We Drive the KIA Grand Sedona SLX

The KIA Grand Sedona is as spacious as it is practical, and it’s loaded with super cool features to keep families happy on the road…

Growing families on the lookout for larger vehicles to accommodate their precious cargo have a variety of models to choose from in our local market. While the SUV segment is packed with options, extra seating can sometimes mean a compromise on other practical elements – such as boot space, for example. The KIA Grand Sedona is as spacious as it is practical, and it’s loaded with super cool features to keep families happy on the road.

MPVs might not be as popular as SUVs, but after recently spending some quality time with KIA’s Grand Sedona, I’ve now put it at the top of my list of large family cars to recommend. KIA has done a great job at making this massive people carrier look sleek and sophisticated, rather than clunky and ‘uncool’.

What stands out the most is that living with the Grand Sedona, despite its huge body size, offers way more practicality than you might think. Sure, it’s one huge piece of metal, but behind the wheel I felt as though I could easily have been driving a regular SUV. It feels light to drive and is packed with features to make life easy and convenient whether you’re driving in the city or heading out for some long-distance driving with friends or family.

Looking at it from the outside, the KIA Grand Sedona is as good-looking as a full-size MPV can be and considering its competitors, it’s certainly one of the better-looking ones out there, with a hint of styling queues from the Chrysler Grand Voyager. Thanks to its recent cosmetic enhancements, the Grand Sedona looks fresh and modern – and doesn’t make you instantly think “Argh, typical mommy-wagon” – it has more of an executive look about it.

Inside, there is SO much to take in, from all its handy features (especially on the range-topping SLX derivative), to an impressive amount of luxury and spaciousness in its large cabin (up front and way back). Even on the standard model, the list of standard features is impressive and includes air-conditioning (manual), automatic headlamp control (incorporating ‘Welcome Home’ and ‘Escort’ lighting), a centre console armrest with large storage binnacle, electric heated side mirrors, electric windows front and rear, rear park distance control and rear USB ports.

The Grand Sedona has a much more car-like interior than you’d expect from a large people carrier. On our test unit, (the SLX) the touchscreen is upgraded to a new 8-inch colour touchscreen with embedded Satellite Navigation, from which occupants can also control audio, whether it is a favourite radio station, via the USB/Aux jacks, or through their mobile device via Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto, once released in South Africa). Six speakers are standard. There’s also Climate Control (front and back), seat heating (also in the back), a heated steering wheel, two electric sunroofs, powered rear doors and tailgate.

With all the back seats folded down there’s over 4000-litres of space. That’s enough to transport everything in your house in one load! But with the rear seats folded up, the load bay is impressive (and deep) with loads of features that secure and stop your shopping bags or small items from rolling around.

A mini road-trip from Cape Town to Stellenbosch gave us the chance to see how the Grand Sedona fairs over mountain passes and out on the highway, with some family members occupying the rear. Its smooth 2.2 CRDI turbodiesel engine offers loads of power and performance, even when you need to power up steep inclines or overtake slow moving vehicles on the road. My fellow occupants included my 80-something year-old grandparents, who were thrilled at the amount of space and comfort they’d been offered. “I could almost lie down in this seat,” commented my grandfather, who was seated in the second row. Up front, Gran enjoyed the luxury of heated seating and a bird’s eye-view of all our surroundings.

I felt quite at home behind the wheel of the Grand Sedona. I have to admit that when it first arrived in the parking lot of my apartment complex I was hesitant about having to deal with such a large car, particularly in parking lots and small spaces. But getting used to it all took no time at all thanks to easy use of its smooth and slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, reverse camera, and as I mentioned before, it feels light and easy to handle despite its size.

KIA Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX 7-Seater                R599,995

KIA Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX 11-Seater*             R615,995

KIA Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX+ 8-Seater              R629,995

KIA Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI SXL 7-Seater              R782,995

The enhanced KIA Grand Sedona is on sale through all KIA Motors South Africa dealerships.

*The KIA Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX 11-seater is only available on special order and requires four months lead time.