Never underestimate a Kia! That is what I say to my Dad far too often. Although, to his credit, he has started listening to me. It was after I forced him in to the Sportage I was driving last December and he hated to admit that he really, I mean really really, enjoyed it. What is it with South Africans? Hey? My Dad still has this warped idea that Kia makes cheap cars. Now, I get that it came from rather humble beginnings back in 1998. That year saw just 310 units sold, across the board! But things change.
In 2006, Kia did something just a little bit genius. They brought on Peter Schreyer, the man who was behind the very first Audi TT, as Chief Design Officer. And then Kia’s world changed, as did ours (added for extra dramatics). The new Sportage hit the market in 2010 and people went batshit crazy! I mean, like, proper cray cray for that thing. All my friends wanted one. I wanted one. Then boom! 2011, the new Kia Rio hit the market. Changing lives (I might be going a bit far with the dramatics). And then again. Boom! 2012 – the new Kia Picanto. Kia was on fire. And still is.
You might think that because the focus is so heavily on design (it is one of the world’s most awarded design teams) that Kia has forgotten about quality. Wrong again, my friends. It is also the highest ranked non-premium brand in Initial Quality. If I have to hear one more person say, “It’s just really expensive, for a Kia,” I will high five that person…in the face…with a chair. (I wanted to say that I would give you a PK, but some people might be offended. Ag I said it anyway! P*@s Klap, what an underused phrase!).
Back to this review. My hub and I hopped in to the new Kia Grand Sedona this weekend and headed up the Garden Route to George. We were joined by fellow motoring journalist Calvin Fisher and his lovely lady friend, Kelly Lodewyks…who happens to be my ex. My ex-colleague that is. We were at CAR together. Ah the stories we could tell…I digress! This is all about the really grand, Grand Sedona.
It competes with the Hyundai H1 which I drove a few weeks back as well as the Volkswagen Caravelle and the Mercedes-Benz V-Class. But the Grand Sedona is my kinda people! It is not pretentious. It is trying to be anything it is not. And you certainly don’t feel like you should be transporting goods anywhere. It feels like a family car. A luxurious one at that. The top of the range SXL even has heat seates for the rear passengers. Which, I must tell you, kept my hub and I entertained for hours as we kept putting the other one’s chair on without their knowledge. It’s not great when the outside temperature is hitting the 40’C mark. Immature we will remain!
The current range says goodbye to the SX trim level but hello to the new EX+ trim which has an eight-seat configuration. The EX+ and SXL models are rid of the oudoos foot brake and now sport an electronic brake. Also on the list is an 8-inch colour touchscreen with SatNav and a wireless smartphone charger. The SXL is only available in seven-seat configuration, the EX is seven- or 11- seat configuration and the EX+ only eight-seat configuration. All you really need to know is there is loads of space. Kelly and Calvin have a litter of children to cart around and they both mentioned (about a million times – insert eye roll) that this was the car they wanted. Like really, really wanted.
Kia has bid the 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine goodbye, but the familiar 2.2-litre CRDi engine is as good as ever AND is now mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission which shifts so smoothly through those gears you won’t really even notice it at all – which is a good thing in my books. Highway cruising is a dream and overtaking is an easy manoeuvre. Even with all four of us packed in to the car along with our luggage. It would not be a kak idea if Kia organised adaptive cruise control for this bad boy, but for now, cruise control will have to do. I think this is my only criticism. Of the whole car! Oh, except that it can get a bit bouncy in the back, but if you’re the driver (or the parent), who cares? You won’t be sitting back there.
For the price, you are getting A LOT of car. And what is not to like. It looks great, drives beautifully and has enough standard spec to keep even the most demanding customers moan-free. If you also have enough children to form a band, then consider this Kia Grand Sedona. You will not be disappointed.
KIA GRAND SEDONA PRICING
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX 7-Seat: R 599 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX+ 8-Seat: R 629 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI SXL 7-Seat: R 782 995
Grand Sedona 2.2 CRDI EX 11-Seat: R 615 995
Standard is an unlimited km / 5-year warranty and roadside assistance. Plus a 5-year / 100 000km service plan.