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2002 Kia Sedona

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SAN FRANCISCO:  Korean automakers, namely Kia and Hyundai, are making significant inroads into the U.S. market. They are doing this with high quality products at very affordable prices. The Koreans are especially good at offering more standard and even luxury features for prices that are noticeably lower than comparable American and Japanese models. The new Sedona, the first Korean-built minivan to be sold in the U.S., is an excellent example of this marketing strategy.

The Sedona’s styling, while attractive, is pretty mainstream. Indeed, it is easily mistaken for a Chrysler, Ford, Toyota or many of the other minivans now available in the U.S. Built on a 114.6-inch wheelbase with an overall length of 194.6-inches, the Sedona is about the same size as the Dodge Caravan, Chevrolet Venture or Ford Windstar. The Sedona comes with manually operated, dual sliding rear doors that operate very easily. However, the rear lift door is on the heavy side.

The Sedona comes in two trim level, base LX and the more luxurious EX. Standard equipment on all Sedonas includes front and rear air conditioning, power windows and door locks, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, AM/FM/cassette stereo and tinted glass. The EX gets power front seats, wood trim, available two-tone paint scheme, six-speaker AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo system, remote keyless entry, fog lights, roof rack, chrome door handles and grille, and 15-inch alloy wheels. Leather upholstery, Homelink programmable garage door opener and a power slide/tilt sunroof are optional on the EX. Pricing for the LX starts at $19,950 and for $21,590 for the EX.

The EX I tested came with many nice standard features that you might not usually find in budget-priced minivan like a fold-away table with cupholders, trip computer, eight-way driver’s seat, four-way front passenger’s seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob, and three 12-volt receptacles. Safety features include dual front airbags, child safety locks, height-adjustable seat belts and a first aid kit. Side-impact air bags are neither standard nor optional. Anti-lock braking is a $595 option on both the LX and EX.

Only one engine is offered, a 3.5-liter V6 with dual overhead camshafts and 24 valves. The engine produces a very capable 195 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 218 lb-ft of torque at 3500 rpm. It is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, something you might find in a high priced sports car or sedan, not a budget-priced minivan. The EPA numbers, 15-mpg city/20 mpg highway, are about average for minivans in this class. Fortunately, the Sedona has a 19.8-gallon fuel tank and uses regular unleaded gasoline. Properly equipped, the Sedona can tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Entering the Sedona, I found a very luxurious interior done in nice looking leather and wood plus nice touches and conveniences like map lighting and reading lights overhead in the front and above each row of rear seats. There are lots of storage spaces like a storage box on the instrument panel, two glove boxes and a lockable bin under the passenger seat. There are eight cupholders. In the LX, a bench seat is found in the second row, while the EX gets captains chairs. On both the third-row bench's seatback is of the split folding type. Kia says the last two rows of seats are easily removed.

As minivans go, the suspension is right up there with the best. It includes an independent front suspension with McPherson struts and five-link rear suspension with a beam axle and coil springs with front and rear anti-roll bars. There is power rack-and pinion steering and power front discs and rear drum brakes. The driving quality is sedan-like, but not sports sedan-like, with the handling, steering and braking.

The bottom line is a minivan with performance features and creature comfort found in minivans costing thousands of dollars more. I found the quality and materials used on the Sedona I tested were first rate. In all fairness inexpensive vehicles often also get neglected maintenance or no maintenance at all. Helping here is that all Kia’s come with a standard 10-year/100,000 mile engine/drivetrain and 5 year/60,000 bumper-to-bumper warranties. This makes the Kia Sedona a very nice combination of good value with piece of mind for a great price. By Bill Siuru and Andrea Stewart AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  A good value with piece of mind for a great price
Topic:  2002 Kia Sedona
Word Count:   778
Photo Caption:  2002 Kia Sedona
Photo Credits:  Kia Internet Media
Series #:   2002 - 7

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