More could have been done for a mid-cycle update...

The Kia Sedona is a decent minivan – there’s no doubt about that. But, Kia’s idea of updating the Sedona is nothing short of laughable. First, Kia did update the front fascia to be more in line with its current lineup, but outside of that, the only good thing that comes outside aside from new wheels are redesigned exterior lights. If you want LED headlamps you need to pony up for the higher trim levels while you have to jump up to the EX if you want the new power sliding door button. Outside of a new instrument cluster inside, the interior only sees updates on the options list while under the metal there’s a new transmission that’s supposed to be more efficient.

2019 Kia Sedona Exterior Enhancements

Kia's Updated Sedona is Pretty Much About Revised Options and a New Transmission Exterior
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The extent of exterior updates come to an end at the addition of revised exterior lights and a new front fascia

The extent of exterior updates come to an end at the addition of revised exterior lights and a new front fascia. The latter of which is a bit sportier and features revised fog lights. But, if you want the LED taillights and headlights, you need to go with the range-topping SX and SXL trim levels. Even the new sliding door button requires you to climb three trim levels from base to the EX. Kia’s tigernose grille did get a new mesh design, and there are new wheels for most trim levels that come in 17-, 18-, and 19-inches depending on your trim level. Oh, and there’s some new chrome trim in the back…. Yay!

2019 Kia Sedona Interior Enhancements

Kia's Updated Sedona is Pretty Much About Revised Options and a New Transmission Interior
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Of the entire update list, only one thing comes standard across the range, and that’s a revised instrument cluster with new graphics

Inside Kia would have you believe that there’s a lot of nice updates here, but they are only updates to the options you can choose to pay for. Of the entire update list, only one thing comes standard across the range, and that’s a revised instrument cluster with new graphics. Nothing else in the design department has changed despite the fact that Kia says the center fascia is “more modern.” I’ll give you $10 if you can figure out what changed there because I can’t. Moving on, the center console now has a wireless charger and a holder for your sunglasses. SX and SXL trim levels get an electronic parking brake.

As for the other “updates,” well the rear luggage area can be optioned with a new USB port, or you can go with the new optional rear seat entertainment system with 2 10.1-inch screens instead of the original over-head unit. If you want to opt for the Infinity6 sound system, you’ll find that option is gone and replaced by the Harmon Kardon 7 premium system with eight speakers. So, what you really get as standard updates is a wireless phone charger, a new storage area under the center console, and new graphics for the instrument cluster. Everything else is just an updated options list. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, but there’s nothing much here for those not willing to check off box after box to get the latest and greatest.

2019 Kia Sedona Performance Enhancements

Kia's Updated Sedona is Pretty Much About Revised Options and a New Transmission Drivetrain
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No performance enhancements here but they weren’t really needed anyway considering the mill has 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque on tap

The 2019 Sedona carries over with the same 3.3-liter V-6. No performance enhancements here but they weren’t really needed anyway considering the mill has 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque on tap – enough to keep most of the competition in check. There is, however, a new eight-speed automatic transmission that replaces the old, lazy six-speed. The new gearbox is said to improve fuel economy and a “more seamless driving experience.” The fuel economy is believable, but you might want to take a test drive to verify that last bit of PR.

On the plus side, the Sedona does get Kia’s full range of safety assistance systems including smart cruise control, stop and go, rear cross traffic alert, blind spot alert, forward collision avoidance, and a new driver attention warning system to help you be more attentive. Of course, certain features, like the forward collision warning, for instance, is an optional technology so pay close attention to the safety features that come as standard when you check this thing out at the dealer.

Final Thoughts

Kia's Updated Sedona is Pretty Much About Revised Options and a New Transmission Exterior
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At the end of the day, the Kia Sedona isn’t a bad vehicle by any means

At the end of the day, the Kia Sedona isn’t a bad vehicle by any means. It’s certainly not the most exciting model in Kia’s lineup, but if you need to haul the kiddos around all day, the Sedona isn’t a bad means of transportation. On the other hand, it’s priced relatively low at just $27,000 for the 2018 model year, so all of the good stuff like the rear seat entertainment system and the little goodies like the rear USB port are all things you’re going to have to pay for. And, if you want the better headlights, you’ll need to move up a few trim levels too. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing – you can definitely get into a nice ride below $30,000 if you’re on a budget, but don’t expect all of the bells and whistles.

Something else to keep in mind is that since this refresh comes a few years after the generation was introduced this is probably as good as it will get until the fourth-gen model comes into play after the turn of the decade. And, since there wasn’t a lot that changed on the base model, aside from that new eight-speed automatic, you might be better off finding yourself a model from 2016 and saving some cheddar – it really all depends on how much you drive and how much more efficient the 2019 model will be with that new eight-speed trans.

References

2015 Kia Sedona High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the previous, 2017 Kia Sedona.

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Read more Kia news.

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Read more New York Auto Show news.

Press release

At the 2018 New York International Auto Show today, Kia Motors America (KMA) unveiled the refreshed 2019 Sedona, revealing a more refined minivan that maintains the same functional convenience with ample passenger space and cargo, albeit with more style, technology, and amenities. Wearing newly designed front and rear fascias, the Sedona now sports a similar design language utilized on some of the newer models in Kia’s lineup, while a new available rear-seat entertainment system along with other convenience features keep the Sedona’s tech roster up-to-date. In addition, the Sedona’s tried and true 3.3-liter V6 can now be paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

“While the Sedona has continued to redefine and revolutionize the minivan segment with its bold design, advanced convenience features and upscale cabin, a subtle facelift and extended tech roster help keep our most functional multi-purpose vehicle fresh and relevant,” said Orth Hedrick, vice president, product planning, Kia Motors America (KMA). “The enhancements that come as part of the new model year are sure to continue raising the Sedona’s appeal and desirability.”

The Sedona is offered in five trim levels – L, LX, EX, EX Premium, SX, and SXL. Pricing will be announced closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date.

Bold Exterior Style

Staying true to the CUV-like proportions that came as a result of Kia’s design-led transformation, the Sedona’s front fascia is defined by a more modern headlight configuration that helps achieve a sharper appearance, with distinctive LED headlamps that are standard on SX and SXL trims. Sitting proudly in between the headlamps is Kia’s signature ‘tiger nose’ grill highlighted with a detailed mesh-like pattern. Beneath it, a reconfigured bumper and air intake add a dash of sportiness. Around back, the rear combination lamps – complete with a new graphic – flank the restyled chrome garnish on the liftgate. The side profile, defined by its reduced front and rear overhangs and deeply swept windshield, becomes more distinctive thanks to newly designed 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheels, based on trim. And because busy families appreciate a helping hand, a newly added power sliding door button located on the side door handles of EX trims and above is designed to be just that, providing easier access to the Sedona’s well-appointed cabin. Adding more flair to the model line is the SXL trim, which comes equipped with a unique bumper, skid plate, LED headlamps and foglights, 19-inch chrome wheels and distinctive side sill.

A Nicer Place to Be

The Sedona’s award-winning interior adds more refinement for the new model year. Up front, drivers are treated to a more modern center fascia complete with new graphics in the instrument cluster. The floor console between the front seats now features an available wireless charger2 and sunglasses holder to help minimize clutter, while an electronic parking brake is standard on SX and SXL trims. Rear passengers are also sure to enjoy a handful of upgrades designed with them in mind. An available USB charge point has been added to the luggage area and is accessible to those riding in the third row, though it may also come in handy during activities such as outdoor family picnics, camping or tailgating3. During longer road trips, it’s nice to have additional entertainment, especially with little ones in tow. To help keep them occupied, the Sedona’s available Rear Entertainment System adds 10.1-inch dual touchscreens located on the back of the front seats, replacing the outgoing model’s single overhead screen. Upgraded with a dual core CPU, the system now has smartphone-mirroring functionality and internet access via the user’s compatible smartphone4, meaning passengers can play their favorite online videos on the screens. Completing the RSE package are two wireless Bluetooth®5 enabled headphones with enhanced comfort and sound quality.

The outgoing Sedona’s Infinity®6 sound system has been swapped out for an available Harman Kardon®7 premium audio system that pumps out music through eight speakers. Other upscale options include available wood grain trim on the front door panels, an LED mood lamp, and the choice between an available single or dual sunroof. The Sedona’s CUV-like proportions continue to provide flexible seating in both seven- and available eight-passenger configurations, the Sedona continues to offer the choice of available second row Slide-N-Stow seats or second row “First Class” reclining lounge seats8 with footrests. The multi-purpose vehicle also keeps its available third row which provides the convenience of a split folding 60/40, in-floor-retractable design.

Driver Convenience and Technology

In addition to Forward Collision Warning (FCW)9, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go (SCC)9, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning9 (RCW), Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW)9, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA)9 , Sedona now offers Driver Attention Warning (DAW)10. FCA is designed to help detect and alert the driver of a collision risk and automatically apply the brakes in certain situations. DAW is designed to detect when driver concentration has waned by monitoring vehicle and driving behavior. If driver fatigue or inattentive driving is detected, the system issues visual and audible warnings, including a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster, to encourage the driver to take a break. With the new additions, the Sedona is expected to earn the prestigious Top Safety Pick + rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) when equipped with optional Forward Collision Warning for the 2019 model year.

Underneath the Hood

The Sedona’s tried and true Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) 3.3-liter V6 engine is now paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission that replaces the 6-speed automatic in the outgoing model. While power figures remain unchanged with the engine making 276 horsepower and 248 lb.-ft. of torque, the new transmission is designed to create a more seamless driving experience and help improve combined fuel economy figures11. In addition, the Sedona continues to offer a three-step Variable Induction System (VIS) that improves engine "breathing" by automatically adjusting the intake runner lengths to optimize engine torque under different load conditions.

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