Grand Sedona in SA: Kia's premium mom's taxi

SERGIO DAVIDS
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 PREMIUM KIA LEADS THE WAY: Kia has grown up and carries a more sophisticated, stylish line-up. The latest model to display automaker's new style is its largest SUV in SA - the Grand Sedona. Image: Quickpic ~ Quickpic

CLARENS, Free State - Kia is once again on the model offensive, after debuting its new Sorento in South Africa in June, the Korean automaker has entered the premium people-mover market with the launch of its new Grand Sedona.

The new Grand Sedona, available in seven and 11-seat configurations; three specifications (EX, SX and SXL) and two engine options (turbo diesel and V6 petrol).

Prices start from R499 000.

FINAL SCHREYER TREATMENT

The new MPV is a huge improvement over the previous model and that's no accident as it's the final vehicle in Kia’s line-up to be penned by Peter Schreyer.

As seen with the new Sorento launched in June 2015, the new Sedona sports Kia's new tiger nose grille, signature LEDs and stylish lines and curves.

The design moves away from the timid look of the previous generation to a big, brash people-mover especially with it's new grille, borrowed from the Sorento. It's an MPV but Kia insists it has sedan touches such as its features and drive quality.

The Korean automaker is targeting large families and the hospitality industry for those in need of a VIP shuttle. The combination of third-row seating, multiple trim levels and a choice of four or six-cylinder engines makes it a unique offering in its segment.

IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Kia Grand Sedona

BIGGER, BOLDER

Compared to the previous generation, the new Sedona has a longer wheelbase (+40mm to 3m), is lower (-20mm to 1.7m), shorter (-15mm to 5.1m for seven seat models) and retains the same width (1.9m). Ground clearance is rated at 171mm.

BEST OF EVERYTHING

David Sief, Kia South Africa Marketing Director said: “We are very excited about the all-new Grand Sedona, not only because it is the final model in the Kia line-up to receive the Peter Schreyer design treatment, but also because it enters the South African market as a true family vehicle.

"With it’s unique combination of cutting edge design, high specification levels throughout the model line-up and competitive pricing, it has no competition when it comes to quality, space and luxury."

FIVE-STAR SAFETY RATING

On the safety front it's equipped with eight airbags (driver, passenger, side and curtain), anti-lock braking system, electronic stability control and several 'active' safety technologies including blind-spot detection with lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert (which warns of other cars driving behind when reversing).

The Grand Sedona has earned a five-star overall Euro NCAP safety rating.

POWER

The four-cylinder 2.2 litre turbo diesel is capable of 147kW/440Nm with emissions of 208g/km.
The 3.3 litre petrol is capable of 199kW/318Nm with emissions of 260g/km.

Both engine options are mated to a six-speed auto driving power to the front wheels. The new MPV has an eco drive mode which adjusts power to maximise fuel efficiency.

The 2.2 litre turbodiesel, borrowed from the Sorento, is still a solid performer though it's not the revviest diesel around, for a large SUV however it's perfect. It's not the most athletic engine so if you're planing on overtaking plan ahead, and give yourself plenty of space.

The V6 petrol engine is smooth, powerful and incredibly revvy. It has less torque than the diesel but is far more eager to accelerate due to to its higher power output.

INTERIOR TREATS

The new MPV is equipped with smart power tailgate; automatically opens when the key is in close proximity to the rear, allowing owners to load shopping bags or heavy objects straight into the vehicle. It also has power-sliding rear doors that can be activated by door releases, buttons on the driver’s overhead console or the Smart Key.

It's fitted with a new 17.8cm colour LCD screen, with an electro-luminescent instrument cluster. The standard audio system uses a 11cm LCD touchscreen with reversing camera, MP3/CD player, USB and AUX connectivity and six speakers.

High specification units use eight Infinity speakers throughout and an external amplifier.
Depending on the trim level, the MPV can be fitted with a heated steering wheel, a cooled glove compartment, an auto demister, cruise control, park assist, telescopic steering wheel, dual sunroof and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Each passenger row can independently set its own aircon while built-in sunshades for second and third row seating improve passenger comfort.

The Grand Sedona has a convex conversation mirror (allows drivers to see, positioned below the overhead console, allows the driver and front passenger to see what’s happening behind them, while giving the car a more social atmosphere at the same time

RIVALS

Kia says its new Grand Sedona will take on the likes Chrysler's Grand Voyager, Volkswagen Caravelle and Mercedes-Benz V-Class.

BUT HOW PRACTICAL IS IT?

In seven-seat variants, the cargo area grows by 77 litres to 960 liters behind the third row of seats. This expands to 2220 litres behind the second row and 4022 litres with the rear seats folded.

Kia said: "Grand Sedona models equipped with fabric seating is upholstered in anti-pollution upholstery, allowing for liquid spills to be easily wiped away if noticed immediately. This unique upholster also releases stains more easily than traditional seating fabric when scrubbed gently with soap and water – ideal for spillages that many Grand Sedona owners may expect from younger passengers."

There are numerous storage spaces throughout the cabin including a large centre console storage, slide-open tray in the second row, and seat-back pockets. Depending on the number of seats fitted, there are, Kia says, "eight to 12 cupholders and four bottle holders positioned throughout the cabin."

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
 •  With the rear bench occupied the boot doesn't offer much stowage space.
 •  Despite the huge centre console, the reversing camera is tiny.
 •  No satnav at launch but Kia assures it will be released as an upgrade for SA later in 2015.

OVERALL

With room for seven (or 11), the Sodona is a capable MPV loaded with features, offering an impressive list of equipment. The Grand Sodona has been completely redesigned and re-engineered.

If a Sportage is too small for your needs but you're not in the hunt for a large SUV, the Grand Sorento may satisfy your tastes for something in between. It's not cheap but it's moved Kia into premium territory in terms of looks, comfort and its host of tech and convenience features.

MORE FROM KIA

Kia will unveil its new Optima and Sportage at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show in September.

PRICES

Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDi EX 7-Seat - R499 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDi EX 11-Seat - R515 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDi SX 7-Seat - R625 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDi SXL 7-Seat - R669 995

Grand Sedona 3.3 V6 SX 7-Seat - R605 995
Grand Sedona 3.3 V6 SXL 7-seat - R649 995
Grand Sedona 3.3 V6 SXL 11-Seat - TBC

All models sold with a five-year/150 000km warranty, a five-year/100 000km maintenance plan, and three-years unlimited roadside assistance.

UNDER FREE STATE SKIES: The Kia Grand Sedona has arrived in SA, with prices starting from a smidgen under R500 000 for the 2.2 CRDi EX 7-Seat. Image: Wheels24/Sergio Davids