- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

The new 2002 Kia Sedona, a seven-passenger minivan that has many good things going for it, is destined to grab attention.
The Sedona has sliding doors on both sides, which is not unusual, a typical feature of all others on the market. But what is attention-grabbing is the combination of great looks with an incredible price: you can drive away in the LX model for just under $19,000. But I suspect most buyers will opt for the EX model, which is loaded with bells and whistles, and still costs only $24,100.
The EX has leather seats, chrome-plated door handles and speaker grilles, keyless entry and numerous other features that makes it a charmer. An especially thoughtful feature is included: when locking the doors using the keyless remote, many cars respond by blowing the horn loudly. At 2 a.m. that feature can be annoying to neighbors. The Sedona simply toots its horn softly.
Kia's designers and engineers can toot their horn about numerous other thoughtful amenities, such as the six little hooks in the storage area on the back of the rear seat's backrest. The hooks will hold slippery plastic shopping bags. Additional storage space can be obtained by lowering either or both backrests, or items can be carried on the body-colored roof rack.
This minivan seats seven, but the third row doesn't offer too much legroom, which is typical of most minivans. Those with better legroom acquire the additional space when the third row is pushed back, decreasing storage space. Kia made a reasonable compromise as its overall length is within an inch of other leading models.
The front and second row feature captain's chairs. But those in front are not only comfortable. they are power operated. The driver's seat has eight-way power, including power lumbar support.
The engine's power is the most impressive feature of all. Under the hood is a 3.5-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-6 engine. Although the Sedona has good displacement, it gets 15 city and 20 highway in miles per gallon using regular gas. This engine is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission another unusual feature. (Most automatic transmissions have four-speed transmissions.)
I gave the Sedona a good workout on both hills and highways, and it responded every bit as well as other minivans I've driven. I'm told the Sedona is built on independent front suspension, while the rear suspension uses a beam axle, coil springs and anti-roll bars. Both the engine and interior noise level are quite low.
The Sedona handles like a charm. It is a delight to steer and the buttons and dials are easy to understand and operate. Other thoughtful features include three power-source supplies for such items as TVs, laptops and cell phones.
The sound system in the LX has six speakers with a cassette player. The EX has eight speakers that include two additional tweeters plus a CD and cassette player. Incidentally, there are numerous cubbyholes, storage bins, and cup holders throughout, plus a felt-lined storage bin on the top of the dash panel.
Kia, a South Korean manufacturer with more than 600 dealerships, has introduced eight new products in North America since 1994. Kia's affordable vehicles are backed up with an exceptional warranty. When a vehicle is priced lower than others, buyers fear inferior quality. Kia counters that fear with a 10-year or 100,000-mile warranty for the powertrain, plus a 60,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year roadside assistance program, and more.
Now you know why Kia is growing at such a rapid rate.
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