Kia retools Sedona with more legroom, flexible seating

The Sedona's new sheet metal also completes the overhaul of Kia's lineup under the watch of global design boss Peter Schreyer. Photo credit: BLOOMBERG

UPDATED: 4/15/14 10:00 am ET - adds photo gallery

Kia is giving its retooled Sedona minivan more legroom, an interior with customizable seating arrangements and new, muscular sheet metal for 2015.

Kia announced details and partial specifications of the 2015 Sedona today ahead of its appearance at the New York auto show this week. The Sedona gains nearly 1.5 inches in wheelbase and an extra inch in overall length compared with the outgoing model. It will seat up to eight passengers compared with the outgoing model’s maximum of seven.

The minivan goes on sale this year in the late third or early fourth quarter. Pricing, fuel economy, cargo space and other details will be announced closer to the minivan’s sales launch date, Kia says.

As with all of Kia’s recent products, styling was a top priority in the Sedona’s overhaul. Kia says the Sedona’s “European-inspired” design and cab-forward proportions will help it stand out in the segment, where it will go up against heavyweights such as the Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

The Sedona’s new sheet metal also completes the overhaul of Kia’s lineup under the watch of global design boss Peter Schreyer, who is also a president of Kia Motors Corp.

“Throughout the development process, our engineers in the U.S. and Korea focused on adding the element of desire to the all-new Sedona with improved driving dynamics and power and the incorporation of modern styling cues, premium materials and technology,” Orth Hedrick, vice president of product planning for Kia Motors America, said in a statement.

Inside, the Sedona comes in seven- or eight-passenger configurations. All models come with standard third-row folding seats with a 60/40 split that can be stowed in the cabin’s floor for extra cargo room. Borrowing from the lounge-style seating of the Kia KV7 concept car shown at the 2011 Detroit auto show, the Sedona’s two optional “first class” seats in the second row can swivel to face the third row for a “lounge” seating arrangement. The second-row seats also can slide forward and stand upright to make extra cargo room.

High-tech options, such as Kia’s UVO eServices telematics system and active safety systems, also are available.

Under the hood is a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with gasoline direct injection paired to a six-speed automatic from Hyundai-Kia’s global powertrain portfolio. It produces 276 hp and 248 lbs.-ft. of torque.

Kia phased the Sedona out of its U.S. lineup in 2012, but revived it last year. Sales through the first three months of 2014 totaled 1,539 units, vs. 555 a year earlier.

Industrywide, minivan sales are nearly half of peak volumes at the turn of the century.

You can reach Ryan Beene at autonews@crain.com

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