In the world of family friendly motoring, nothing beats a minivan.
Like a fanny pack, they may not by stylish or cool, but they are incredibly useful. Although it’s a bit hard to convince people your product is the shiz, many manufacturers are trying hard to make the minivan more stylish. Toyota started this trend with the Sienna SE referring to it as the ‘Swagger Wagon’. This year, it’s Kia’s turn to create a stylish family hauler with the 2015 Sedona.
It’s obvious that Kia’s engineers studied the Sienna hard before introducing the all-new Sedona. So much of the new minivan mimics that of the Toyota. The two vans are within an inch of each other in total length, have a similar profile and weigh nearly the same.
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Not only is the new Sedona’s shape similar to the Sienna, but other aspects are nearly identical as well. The way the third row seats folds, the design of the second row of seats, the small front three quarter windows, the third row window shades, the dual opening moon roofs and the list goes on and on.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Toyota Sienna Review
There are some differences though, mostly when it comes to equipment. The Sedona can be had with options not offered in the Sienna like cooled seats, recordable satellite radio and an around view camera. The Sienna counters with options of its own like the easy speak system that allows the driver to speak to third row passengers through the van’s speakers and an actual factory installed DVD system. With the Sedona, a rear entertainment system is a dealer installed option and is a less useful center console flip-up design.
Both vans have comfortable, well-laid-out interiors. I prefer the look of the Sedona’s interior, but the Sienna wins for ease of use. Some of the controls on the Sedona’s infotainment unit require a very far reach and the software isn’t as user friendly. I also prefer the Sienna’s chunkier, all leather steering wheel to the Sedona’s thinner wheel that features a smooth, polished upper portion.
Hauling People, Hauling Stuff
Like the Sienna, the Sedona’s second row of seats can slide forward and back and feature a flip-up footrest. Unlike the Sienna, the Kia’s seats can also move side to side, which may be a cool feature or just a compensating factor since that the seats can’t slide all the way back when set to their most outboard position. The armrests in the Sedona can also be angled down, which is a nice feature when reclining the seat to position the arm rests at the appropriate angle.
With 40.6-inches, Kia offers three more inches of standard legroom for second row passengers than Toyota, but the Sedona’s sunroof does impede a bit on headroom. In the third row, things switch as the Sienna’s 36.3-inches of legroom trumps the Sedona’s 34.8-inches. Headroom is also 1.5-inches less in the Sedona, which compounded with the Kia’s lower seat cushion, makes it much tighter in the back of the Sedona.
Somehow, despite the vans being the same size, not only does Toyota offer more passenger space, but there is more cargo room as well. With 39.1 cubic feet of room behind the third row, I was able to fit more toddler-friendly gear in the Sienna’s hatch compared to the Sedona’s that can only haul 33.9 cubic feet. As mentioned, the third rows folds in nearly the exact same way, but I did find the Sedona’s seats took more effort to stow into the hatch’s cargo well.
Simple to Drive, Despite the Size
Both vans come equipped with V6 engines and six-speed automatic transmissions that send power to the front wheels. The Sienna is also available with all-wheel drive for those in messier climates, whereas the Sedona is not.
Even with a smaller 3.3-liter V6 engine, the Sedona’s 276 HP and 248 lb-ft. of torque trumps the Sienna’s 3.5-liter V6 that produces 266 HP and 245 lb-ft. of torque. Despite the power advantage, the Sedona’s engine feels adequate at best as the transmission is slow to react and not the smoothest unit on the market. The Sienna, on the other hand, has a great drivetrain. Quick to respond and smooth in operation, it’s everything I’d ask for in a family friendly vehicle.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Kia Sedona Review
A hallmark of any good minivan, both vehicles are incredibly easy to drive. The Sedona does feel slightly larger from behind the wheel and a little harder to maneuver in tight spaces. But the seating position behind the wheel of the Kia is excellent, much like in the Toyota. Comfort for the driver is top notch and sightlines are good due to the two vehicle’s boxy shapes.
|Vehicle||2015 Kia Sedona||Advantage||2015 Toyota Sienna|
|Engine||3.3 L V6||-||3.5 L V6|
|Horsepower||276 HP||Sedona||266 HP|
|Torque||248 lb-ft.||-||245 lb-ft.|
|Weight||4,656 lbs.||Sienna||4,560 lbs.|
|2nd Row Legroom||40.6-inches||Sedona||37.6-inches|
|3rd Row Legroom||34.8-inches||Sienna||36.3-inches|
|Rear Cargo||33.9 cubic feet||Sienna||39.1 cubic feet|
|Fuel Economy (US)||17 MPG city, 22 MPG hwy||Sienna||18 MPG city, 25 MPG hwy|
|Fuel Economy (CDN)||14.2 L/100 km city, 10.5 L/100 km hwy||Sienna||13.0 L/100 km city, 9.5 L/100 km hwy|
|As Tested Price(US)||$43,295||Sedona||$46,300|
|As Tested Price(CDN)||$47,710||Sedona||$48,710|
It’s All About Value After All
Space and ease of use are important when looking at a minivan, but so is value. Starting at $26,995 after destination charges, the Kia Sedona undercuts a base Sienna by roughly $2,500. As tested, the loaded up Sedona Limited with the technology package tops out at a hefty $43,295. But, that still is less cheddar than the Sienna Limited’s as tested price of $46,300.
But the Sienna does offer the Toyota Care program that gives owners two-year free maintenance and a fully loaded Sienna is more fuel efficient with official ratings of 18 MPG city and 25 MPG highway compared to the Sedona’s ratings of 17 MPG city and 22 MPG highway. Plus, the Sienna achieves a Top Safety Pick+ crash test rating from the IIHS while the Sedona is only a Top Safety Pick.
The Verdict: 2015 Kia Sedona vs. 2015 Toyota Sienna
The new 2015 Kia Sedona is a stylish, liveable minivan that’s a big improvement over the previous Sedona. But it can’t quite match the Sienna’s space, comfort and ease of operation. As hard as Kia’s engineers tried, they couldn’t quite make a better Toyota Sienna, than the Toyota Sienna.
2015 Kia Sedona
2015 Toyota Sienna