Babble Best Picks:
2011 Minivans for the Family
Want to know the difference between all the minivans on the market? Babble asked me take each of them out for a spin to figure out which were best for which families. Most minivans got a thorough refresh this year, and many received better interior materials, more power, and higher fuel economy. After cargo capacity, safety is typically a minivan shopper's main concern. These large family haulers tend to do well on crash safety tests, and we included the results from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety's independent crash test results. To find out what others thought, we added the Consumer Reports score and their Customer Satisfaction rating when available as well.
We hope you find this information helpful in your search for a family crossover. Don't see your favorite vehicle on the list? Nominate it here! - Liane Yvkoff
Best minivan for value | 2011 Kia Sedona
MSRP: $24,595- $29,195
FUEL ECONOMY: 18/25
It may not be the most luxurious or well-appointed minivan out there, but the 2011 Kia Sedona offers buyers the space and convenience of its better-known competitors for a lot less money.
The 2011 Sedona received a more powerful 271-hp 3.5L engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission to move the family hauler. Even with more horsepower than last year’s model, the 7-seater gets better gas mileage and achieves a respectable 18 mpg in the city, and 25 mpg on the highway. For drivers who like to select gears for themselves, they’ll like that the Sedona’s clutchless gear shifter is a standard feature on the base model.
As far as styling goes, the Kia Sedona is plain, but that’s probably just fine for most minivan shoppers who are looking for carrying capacity and not a status symbol. Even though Kia is a budget brand, the interior of the Sedona is surprisingly easy on the eyes. The dash and door feature soft touch points, but the compartments seem a little plastic. Buyers will immediately notice the lack of a center console between the driver and passenger seat – instead, the Sedona is equipped with a foldable tray with two cupholders. Some reviewers don’t like the lack of deep center console, but the folding tray makes it easier for the front seat occupants to access the second row, which can be an advantage for parents who need to access small children in the rear.
Some features that are upgrades in other minivans are standard in the 2011 Sedona. The base model is equipped with satellite radio, Bluetooth technology, USB port, and the incredibly convenient keyless entry, which automatically unlocks the vehicle door when the key is within range.
Where the Sedona surpasses comparable vehicles is on the warranty. Kia offers buyers a basic five-year warranty rather than the typical three, and the powertrain has a 10-year 100,000-mile warranty. On top of that, buyers get free 24-hour roadside assistance for five years. When you add everything up, the Kia Sedona may not be as refined or finished as other brands, but you get a lot for your money.
SEATING + STORAGE
If there are shortcomings in the Sedona, it would have to be in cargo capacity behind the third-row seats. It’s slightly lower than its competitors, but unless you’re frequently packing the van to the hilt, most families won’t notice the few cubic feet difference. And to get more storage, the rear seats can be folded into a variety of configurations to make more floorspace. While power sliding doors and liftgate is an option on the Sedona, folding the second- and third-row seats is strictly a manual process.
ENTERTAINMENT + NAVIGATION
Because Kia offers a rear view camera integrated in the rear view mirrors, shoppers can add the safety of a back-up camera without being required to purchase an expensive in-dash navigation system. If you don’t get the back-up camera, the Sedona is equipped with back-up warning sensors that audibly alert the driver of objects behind the vehicle. A single DVD player is also available.