2015 Kia Grand Sedona driven
1. What is it?
It’s the third generation of Kia’s once-humble people mover, now with more stylish and luxurious execution. Despite heading upmarket, crucially, it hasn’t forgotten the key ingredients that made the Sedona a popular choice in the large MPV segment. Only seven-seater LWB versions are available at launch but an eleven-seat option should be available soon.
2. What’s special about it?
For one, it’s pretty good looking for a people mover, now isn’t it? That’s no accident. It’s the final car in Kia’s line-up to be Peter Schreyered, meaning it too now wears the tiger nose grille, fancy LED signature headlights (in mid and top spec) and neat and tidy style lines the Former Audi designer so successfully distilled throughout the Korean firm. And secondly, it’s a really pleasant place to spend time, feeling brilliantly made and more than a cut above the Sedona it replaces.
3. What drives it?
There are two engines in the range: a 3.3-litre V6 petrol with 199kW/318Nm, and the one that’ll certainly be the pick in SA, the 2.2-litre CRDI with 147kW/440Nm. Kia don’t quote fuel consumption figures these days, so on our launch route we zeroed our CRDI’s trip computer and eventually returned a figure of 8.3l/100km after several hundred kilometres driving.
4. Climbing in…
I do’t have a family but even I can work out this new Grand Sedona represents family car nirvana. From the helm all the displays are arranged in clear, concise, minimalist layers; with a 4.3in screen in the facia, which oddly, is now dwarfed by a 7in equivalent in the central driver’s display. Information is easily legible and controls falls to hand with Germanic-like effortlessness. As for the seats, they’re wonderfully supportive, well upholstered and in top spec models heated and ventilated up front. They even come with a special Anti-Pollution covering Kia calls it that keeps fluids from seeping into the upholstery. There are enough stowage areas to lose things in for days.
5. Any driving enjoyment?
Of course for a 5.1m long people mover, it’s no rocket-ship and there’s not a lot of excitement as a result, but the diesel’s drivability is decent, if a bit laggy off the line. The easy shifting six-speed automatic gearbox feels perfectly suited in this application. Multi-link rear suspension keeps the big box planted on the road and, most importantly, well isolated from boomy, van-like intrusions into the cabin as you zip over bumps and highway gaps. It’s quiet at a highway cruise, too 120kph only registering around 2500rpm, with added insulation around the A-pillar and underfloor sections to keep things quiet.
6. So its practical?
Hells to the yeah! Seven seats come as standard and Kia have removed the second row’s jump seat to free up room and make manoeuvring all the more easy. The third row can fold flat into the floor (no more dumping them in the garage like the old Sedona) and the second row can then be folded up sideways to provide over 4000-litres of utility space. The spare wheel is fitted underneath the car to accommodate this. Top spec models get ‘leccy power opening side doors and rear tailgate, and we’re told the rear tailgate will open handsfree, you merely need to stand near it for a few seconds.
7. Anything else I need to know?
Look it’s not cheap, the base 2.2 CRDI EX is R499 995, but all the premium kit you’re going to want and really lifts the Grand Sedona status only becomes available from the 2.2 CRDI EX at R625 995, all the way to the most expensive 2.2 CRDI SXL at R669 995. Factor in the full five-star Euro NCAP certification and Kia’s bulletproof 5 yr/150km service plan and 5yr/100km warranty and it’s still a pretty compelling seven-seat MPV against rivals like the Caravelle, V-Class and Grand Voyager.
So while it isn’t cheap, it’s moved the game on massively from the old Sedona, it looks the part, is brilliantly comfortable inside and shares a host of tech and convenience features with Kia’s top spec Sorento SUV. That also has seven seats mind you, and AWD, and a tall, go-anywhere ride height, and top spec SX Sorentos cost R634 995. We guess it ultimately boils down to what you require from your Kia. If you absolutely need the traditional seven-seat MPV layout, the Grand Sedona should fit your lifestyle just perfectly.