The Grand Sedona is an underrated offering from Kia that is high on standard specification and has a compelling price tag. Unfortunately it has not made the impact it should have made in South Africa. It plays second fiddle to its distant cousin, the Hyundai H1. We have often wondered whether the MPV leaning body is what lets the Grand Sedona down as other MPVs with panel van like bodies, including the Hyundai H1, do relatively well in South Africa. Having experienced the Grand Sedona previously, our view is that it is one of Kia’s best offerings. The Grand Sedona has received updates to the interior and exterior, a revised line up to ensure that it is not passed over for its competitors.
Interior and exterior updates
Upfront, Kia has updated the bumpers and iconic “tiger nose” grille in the refreshed Grand Sedona. Higher models get new LED Daytime running lights. At the back, the refreshed Grand Sedona gets a new bumper design and a revised taillamp design. As in the front, the back also gets new LED lights in higher specification models.
The interior remains largely unchanged although it gets a redesigned fascia and a new graphic cluster. All models have a touchscreen infotainment screen as standard.
A refreshed model line up
In the refreshed Kia Sedona range, Kia has discontinued the SX specification grade and added a new EX+ specification to the line-up. Kia has also dropped the 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine in favour of the 2.2 litre engine.
The Kia Sedona is one of our favourite Kia vehicles because it has a high standard specification. Even at the entry level the EX, you will find features such as, automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), a centre console armrest with large storage binnacle, electric heated side mirrors, electric windows front and rear, rear park distance control and rear USB ports as standard. As if that is not already impressive, the EX also gains new 7-inch touchscreen integrating audio controls and the rear-view camera, as well as Apple CarPlay (the Grand Sedona is Android Auto ready).
EX models come standard with a 7-seat configuration. Should you require more space, an 11-seat option is available on special order.
Up next is the new EX+ model. The Kia Grand Sedona EX+ boasts standard features such as automatic dual zone air-conditioning and auto-folding and heated side mirrors with integrated side indicators, and also gains an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, front and rear park distance control, front foglamps, glove box cooling, leather upholstery (as well as a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear shift lever) and a wireless smartphone charger. Buyers opting for the EX+ will also benefit from a new 8-inch colour touchscreen with embedded Satellite Navigation. This new colour touchscreen will also allow occupants to control audio, radio, via the USB/Aux jacks, or through their mobile device via Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto, once released in South Africa). Apple CarPlay works well but the six standard speakers are not of the quality you would expect from the Grand Sedona. Its party bus credentials may be a stake because of this on a road trip. Notwithstanding this, the overall generous list of creature comforts in the Grand Sedona EX+, which is only available with a new 8-seat configuration, will certainly save the day.
At the top of the range is the Kia Grand Sedona SXL. The SXL is only available with a 7-seat configuration and boasts all the features of the EX+ but adds features like Smart Entry with Push Button Start, Blind Spot Detection, a dual sunroof, LED headlamps with automatic levelling, LED fog lamps, LED rear combination lights, a Smart Power Tailgate, dual electric sliding doors, electrically adjustable driver and front passenger seats (adjustable eight ways, including memory function and 4-way lumbar adjustment), rear seat warmers and an extra two speakers.
The Grand Sedona EX+ and SXL models also gain an Electric Parking Brake with Auto Hold Function, replacing the previous foot-brake.
The Grand Sedona may look like a typical MPV but rides slightly higher than the average MPV. This allows for added visibility and helps keep things much safer. In fact, those investing in the Grand Sedona will be pleased to know that Kia has kept safety at the top of the list. As the car is mostly used by families, this is welcomed news. The safety systems doing duty in the Grand Sedona include ABS brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), six airbags and ISOFIX child seat anchors. Parents will be pleased to know that the electric windows also have a safety function that automatically halts the window closing if an obstruction – like a child’s hand – is detected. Drivers will also benefit from Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Hill-start Assist. All models feature Park Distance Control at the rear whilst EX+ and SXL models also gain front parking distance control.
Engine and drive
Powering the range is the Kia developed 2,2-litre ‘R’ turbodiesel engine. This engine produces 147 kW of power at 3 800 r/min, with maximum torque of 440 Nm available between 1 750 and 2 750 r/min. This engine is loved for being quiet and fuel efficient. We think it does the latter way better than the former. Driving from George to Port Elizabeth, we saw ourselves achieving 7.6l/100km at some point and finally ended at 8.0l/100km for that trip.
As with the enhanced Kia Sorento SUV, the refreshed Grand Sedona’s 2.2 litre engine gets KIA’s new home brewed eight-speed automatic transmission across the range. The transmission is smooth but I felt that the timing of the gear changes wasn’t as accurate as it is in the Sorento. The Grand Sedona felt hesitant at times and I had to overrule it with a “manual change” to get it to the 7th and 8th gear quicker. Other than that, the power delivery is great and you can overtake in confidence. Importantly the ride quality is decent both upfront and at the back, and the cabin is well insulated. It will be tricky to find so much value in one package If you are in the space for a large vehicle like the refreshed Grand Sedona.
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