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Kia Sedona 2.2 CRDi 3 Auto

Click to view picture gallery“Today there are multiple ways to
  transport your family: buyers can
  choose from an ever-growing
  selection of body styles ranging
  from crossovers, SUVs and
  SAVs to workhorse estates and
Touring and ‘Sportwagon life-
  style holdalls
and, of course,
  the time-proven MPV

IF YOU DO HAVE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITIES then it's hard to beat an MPV for carrying a mixed load of bodies in comfort. An MPV, for instance, such as the latest generation Sedona Kia's dedicated carrier of people. If that makes it sound rather too utilitarian and more like a troop-carrier, it isn't. Utilitarian, that is. Climb aboard and you'll find yourself sitting very comfortably indeed in a spacious cabin extremely well fitted out with all the essential gear.

The dash layout is exactly as most people prefer: straightforward. Thanks to it's raised position the gearlever falls easily to hand and coupled with grand views out and a commandingly upright seating position, the Sedona driver can really feel at ease behind the wheel. A parking camera is integrated into the rear view mirror and while it takes a little getting used to it does make parking about as hassle-free as you can hope for. That said, rear visibility from the driver's seat is actually pretty good.

From the outside the Sedona's neat lines and extensive colour-coding tend to scale down its 4.8-metre length. Getting into the five-door, seven-seat Sedona is straightforward: the driver and passenger seat bases are just the right height for sliding in and on via the conventional front doors. If your seat allocation is for the second or third row then you step right in through the wide-opening power-operated sliding side doors — externally these can be opened by the one-touch door handles or the key fob; internally by the door handle or roof console switch. They also benefit from 'Hold Open' locks to keep them open and anti-pinch features for when they're closing. Access to the third pair of chairs requires folding the appropriate second row seat first but it's an easy action.

Driver-friendly hi-tech
‘toys’ include a reversing
camera integrated into
the auto-dimming
rear view mirror — it
s no
gimmick and comes in
extremely handy
Not all seven-seaters will seat seven adults but in the Sedona seven really can sit and travel enjoyably. There's excellent head and legroom and those in the five individual rear seats are pampered almost as much as those sitting up front. Like the first row, the third row chairs can be slid independently fore and aft and both recline — and even back there you'll find genuine room for adults. Rear compartment passengers also benefit from their own air conditioning with dedicated rear cabin controls. Wherever you sit in the Sedona you sit high with excellent views out and the leather seats are notably comfortable for long stretches, taking the sting out of lengthy cross county trips as much as they do when shuffling through snarled up urban traffic or the battling the school run. All in all, it's a nice way to travel.

The Sedona has been designed to cope with a variety of 'cargo' requirements, be the load human or non-human. If you're loading from the back, you'll definitely be glad of the key fob-activated electric tailgate. With all seats taken, the boot is tall rather than long but fold the third row and the boot capacity expands to 1,083 litres; do the same with the second row and this goes up to a whopping 1,770 litres. If you prefer, all five rear seats can be lifted out completely for 'van' duty. Alternatively, there are numerous configurations of folded/removed seats to suit whatever your need is at any particular moment.

Versatile people and cargo carrying abilities aside, the Sedona's cabin itself is a light and airy place to be thanks to the large glass areas. Cabin quality is first rate, with nice trim materials and good fit and finish. It's also thoughtfully laid out, with foolproof switchgear and controls (including those for the triple-zone climate control and audio system) all sited high on the fascia for ease of use and minimal distraction for the driver. Likewise the raised transmission selector lever.

The six-speaker hi-fi/CD with MP3 compatibility plays good sounds and there's also, of course, the now-indispensable USB connector. Other driver-friendly hi-tech 'toys' include a reversing camera integrated into the auto-dimming rear view mirror — it's no gimmick and comes in extremely handy. Parents travelling in either front seat will appreciate the useful drop-down 'conversation' mirror to monitor children sitting behind.

Those in charge
of family budgets will be
more interested in
how it performs at the
pumps — and it does
well, with 28.2, 37.7
and 45.6mpg for the
official urban,
combined and extra-
urban cycles
While we're talking 'kit', Sedonas can be specified in one of three trim levels — plain-spokenly designated 1, 2 and 3. All models in the range are well equipped but the range-topping '3' model reviewed here comes seriously laden with goodies including tri-zone climate control, four electric windows (driver's auto down), electric rear quarter windows, rear parking camera with electrochromic rear view mirror, full leather upholstery, cruise control, 6-speaker CD/radio with MP3 player and USB and AUX ports plus iPod cable, Follow-Me-Home headlamps, tinted glass (with rear privacy glass to the rear side, quarter and back windows), power driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors, sliding electric rear doors, power-operated tailgate, leather-wrapped steering wheel with wheel-mounted audio controls, folding table between the driver and passenger seats with a built-in recessed tray and four cup holders (a foot-operated parking brake means the table can be used all of the time). There are also seat-back tables for the 2nd and 3rd rows, a mass of cup holders (we stopped counting at 12!), lots of storage cubbies of various sizes and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Safety is equally comprehensive: front and front-side as well as full-length curtain airbags, passenger airbag cut-off switch, active front headrests, height-adjustable seatbelts for the 1st and 2nd rows (outer seats), full 3-point belts for all 7 seats/occupants, Isofix child seat anchor points (2nd row outer + 3rd row) and an anti-pinch feature on the electric sliding rear doors. Plus there's Electronic Stability Control with Traction Control System and ABS with Electronic BrakeForce Distribution and Brake Assist.

Bringing power to the people is a 192bhp 2.2-litre turbodiesel. Although it replaces the larger capacity 2.9 diesel engine, the gutsy new 2.2 turbodiesel is better in every respect; a refined and smooth-revving unit, it serves up a muscular 310lb ft of torque between 1,800 and 2,500rpm. Don't spare the horses and it will run the Sedona up to a top speed of 122mph, hitting 60mph from standstill in 11.9 seconds.

Of course, all that power is primarily intended to make light work of hauling round a full complement of people. Those in charge of family budgets will be more interested in how it performs at the pumps — and it does well, with 28.2, 37.7 and 45.6mpg for the official urban, combined and extra-urban cycles. In the real world our automatic test car returned an average 35.1mpg signifying that drivers more interested in stretching their weekly fuel budget should easily be able to match Kia's official figures.

The all-new smooth-
shifting auto ’box is a
cinch to use and also
offers a manual mode
that proved to be
especially competent in
the snow we experienced
during our week
s test
Given its primary role and likely urban operating theatre, specifying the optional (1,500) six-speed automatic transmission is a sensible decision. First off, there's not that much in it between the auto and the six speed manual either in average consumption (auto 37.7 vs the manual's 42.2mpg) and 0-60mph acceleration (auto 11.9 vs manual 11.3 seconds).

Naturally, MPV drivers are principally interested in practicality and ease of driving and in these areas the new 2.2 Sedona scores highly. For a start, the all-new smooth-shifting auto 'box is a cinch to use and also offers a manual mode that proved to be especially competent in the snow we experienced during our week's test. On motorways the automatic transmission enhances the overall cockpit refinement and makes the Sedona an unruffled motorway cruiser that's as easy on its passengers as it is on its driver.

The good ride quality — passengers are rarely made aware of road imperfections — confirms that the Sedona is biased strongly towards comfort. However, it's also surprisingly good to drive and for such as large people carrier it can be hurried along quite safely and enjoyably thanks to its accurate steering and reassuring and predictable handling. The brakes — discs front and rear — are spot-on and well able to handle all stopping requests both fully laden or with only the driver aboard.

A civilised and honest multi-purpose vehicle all dressed up in one affordable and nice-looking package, the easy-to-live-with Sedona manages every family or load-carrying chore you can ask of it. It also offers great versatility, value for money, high levels of comfort, a 7-year/100,000-mile warranty, a smooth automatic transmission and it is pleasant to drive. Spend just a short time behind the Sedona's wheel and you won't need to 'phone a friend to know why the Kia brand continues to go from strength to strength. — MotorBar

Kia Sedona 2.2 CRDi 3 Auto
| 24,495
Maximum speed: 122mph | 0-62mph: 11.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 35.1mpg
Power: 192bhp | Torque: 310lb ft | CO2 199g/km