Kia Sedona: The Worst Model Years You Should Never Buy

The Sedona was a mainstay for two decades before Kia scrapped it for the Carnival. The consensus for most Sedona models is that it’s a decent minivan for the price. But some have so many owner-reported issues, recalls, and other problems that you should never buy them. Here are three of the worst Kia Sedona model years to avoid.

The 2002 Kia Sedona is a debut-year dud

A navy blue 2003 Kia Sedona parked in a white photo studio
2003 Kia Sedona (photos of the 2002 model were unavailable) | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

According to Consumer Reports, the 2002 Kia Sedona has a current average retail price of just $2,825. That seems like a good deal, but “clumsy handling, an unsettled ride, and an underpowered engine” make this model year one to avoid. In addition, the 2002 Sedona saw many safety recalls shortly after the model debuted.

One of the recalls came in 2003. The seatbelts reportedly had assembly issues, meaning they might not provide adequate restraint during a crash. The most recent recall came in 2005 to address wiring under the front seats that could touch metal. This was one of the most dangerous issues because it could cause fires.

If all of that wasn’t enough, Kia Complaints lists the 2002 Sedona as having the second most complaints of all Sedona model years (after the 2006 model).

The 2002 Sedona has racked up 26 complaints, mostly for electrical problems. Concerningly, two drivers reported fires, including one electrical fire and one engine compartment fire.

This model year also has 20 consumer complaints reported to the NHTSA for electrical problems. gives the issue a 10/10, the maximum severity rating.

The 2012 Kia Sedona has poor safety ratings

The 2012 Kia Sedona is another model that’s best to avoid. First is its less-than-ideal ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Though the 2012 Sedona earned a good rating in most IIHS test categories, a few areas brought only an acceptable or poor score.

For instance, the 2012 Sedona received a poor rating for roof strength, which could be dangerous if the minivan flipped. In addition, the structure and safety cage earned a rating of acceptable. The best vehicles on the market today usually earn good IIHS ratings across the board.

This model year also has several safety recalls making it potentially dangerous. lists five recalls. In addition, a consumer lawsuit regarding a 2014 model affected 2012 models too. The lawsuit complained that the minivan’s wiring used a soy-based coating known to attract rodents. They eat the wires, damaging them.

It’s also telling that Consumer Reports gave the 2012 model a 1/5 owner satisfaction rating. CR doesn’t list this rating for most Sedona models, so the fact that the consumer site went out of its way to include the score serves as a warning for shoppers to avoid it.

The 2016 model suffers a plague of consumer complaints

The 2016 Kia Sedona is the most expensive and latest model on this list, but reports signal it’s not worth the investment. Kia Complaints shows the 2016 Sedona as one of the models to avoid in the third generation, from 2015 to 2020.

The most common NHTSA complaints about the 2016 Sedona concern electrical issues. One driver said the turn signal would blink on the right when the switch was set to the left, which is incredibly dangerous on the road. Other drivers experienced the headlights suddenly turning off, greatly increasing the risk of a crash at night.

All in all, it’s best to avoid the above three Kia Sedona models if you want a safe, problem-free family hauler.

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