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Words by Jay Kana
Ah, the minivan. Created as a solution to house growing families, sports equipment, musical instruments, and as to the go-to vehicle on moving days, this utilitarian creation has seen various blueprints, shapes and sizes.
My father bought a 1994 Plymouth Voyager in May of 1994. It was bulky, uncomfortable to drive, and had only one rear entry sliding door, but was it ever useful. It took the family to several North American locations, with Florida at its furthest destination.
Every demographic has a vehicle that aligns with its needs, and the Sedona is one that can be included in multiple silos as a result of its price range. As a 30-something sans dependants, I have to admit that the 2015 Kia Sedona doesn’t align with my automotive needs.
But my singular demographic position is far from commonplace in my age bracket. For the other 90 percent (give or take 20 percent) who have found a way to produce 3.7 children (give or take 1.4 children), the Sedona has a widespread appeal. How widespread? Kia presents seven model trims for the Sedona, from the not-so-base base L which includes cruise control, anti-stain seats, A/C and slide-and-stow second-row seats, all the way to the SXL, boasting dual sunroofs, second-row captain’s chairs and leg rests, a leather/wood steering wheel, a premium Infinity audio system and Napa leather seats, among many others.
The functional side of this vehicle provides you with 12 cup holders (not a typo, there are seriously 12 in this thing), seating for up to eight (depending on trim choice), 12V power outlets, a 360° view camera (the best innovation in recent years, in my opinion) and an active ECO system to maximize fuel efficiency.
At first glance, the Sedona hasn’t revolutionized the shape of the minivan, nor does it need to. Creating a large-sized people mover with ample storage/cargo space by default reduces the body styling options. That’s fine as far as I’m concerned, as I always advocate for pragmatism. Besides, it’s far from unappealing. There are some nice design lines here and the LED lights provide a touch of class.
Using the “it’s what’s on the inside that counts” approach, Kia has opted to put all the razzle-dazzle inside the doors, which is where it should be, which is clearly illustrated by the clean, easy-to-read dashboard and the eight-inch touchscreen centre console and navigation on the SXL trim.
I took advantage of having a minivan for a week by helping a friend of mine move a loveseat into his new house. It was a perfect fit and there was leftover room for an ottoman and some large framed pictures. The power lift gate also proved to be quite handy. Function over fashion wins again.
I’ve always felt that minivans got a bad rap. True, they’re not on any short lists for innovative design awards, but the unofficial chariot of soccer moms and hockey dads can do in one trip what would take CUVs, SUVs and station wagons multiple trips to accomplish. They’re great as learning vehicles for teenagers they’re the vehicle of choice at drive-in theatres.
The scattered interior world of the minivan traditionally consists of ill-placed Lego pieces, old french fries, empty water bottles, “missing” homework, matchbox toys, gas receipts and straws—the Kia Sedona’s vast interior happily accepts lost iPod cables, Fitbits, gift cards and salad containers along with whatever else 2.3 or 3.7 kids handle these days.
Maybe I should start an auto detailing company—I’d make a fortune!
Read more of Jay’s car reviews!