David Motton

See other tow car reviews written by David Motton

From June 07The next time you're on site, take a look around. There's a good chance that, somewhere close by, you'll see at least one Kia.

Caravanners have really taken the Korean manufacturer to their hearts, and the Sorento in particular. With the powerful diesel engine, hefty kerbweight and relatively low price of this four-wheel drive, it's no wonder.

Overview

From June 07

The next time you're on site, take a look around. There's a good chance that, somewhere close by, you'll see at least one Kia.


Caravanners have really taken the Korean manufacturer to their hearts, and the Sorento in particular. With the powerful diesel engine, hefty kerbweight and relatively low price of this four-wheel drive, it's no wonder.


It might not be such a common site at touring parks around the country, but the Sedona offers people who prefer an MPV many of the same strengths. Now an all-new version aims to keep Kia's big people-carrier on the pace set by Ford's brilliant Galaxy. Can it succeed?
 
Towing ability
****
There's little wrong with the Sedona as a towcar. Under the bonnet is a 2.9-litre diesel that can generate a healthy 253lb/ft of torque. It makes short work of towing the Sprite Major 5, pulling confidently up to the legal limit. Hill starts pose little challenge, at least for the engine. However, the foot-operated parking brake needs a solid push to be sure it is engaged properly.


While it might not be as surefooted as a 4x4 in wet or slippery conditions, the Sedona didn't struggle for traction during the spell of dry weather over our test. The Kia's stability was also impressive right up to 60mph.

Driving Solo
**
The likes of Ford's S-Max and Galaxy show that MPVs don't have to be dull to drive. The Sedona, however, is an MPV of the old school. It's a big old bus, and feels like one. The steering is heavy and has an overly strong self-centring action. The engine is powerful, but it's noisy. At 70mph you can still hear it droning away in the background. Wind noise from around the door mirrors can also be irritating. The indicator stem, unusually on the right, will take some getting used to. Still the wing mirrors are helpfully large.


The suspension is soft rather than sporty, which makes for a comfortable ride, so long as you opt for a relaxed pace.

In the Cabin
***
The Sedona is huge inside. The rearmost pair of seats in some MPVs are best kept for children or double-jointed acrobats, but ordinary grown ups can travel in the back of the Kia.


The five rear seats (three in the middle row, two in the back) can slide back and forth to juggle legroom, or be folded down to make picnic tables. The sliding rear doors make getting in and out easy, too.


But – and it's a big but – you'll need to take the seats out if you want to turn your school-run shuttle into a removal van. It's fiddly, back-straining work. In a Ford Galaxy or Chrysler Grand Voyager, seats fold away into the floor when not in use. It's a shame those in the Kia can't do the same although, to be fair, the Sedona is much cheaper than these rivals.


With all the seats removed, there's 3440 litres of luggage space. With seven seats occupied, the avalable boot area drops to a modest 364 litres.

Buying & Owning
***
As you'd expect from Kia, the Sedona is a lot of car for the money. Our LS-spec test car costs £19,495, and comes with a CD player, climate control, electric sliding doors, reversing sensors and six airbags. The entry-level GS diesel costs £17,495. You ought to be able to negotiate a discount of £1000 or more.


It starts off cheap, but beware: it will get cheaper still. Our sister magazine, What Car?, predicts the Sedona will be worth just 35% of the original list price in three years.


Fuel consumption is also disappointing, at 36.2mpg on the combined cycle. A Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi should cover an extra seven miles or so on every gallon.

Verdict

***
With its big kerbweight and powerful engine, the Sedona makes a fine towcar. It's also spacious and well equipped. As an MPV, however, many rivals offer more. For example, the seats are heavy and awkward to remove, while other manufacturers have avoided any difficulty with fold-away seats.


The Sedona's trump card is price. If you want the room to carry seven in comfort and insist on buying new, little comes close for the money.

Price £19,495
Engine capacity 2902cc
Max power 182bhp @ 3800rpm
Max torque 253lb/ft @ 1750-3500rpm
Kerbweight 2168kg
Max tow weight 2000kg
Cost of towbar fitting £239.46 plus labour
Official combined fuel economy 36.2mpg
0-62mph 13.2sec
Max speed 123mph
CO2 emissions 206g/km
Luggage capacity 364-3440 litres
Insurance group 13

Overall length 481cm
Width (incl mirrors) 226cm
Height 176cm

Max noseweight 85kg

Seats
Front seats: headroom 100cm, legroom 99cm
Middle seats: headroom 97cm, legroom 56-73cm
Rear seats: headroom 91cm, legroom 44-89cm

Technical specs

Kerbweight2168 kg
Maximum towing limit2000 kg
Power182.0 bhp
Torque253.0 lb ft
Official MPG36.2 mpg
CO2206 g/km
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