2008 Kia Sedona


$2,849 - $3,628

2008 Kia Sedona Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Kia Sedona was new.


Performance: 7.7

Minivans aren't generally thought of as performance vehicles, but reviewers mostly praise the Kia Sedona's standard 250-horsepower V6 engine. "The 3.8 liter V6 engine pulls smoothly and strongly," says About.com. "[T]he Sedona exhibits good, stable road manners and enough power to accelerate strongly into traffic, even when packed full of kids and their accoutrements." Reviewers are satisfied with, if not entirely enthusiastic about, the Sedona's handling, with Motor Week noting that "[o]n our handling course we found the Sedona to be competent if ordinary."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Kia Sedona comes with a 3.8-liter, 250-horsepower V6 engine. Reviewers like it, though several note that it occasionally struggles to pull the Sedona's 4,300-pounds-plus curb weight. Kelley Blue Book feels that the Sedona's engine "makes it one of the most powerful minivans on the road." However, Consumer Guide feels that it "it seemed slow to build speed." The Chicago Sun-Times calls the engine "smooth" and "sophisticated." The reviewer for New Car Test Drive is impressed with how the engine sounds: "We let it run up to 95 once, and it was steady, smooth and quiet...At idle, it's so quiet that we once tried to start it when it was already running." Still, the Sedona isn't a sports car and Newsday offers this warning to buyers: "Don't expect miracles in the performance department...fully equipped, this is a 4,600-pound-plus vehicle, even with no people or stuff aboard."

The Sedona's fuel economy is fair for a minivan. The Environmental Protection Agency rates both the LX and the EX at 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. MSN feels that this is "decent for a big, roomy, powerful minivan," but USA Today believes that the "[f]uel economy isn't great." Several reviewers note that, while the Sedona doesn't require premium gas, running on regular will reduce the engine's horsepower and torque.

The 2008 Kia Sedona comes with a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with overdrive and a manual shifting mode. Reviewers generally find it to be a good companion for the engine. Kelley Blue Book calls it "responsive" and AutoWeek likes that it's "quick-shifting." USA Today got a kick out of the manual shift mode: "Not that you'll blast around the 'burbs slap-shifting your way between stoplights. But you can gear down for better control on hills, or when towing or hauling a lot. Or, yes, for fun. And when you leave the transmission in auto mode, you're rewarded with slick upshifts and prompt, quick downshifts." Consumer Guide, on the other hand, feels that the transmission was "sluggish" and "very slow to kick down at full throttle for highway passing and even for low-speed acceleration. At least shifts were smooth."

Handling and Braking

Reviewers find the Sedona's handling acceptable for a minivan. The reviewer for USA Today goes so far as to laud the LX and the EX for their "uncommon sportiness," but most reviewers are more cautious in their praise. Consumer Guide feels that the Sedona's ride is "[c]omfortable for a minivan, but not quite carlike." The Chicago Sun-Times says that the "handling is average." The Sacramento Bee finds that the "[h]andling was sedan-like," which for a minivan is a compliment. But the Los Angeles Times, in a generally negative review of the Sedona, notes that the independent rear suspension "theoretically gives the vehicle livelier handling. This remains theoretical. The Sedona stops, turns and corners with all the eagerness of a DMV employee at 4:56 p.m. on a Friday."

Reviews are mixed on the performance of the Sedona's independent MacPherson suspension with struts and coil springs. New Car Test Drive feels that the Sedona has "a terrific, tight European-feeling independent suspension." MSN found that "[t]he suspension shrugs off most imperfect pavement." But Newsday notes that "the suspension is tuned for comfort at the expense of handling." Several reviewers observe that the suspension allows too much body lean on tight corners. About.com found that "a bit of body roll is noticeable on sharper turns." The Sacramento Bee agrees: "There was a little too much sway for my comfort level in a prolonged curve taken at 55 miles per hour. I found myself backing off the gas to preserve that all-important center of gravity. I never felt on the verge of losing traction -- just a little more lean than I liked."

As with most other aspects of the 2008 Kia Sedona's handling, reviewers find the rack-and-pinion steering acceptable for such a large vehicle. Several note that the steering wheel doesn't provide much road feedback to the driver, but for most minivan buyers this probably won't be an issue. Car and Driver notes that the "steering is neither particularly communicative nor particularly numb." Consumer Guide thinks the "steering is nicely weighted but feels numb." About.com agrees, saying the "steering is direct and responsive, but like most minivans seems to shield the driver from too much road information." Otherwise, reviewers like the way that the Sedona steers. The Detroit News felt that the Sedona "is easy to maneuver and to park, although it seemed to have a bigger-than-expected turning circle at almost 40 feet." The Sacramento Bee praised the steering as "pretty much effortless; I was surprised how easily the Sedona snaked around tight parking lots." New Car Test Drive, however, notes that "there's some built-in understeer, meaning you sometimes have to feed more steering into a corner as you speed around it, but if it were any more direct it might be darty."

Reviewers generally like the Sedona's brakes. "Stopping distances are reassuringly short when the brakes are applied hard," says MSN. "Braking was short and secure," agrees Motor Week, "with stops from 60 averaging a very good 120 feet."

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