While the minivan market isn’t what it used to be, you’ll still find these family haulers posting close to 500,000 sales a year in America. Unlike sedans and small cars, which have slowed dramatically since late 2017, the minivan segment has held remarkably steady.
That’s reason enough for most automakers to continue improving their products heading into the next decade. In the case of Kia, which has one of the safest and most reliable minivans on the market, that meant a refreshed model for 2019.
Here’s what you’ll find new in the Sedona for the upcoming model year.
1. New transmission
While safety and comfort may be the top reasons people choose a minivan, fuel economy ratings are another factor. In that department, the Sedona has been a few ticks behind the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey.
For 2019, a new eight-speed automatic transmission will help the Sedona. Compared to the outgoing six-speed, the updated transmission improved by 1 mpg in EPA testing. In a statement on the 2019 Sedona, Kia said the new eight-speed will also improve the driving experience.
The 3.3-liter V6 engine (276 horsepower) holds for the upcoming model year.
2. Exterior styling updates
You’ll find a major overhaul in the Sedona’s appearance as well for 2019. Up front, a new headlight and foglight configuration involves standard LED lamps for SX and SXL trims. Meanwhile, you’ll find a more detailed mesh grille as well as a new bumper and air intake below.
Newly designed 17-inch. 18-inch, and chrome 19-inch wheels (on SXL trims) also will come on the 2019 Sedona. Out back, you’ll find updated tail lamps and more chrome on the liftgate.
3. Tech and convenience upgrades
Inside the cabin, you’ll find updated graphics on the driver’s instrument cluster as well as a new sunglass holder and available wireless charging tray between the front seats. You can add a Harman Kardon audio system now, as this model will drop the Infinity system from previous years.
On EX trims and above, you’ll find a power sliding door button on door handles for easier access to the cabin. As for entertainment for the kids, the new system drops the overhead screen and adds two 10-inch touchscreens on the back of the front seats. Wireless Bluetooth headphones come with the package.
4. Safety upgrades
While the Sedona has been one of the safest minivans in IIHS testing over the past decade, Kia continued improving the capability of this model in hopes of scoring a Top Safety Pick+ rating again for 2019. Driver Attention Warning (with auto-braking), which attempts to identify fatigue in the driver, enters the picture as an option in the new model.
Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist remain options.
5. Pricing and mpg ratings
With the new transmission, the 2019 Sedona hits 21 mpg in most trims. (SXL models with 19-inch wheels will most likely not.) The final safety rating will follow after IIHS testing.
Currently, the Sedona starts at $27,000, so we will see if Kia raises it when the 2019 model starts arriving in dealerships later in 2018.