Kelley Blue Book ® - 2003 Kia Sedona Overview

Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book

KBB.com 2003 Kia Sedona Overview

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Kia Sedona: Getting the Most for Your Money

Kia is famous for putting loads of content into small cars and then dressing them with equally small price tags. But when the company announced it was building its first minivan, there was some concern as to whether or not the same formula could be applied. After all, there is a world of difference between a compact car and a V6 powered, family-oriented minivan. When it debuted last year, the Sedona stunned everyone with an amazingly high content level, outstanding fit and finish and unbelievably low sticker price. For 2003, the Sedona continues to make inroads into the minivan market and features even more standard and optional equipment than last year.

The Sedona soldiers into 2003 in two trim levels: LX and EX. Both models include a long list of impressive standard features including a powerful 195-horsepower V6 engine that's as smooth and quiet as anything we've driven from the Sedona's rivals. When teamed to the five-speed electronic transmission, the Sedona achieves an EPA rating of 15-mpg city/20-mpg highway and it runs on regular unleaded, not premium.

Inside, the Sedona is big on room, with seating for up to seven people and removable second and third row seating that can increase the Sedona's cargo volume to 127 cubic-feet. Accessing the Sedona's roomy interior is a breeze, thanks to the standard dual-sliding side doors. Once inside, you'll be stunned by what Kia calls its "base model." Starting at a remarkable $19,965, LX models include rear privacy glass, dual power mirrors, front and rear air conditioning, power front windows, power door locks, cruise control, 8-way manually adjustable driver's seat with built in lumbar, tilt-wheel, third-row split-bench seat, and an AM/FM stereo with CD and 6-speakers. An interior central locking switch and remote fuel door release are new features for 2003. If the LX is not nice enough to impress the neighbors, try the EX trim; at this level, the Sedona moves into the near-luxury realm with such standard amenities as power rear-vent windows, 8-way power driver's seat with power lumbar support, 4-way power passenger seat, automatic light control and a combination cup holder and tray table that folds flush against the passenger-side front seat. Even when all the option boxes are checked, including leather seats, moon roof and ABS, a fully loaded EX remains below $25,000.

On the road, the Sedona feels solid and secure with excellent steering response, firm brakes and good visibility all around. The V6 pulls strongly and though there are others that can take you to 65 mph a bit quicker, the Sedona's acceleration is by no means meager. At highway speeds, the Sedona tracks straight and true and the nicely weighted steering wheel requires only the slightest inputs to make minimal course corrections. The Sedona's ride is compliant over smooth roads, but it does jitter a bit when encountering serious bumps and broken pavement. There is some engine and road noise that gets into the cabin, mostly from the rear, but it is not disturbingly loud.

Minor nitpicks aside, you will probably notice that the handsome interior, quality plastics and rock-solid feeling this minivan conveys belies its budget-minded sticker price. Like us, you may even find yourself getting a little giddy every time you climb behind the wheel knowing you get all this cool stuff for so little money. Your passengers will thrill too, thanks to the second-row captain's chairs (EX model), numerous cup holders and excellent audio system. About the only thing we would like to see on the options list is a DVD-based entertainment system. Then again, there are enough aftermarket units out there that having one installed post purchase shouldn't be a problem.

Of course, safety tends to be a major issue among those who buy minivans, so the Sedona has been equipped with dual-front airbags, side-door impact beams and front-seat seatbelt pretensioners with force limiters. The Sedona is also the recipient of the Federal government's five-star safety rating for front and side impact collision testing. Though it does do well in these tests, it should be noted that the Sedona does not offer side-impact or side-head airbags as many of its competitors do. Still, when you consider the high content level, excellent fit and finish and the standard 10-year/100,000 mile engine/drivetrain warranty (5-year/60,000 bumper-to-bumper) how can you go wrong?

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