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2015 KIA Sedona MPV crossover is still a minivan

2015 Sedona adds new excitement to segment - new fresh Kia styling
2015 Sedona adds new excitement to segment - new fresh Kia styling
Kia Motors

Despite all of the hype plus a series of teaser photos leading to the introduction of the all-new 2015 Kia Sedona at the New York Auto Show where Kia called it a midsize crossover MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle) – it still looks like it is a minivan.

Significantly refreshed with many new features
Significantly refreshed with many new features
Kia Motors

We do agree that it is significantly transformed with the trappings of current generation Kia vehicles including a fully integrated version of Kia’s signature grille and headlamps with LED positioning lights to give it a significantly more current look suggesting a new and much improved version of the Sedona.

So what have they given us in this all-new 2015 Sedona?

What we see is still a seven or eight passenger people hauler that is nicely freshened with crossover-like styling elements. Kia says the wheelbase is 1.6-inches longer than its predecessor, and the side profile, with its reduced front and rear overhangs, combines with the deeply swept windshield and available 19-inch alloy wheels to create the new look. The same work appears to apply also to the rear design layout, with LED taillights, integrated bumper guard and standard roof spoiler.

On the inside, Kia says the all-new Sedona provides more front shoulder room and greater leg room in the front, second and third rows. The driver seating is said to be more of a command type enabling improved visibility for the driver. New horizontal design cues across the instrument panel give a greater sense of width, while generous use of soft-touch materials adds to new premium ambiance.

As in other minivans, the Sedona will provide flexible seating in both seven- and eight-passenger configurations along with a multitude of storage options. Kia points to a new front center console that they say is unique to the segment and allows for generous and cleverly convenient storage space between the front seats. Second row Slide-n-Stow (their name for these) tracked seating slides and folds upright to allow for cargo hauling while eliminating the hassle that comes with removing heavy and cumbersome middle seats.

Interestingly, a new feature of the all-new Sedona is the choice of second row 'First Class' lounge seating that can be positioned rearward for generous legroom plus provides retractable lower leg rests. Some configurations will feature segment-unique second-row seat cushion heaters for added comfort and all 2015 Sedona models will offer a third-row that provides the convenience of a split folding 60/40 in-floor retractable design.

On the inside, Kia makes special note of a new standard interior fabric – YES Essentials – that provides anti-microbial protection from spills, anti-static protection from irritating electrical shocks as well as stain-repelling and stain-releasing fabric characteristics that will be segment exclusive. The new Sedona interior will feature solid or two-tone color options in beige, gray and burgundy whiles a new top-line SXL trim will feature standard ultra-soft Nappa leather seating surfaces throughout the cabin which is the same Chromium-free leather found in the K900 luxury sedan.

Kia will include the next-generation UVO Infotainment & Telematics system, and the all-new Sedona will be the first Kia vehicle to offer four new eServices features: Geo-fencing, Speed Alert, Curfew Alert and Driving Score. Additionally, with the introduction of the Kia App store, select apps can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play. They add that there are many more new technologies for comfort and convenience featured in the new UVO system, including Siri “Eyes Free6” and Local Search – powered by Google – for finding locations, addresses and points of interest.

The 2015 Kia Sedona will be a stronger vehicle than the prior version according to Kia with a new stiffer chassis and a body out of Ultra High Strength Steel (press hardened) or High Strength Steel, which provides exceptional rigidity, durability and collision protection in a lightweight design. The roof strength is enhanced through reinforced pillars that distribute impact loads with ultra-high-strength steel tubes that run inside the A-pillars. Extensive use of adhesives and large diameter welds also add to Sedona’s overall structural integrity and strength.

Amplitude Selected Dampers (ASD) will be used to deliver a balance between ride comfort and handling. And the 2015 Sedona is expected to be among the quietest in the segment thanks to wheel-house padding, double seal sliding doors and an expanded use of sound-deadening foam in the engine compartment, reducing noise and perceived harshness over rough pavement.

A new Lambda Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 3.3-liter V6 engine will replace the 3.5-liter V6 found in the last generation Sedona. The 3.3-liter engine, which is also found in the Sorento CUV and Cadenza premium sedan, will deliver 276 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and offer 248 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. The new 3.3-liter V6 engine will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission tuned for balanced control, power and efficiency.

Safety and technology will include standard with active safety features such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist System (BAS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Antilock Braking System (ABS), Roll Over Mitigation (ROM) and Cornering Brake Control (CBC).

Optional will be Vehicle Stability Management (VSM), Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Surround View Monitor which will provide a real-time view all-around from cameras placed around the vehicle.

Comfort and convenience will be important, says Kia, as they include their first application of the newest high-power (2.1 AMP) USB charging port and a 115-volt AC outlet to charge small electronics as well as a dual glove box that offers a cooled lower storage area. A hands-free “Smart Tailgate” opens the rear lift gate automatically when the key fob is sensed for three seconds, and its programmable function can be tailored to the user’s height preference.

Kia adds that the new premium trim level – SXL – will be available when U.S. sales are scheduled to begin in the late third quarter or early fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the Sedona’s launch date.

If you read our recent ride and drive review of another minivan, the 2014 Chrysler Town & Country, you note we talked about the ‘demise’ of the minivan segment being overstated given the continuing success of those still in the segment – including some growth in that segment the last couple of years.

Though Kia does not call the new 2015 Sedona a minivan, we do - and add that it will bring some fresh excitement to the segment.