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2007 Kia Sedona

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San Francisco: The Kia Sedona minivan may have an economy-car badge, but it doesn't drive like one. With 250 horsepower and a refined feel on the road, it drives more like a well-build Japanese car than the old Korean clunkers you may remember.

Nice materials and tight construction make the Sedona's interior seem surprisingly upscale. It has a roomy, family-friendly cabin that's both comfortable and convenient for long road trips.

I sometimes wish I could conduct a blind taste test with cars. You know, like in the cola commercials. I'd line people up, blindfold them, and then challenge them to see if they could tell which car was best simply by feel. I'd drive them around town and on the highway, then let them feel the dash and the seats to see what they really thought about a car without knowing its brand or seeing all the marketing hype surrounding it.

And if I put them in this minivan, the Sedona, I bet they'd think it's a Toyota or Honda. There's no way they'd think it's a Kia.

It has way too much power and refinement for that badge, or so you'd think. It makes 250 horsepower from a slick V6 engine and glides down the road with nearly all the poise and grace of a luxury car.

If you run your hand along the dash, all the panels line up perfectly and feel far more solid than you'd expect in a minivan. In fact, the whole experience is like sitting in a very nice Japanese full-size car, right down to the smell.

Trouble is, it's not a Japanese car. It's Korean, which means you're probably suspicious. And for a good reason.

For a long time, Korean cars had a reputation for being garbage. They were known for their terrible reliability, perhaps placing them one step, an itty-bitty step, above the disposable Yugo.

Today, though, the Korean brands are on the attack and beginning to raise their standards to match their Japanese and American counterparts. J.D. Power and Associates, which ranks the quality of new cars and trucks, placed the overall quality of Hyundai and Kia higher than many well-known makes like Chrysler, Dodge, Hummer, Jeep, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Volkswagen. That's quite an accomplishment.

As if that's not enough, the Sedona earned a prestigious five-star crash safety rating from the U.S. government for both front and side impact. And when you're selling a family-friendly minivan, that top rating is more valuable than gold.

Add it all up, and you're looking at the very best bang-for-the-buck minivan out there. It starts at $20,695, which is about $3,500 less than the Toyota Sienna and $5,000 less than the Honda Odyssey. Thatís a lot of saved money!

Based on this vehicle alone, the Kia Sedona is a real winner. For people who are considering an Odyssey or Sienna, a trip to the Kia dealer, and a road test, might be just enough to change your mind and buy one.

What was tested? The 2007 Kia Sedona with a base price of $20,695. Options: Floor mats ($150). Price as tested including a $700 destination charge: $21,545.

Why avoid it? Kia's reputation is improving, but it still doesn't have a long-term track record, not just yet.

Why buy it? It's the best Asian minivan out there for the money, with a five-star crash rating, super high marks for quality, and an impressive driving feel, for such a low-priced minivan.  By Derek Price  © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco


Kia Home Page

Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
olumn Name: Another pleasant surprise from Kia
Topic: The 2007 Kia Sedona minivan
Word Count:  643
Photo Caption:  The 2007 Kia Sedona minivan
Photo Credits:  Kia Sedona Internet Media
Series #:  2007 - 59

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