty for the last few years in the Sedona, a 3.3-liter V6 engine propels families across the USA. It remains unchanged, still producing 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which does a commendable job of shifting through the gears. It's not as powerful as its competitors, with vans such as the Honda Odyssey producing 280 hp from its 3.5-liter V6, but there's more than enough power on tap for most driving situations. Even better is the way that V6 delivers its strength: it's smooth and compliments the refined driving experience on offer here. However, the lack of power combined with the Sedona's large dimensions and portly weight means that hustling up to highway speeds requires a heavy dose of the throttle. Fortunately, the powertrain never sounds strained, and noise within the cabin is kept acceptably low.
Kia nailed it when it comes to how the Sedona drives and handles. Steering is surprisingly direct and it responds well to quick inputs, which is excellent when you need to avoid road hazards. Ride quality is smooth and comfortable, an attractive attribute for a people carrier such as this. What surprised us most is what happened when we took it through a set of twisty roads: the Sedona maintains its composure when thrown around, and the SX with standard high-performance shocks feels downright capable. Highway cruising feels stable and predictable. Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by how well this car drives.
It is impossible to expect a large family transporter to offer everything. The Sedona looks good, drives great, and is rather practical, but it carries a bunch of weight and is powered by a rudimentary V6 engine, so gas mileage will never be a highlight. According to the EPA, the 3.3-liter V6 will chug 18/24/21 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycle. The fact that it can keep its head above the 20 mpg mark is commendable, but driving in traffic and hauling heavy loads will most certainly see those numbers drop into the teens. By comparison, the 2021 FWD Toyota Sienna, which comes exclusively as a hybrid, will manage an impressive combined figure of 33 mpg according to the manufacturer, while the Honda Odyssey will achieve 19/28/22 mpg. With a fuel tank capacity of 21.1 gallons, the 2021 Kia Sedona will be able to travel up to 443 miles.
Kia's latest range of interiors has been sharpened up to compete with the best, and the brand has done a commendable job of it. Unfortunately, the 2021 Sedona isn't at the receiving end of the latest in Kia fashion. Despite this setback, the Sedona still offers a ton of space as an 8 seater. In base form, the Sedona won't bowl you over with premium features, but the general layout of the dashboard and door panels are relatively contemporary, even if the mostly black interior can dim things down a tad. Thanks to decent ground clearance, the driver has a commanding view of the road, and visibility out the front is excellent. The sheer length of the vehicle naturally constrains rearward visibility, but reversing can still be done without relying too heavily on the reverse camera. If you're looking for a premium experience, we would suggest going with the top of the range SX, which touches on European levels of luxury.
People don't buy minivans because they look good or offer lightning performance; they buy them because they offer a lot of interior space and cargo capacity - it's as simple as that. Thankfully, the 2021 Kia Sedona offers a good chunk of space for 8 passengers. Of the 8 seats, first and second-row passengers will find that there's lots of space on offer, while third-row passengers will feel slightly constrained, although those seats are usually reserved for the young ones who don't need a ton of space anyway. Fortunately, access is easy, as the second-row Slide-n-Stow seats tuck forward for easy ingress.
The headroom comes in at 39.8 inches in the front, 39.4 inches for the second row, and 38.9 inches for the third row. Legroom is a spacious 40.9 inches in front, 41.1 inches in the middle, and a tighter 34.8 inches in the rear. Shoulder room is measured at 63.9/63.1/59.4 inches front to back. The base model driver gets an eight-way power-adjustable seat that is comfortable on long road trips, while SX models get comfy with a four-way lumbar adjustable seat.
The life of a minivan is a hard one. These cars will be tested to the extreme when it comes to interior durability, and the daily wear and tear of ordinary life, especially with children, can quickly wear a car down. The interior design of the Sedona isn't the most flashy, but it is ergonomic and practical. What goes hand in hand with practicality? Lots and lots of plastics. The Sedona is covered in the stuff, but luckily it is all of high quality. The top half of the interior is black, no matter which trim you go for, and from there, you get a few color options. On the base model, Kia offers a choice of Dark Graphite cloth, as well as Camel Beige Cloth that has to be paired with the black, white, or blue exterior colors. The upper two trim levels are offered with Camel Beige or dark leather, which has the same requirements. The rest of the interior features slim chrome trimmings and soft-touch plastic. SX models also get full carpeted floors.
Minivans are all about the space they provide, and the Sedona offers quite a bunch of it. The interior doesn't offer as many configurations as the Honda Odyssey, which can be arranged in almost every conceivable way, but the Sedona still offers a decent amount of adjustability. In terms of cargo space, the Sedona features 60/40-split, flat-folding third-row seats, and Slide-n-Stow second-row seating system, which allows you to fold up and slide forward the second-row seats via a single lever. All of this dramatically improves the Sedona's ability to carry lots of stuff, but the second-row seats can't be removed entirely as they can in some rivals. Kia claims that the Sedona offers 33.9 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 78.4 cubic feet behind the second row, and a generous 142 cubic feet behind the first row. That's enough space to carry your failed dreams of becoming a professional football player, or at the very least all the kids' school bags, strollers, and trikes on an outing to the park.
Small-item storage is also impressive: the Sedona gets 12 cupholders, a center console with storage bin, dual gloveboxes (cooled in the case of the SX), and front and rear bottle holders.
Kia makes it easy to choose between trim levels, as each brings with it its own set of unique specs. The base model gets dual power-sliding rear doors and remote keyless entry. On the inside, you get dual-zone climate control and an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Stepping up to the EX models equips heated front leather seats, a leather steering wheel, push-button start, and a wireless phone charger. The EX represents a good balance of price and features, but for those who want a more premium experience, the SX offers it all. The exterior features high beam assist and LED lighting, a power sunroof, and a power liftgate. The interior is also decked out in fancy equipment. There's a cooling glove box, tri-zone climate control, and ventilated front seats, both of which now gain full power adjustment.
A reverse camera is standard on all trims, but the EX and SX get extra driver assistance such as park distance sensors, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Optionally on the EX, but standard on the SX, you'll find a surround-view monitor, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.
There are numerous infotainment options on offer in the 2021 Kia Sedona, but you'll have to look towards the range-topping SX if you want the full monty. The standard system found in the LX consists of a seven-inch color touchscreen display with AM/FM and MP3 playback, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, Bluetooth streaming, and Siri Eyes Free. EX models add the brand's UVO eServices, but both retain the services of a six-speaker sound system. The SX gets an eight-inch display with navigation, real-time traffic and weather updates, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a premium Harman Kardon sound system with an external amplifier and subwoofer. EX and SX models also come with rapid-charge 2.1 USB charging ports, and both can be equipped with rear-seat entertainment screens to keep the kids occupied on long journeys. Both touchscreens display quality images, the menus are easy to navigate, and should be easy to get the hang of for first time users.
Kia tends to build pretty reliable cars, and the Sedona is a good example of the workmanship that goes into these Korean vans. 2021 models have not yet been recalled, although 5,385 2020 models were recalled for a loose alternator terminal nut. A single recall also affected 2019 models, but crucially, there were no owner complaints lodged against the minivan. J.D. Power also gave the 2021 Kia Sedona a reliability rating of 81/100. Kia covers the Sedona with a competitive five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty, a massive ten-year/100,000-mile drivetrain warranty, and five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance.
The primary purpose of a minivan is to carry people, but it is 2020 and not 1987, so these machines are expected to keep everyone safe in a serious accident. The good news is that according to the Kia Sedona's reviews, it can provide you with that protection; the bad news is that you'll have to go for the most expensive model on offer to get all the good safety features. Still, for a van, the Kia Sedona has performed very well during crash testing. The NHTSA's review of the Kia Sedona resulted in a full five out of five stars. The IIHS awarded it a broad spread of Good scores, which are the top ratings from the authority.
All 2021 Kia Sedona models come with a standard six-airbag system including front seat-mounted side airbags and side curtain airbags, rollover mitigation, electronic stability control, traction control, corner braking control, and hill start assist. You also get brake assist, side-impact door beams, and front and rear crumple zones. EX and SX models get parking distance warning, front and rear. Unfortunately, Kia doesn't offer the majority of its driver assistance systems on lower-trim cars, so you'll have to look to the SX if you want to keep your family as safe as possible. The SX features a surround-view monitor, forward collision-avoidance assist, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and driver attention warning and smart cruise control. These safety features are, besides the surround-view camera system, offered on the mid-tier EX as optional extras.
The minivan market is a tough one. There are a ton of offerings from some of the most established players in the game, so to be competitive in this segment takes some doing. The Sedona doesn't bring anything fresh to the game in 2021, owing to the fact that a new Kia Sedona is on its way for 2022. That doesn't mean you should overlook it, though. From the outside, the Sedona looks better than most with its chiseled looks that resemble an SUV more than a minivan. The interior is an honest job, but won't blow you away unless you go for the top-of-the-range SX, which is a suitably premium machine. But it lacks the space and versatility of newer rivals, with the Chrysler Pacifica still leading the pack and a new Toyota Sienna poised to upstage the Sedona, too. The Sedona drives acceptably, with decent poke from the engine and responsive steering and suspension. Still, newer rivals are simply more accomplished, all while feeling more premium, packing newer tech, a broad spread of safety features, and consuming less fuel. The Sedona isn't bad, but it's fighting for relevance in a segment where manufacturers have to throw their all into a minivan to ensure buyers don't opt for an SUV instead.
One of the most appealing aspects of the Kia Sedona is its relatively low asking price, a big selling point for families feeling the crunch of a somewhat depressed economy. After 2019's L trim was dropped, we're now left with the LX on the cheaper side of things, with an MSRP of $30,400. The Kia Sedona EX is priced from $33,700, and the top of the range SX comes in at a base price of $41,500. That's still a bargain when you compare it to the Odyssey Elite, which sells for $47,820. These prices exclude tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,120.
Kia offers the 2021 Sedona in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX. All three share the same 3.3-liter V6 engine producing 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, sent exclusively to the front wheels via an eight-speed transmission.
The LX offers exterior features such as 17-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, rear privacy glass, and dual power-sliding rear doors. The interior of the LX introduces a seven-inch color touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as Bluetooth streaming. There are dual gloveboxes, a two-way power-adjustable driver seat with adjustable lumbar support, and a six-speaker audio system.
EX models include the features mentioned above and add 18-inch alloy wheels and roof rails to the exterior. At the same time, the interior gets heated leather seats, steering wheel, and shift knob, push-button start, a wireless phone charger, as well as front and rear park distance warning, rapid-charge USB ports, and rear-cross traffic collision warning.
The top of the line SX brings the heat with a standard four-way driver's lumbar adjustment, an eight-way adjustable passenger seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink, carpeted floor mats, a cooling glove box, tri-zone climate, and an eight-inch infotainment display with navigation and a Harman Kardon Audio system. The SX also includes valuable driver assistance systems such as driver attention warning, forward collision warning, and pedestrian detection.
Kia packages the Sedona as an all-inclusive product, which means that each trim level has locked-in features, making the options list very small. For instance, having leather seats on an LX is impossible; you'll have to pay the extra money for the EX or SX. This can get a tad frustrating for those who like to personally configure their cars, but for the rest, it's a simplified way of doing things. Optional accessories on the LX include an auto-dimming rearview mirror for $350, or remote start for $425. The EX is offered with the EX Premium Package, which adds SX features such as a power sunroof, smart power liftgate, and driver safety systems like forward collision warning and lane departure warning for an additional $4,800. There's also the option of adding a dual-screen rear entertainment system for an extra $1,500 - available on both the EX and SX trims.
The 2021 Kia Sedona is a pleasure to drive, and it's pretty good to look at too, but it is aging, and the competition offers more comprehensive packages at the higher end of the price spectrum. On the lower end of the trim ladder, the LX provides good capability, but we feel that if you're going to spend some decent time in this can, you should treat yourself to a few creature comforts, which this trim level lacks. Instead, we would suggest you look at the mid-range EX. This car obviously sits in the middle of the pack price-wise, but it brings a lot more features to the table. The EX gets stuff like blind-spot assistance, rear cross-traffic assistance, leather upholstery, as well as wireless phone charging and rapid charging USB ports. Sure, you're missing out on a few extra safety features found in the SX, but we think this is your best bet.
The Sienna had the privilege of being one of the only minivans in the US available with all-wheel-drive, which already puts it at an advantage over the FWD-only Sedona. The 2021 iteration is a force to be reckoned with, however, as power is provided by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid, which produces 243 hp. While that's significantly less than what you get in the Sedona, the manufacturer claims that it will offer much-improved gas mileage with a combined rating of 33 mpg. The exterior isn't as good looking, in our opinion, but it's what's inside that counts, right? The Sienna offers a superior list of standard features in base trim, and also provides more cargo room. On the road, both cars are equally comfortable. The interior of the Sienna feels just as well put together as the Kia, but we don't like the control layout. Still, despite how much more it costs, we would go with the Toyota.
Honda always seems to get it right with its minivan offering. The Odyssey has been an American favorite for years, and with good reason: it is one of the most spacious and fun to drive minivans out there. Powering this beast is a 3.5-liter V6 producing a more powerful 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The Odyssey is more attractive from the outside, thanks to a thorough facelift for 2021 - a thought cemented in your mind once you step inside. The interior feels fresher, and there are a plethora of features on offer in the base model for only $1,390 more than the Sedona LX. The Odyssey definitely trumps the Sedona in terms of standard driver assistance systems, and the infotainment system is also superior. The Odyssey will fit more stuff in the rear because of its massive cargo capacity of 144.9 cubic feet - and the second-row seats fold almost flat. The Odyssey is a popular choice for a reason, and we would have one over the Sedona any day of the week.