Blog: Man Vans
Glenn Brooks | 28 June 2011
The VQ series Sedona will be replaced by the YP
Hadn't driven a Kia Sedona until recently and I have to say, I became fairly fond of it over the course of a week's temporary custody. Why? The tyres, of all things.
Driving any vehicle that's been in production for over half a decade makes you realise how relentless the pace of change is. The Carnival, as it's known there, was launched in Korea six years ago next month, so I don't think even Kia would accuse it of being a class leader. And yet, what a novelty to drive something with such a soft ride and joy of joys, high profile tyres. You notice them immediately, and your next thought is just how odd it is that even family hatchbacks now ride on rubber that was once the preserve of sportscars.
In Europe and North America, full-sized people carriers or minivans are no longer selling too well, thanks mostly to the image of such vehicles as being inherently unsexy. Chrysler is tackling this head on with the launch a few months back of the Dodge Grand Caravan R/T, a lowered, big-alloyed family-hauler or as it has been nicknamed, the Man Van. I wonder will buyers be attracted to the R/T? And if so, will we see more macho minivans?
I for one quite enjoyed the many miles I racked up in the Sedona. In London's diabolical traffic, the destressing combination of high driving position and six-speed auto was perfect. On motorways, it was amazingly rock steady. The bad news is that the traction control battled to control the torque steer at a couple of steep, often wet junctions out in the sticks where I live - the model I had was powered by the 2.2-litre diesel. And then there's the bodyroll. But driving the Sedona at about 10% under all speed limits, you soon find this is a peaceful place to be.
Anyone who wants a big Kia now seems to go mainly for the Sorento - it's easily the company's largest seller in the US and continues to do well in Europe too, while rumours suggest that Dongfeng Yueda Kia will add assembly in China during 2012. All of which means that the Sedona tends to get overlooked in its main global markets.
Will the replacement for the Carnival/Sedona (codename: YP) go the way of the sporty man van or will Kia stick to the existing recipe? We saw a preview in the form of the KV7 at January's Detroit motor show and judging by that concept, it would seem that sensibility will be ditched in favour of svelte. No doubt the model will be a big improvement over the existing vehicle, as all Kia cars tend to be these days. Just don't expect the big tyres and school bus driving position to be retained. In some ways, that'll be a bit of shame.
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