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Roseville, Calif. – Kia redesigned its minivan a year ago and made some significant changes. Borrowing a time-honored line when it comes to remodeling, the Kia Sedona arrived new and improved.

Some auto reviewers are calling the Sedona the best-looking minivan in the segment. Part of the reasoning is Kia revamped the Sedona to look more like a sport utility vehicle than a minivan.

And that’s not a bad idea, considering few male drivers were previously excited about getting behind the wheel of a minivan. The new-look Sedona, which transports either seven or eight people, features a flatter hoodline with less slope, and that includes the side panels. Up front, a multi-faceted grille has accented LED headlights.

Although one might initially get fooled into thinking the Sedona is an SUV, a closer inspection reveals this is indeed a minivan. But Kia is still trying to put a different spin on the Sedona, saying it is “crossover-inspired” and labeling it a “multi-purpose vehicle.

The Sedona delivers the usual list of features that make driving a minivan appealing – sliding doors, spaciousness, flexible seating options, plenty of safety, and up-to-date equipment. The redesign has added more room, power, refinement, less interior noise, and additional safety features. The only major addition to the 2016 Kia Sedona is making the rearview camera standard on all trims.

The interior changes were significant. The new Sedona provides more head and legroom throughout its three rows of seating. The dashboard layout is improved and there is now a full center console between the front seats. There are also more soft-touch surfaces than ever before.

The seat comfort is impressive, even in the third row, where adults can sit in relative comfort. In the SX-L model there are comfortable lounge-style captain’s chairs that offer great legroom for even taller passengers.

Getting to the Sedona’s third row is easier than ever, thanks to the Slide-N-Stow second-row seats that will fold, slide forward and lock against the front seats. Also appealing is the ability to easily create a larger space between the captain’s chairs. But note that the seats are not removable and don’t fold flat into the floor.

The Sedona has 33.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third-row seat and that increases to 78.4 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded. When both the second and third rows are town, there is 142 cubic feet of space in all of the Sedona’s five trims except the SX-L.

There is only one engine choice with the Sedona, a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It’s pretty powerful, going 0-60 mph in 7.9 seconds, making the Sedona one of the quickest in the minivan class. Maximum towing is 3,500 pounds with an optional hitch installed.

2016 KIA SEDONA

  • Performance: 3.3-liter, V6, 276 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 17-25 mpg
  • Estimated price: $26,400 to $39,900
  • Warranty: five years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; corrosion: 5 years/60,000

Notable among its driving impressions this year is a new quiet ride at virtually all speeds. There’s no great improvement in the handling. However, the Sedona remains a decent ride that absorbs uneven road surfaces well and navigates tight turns fairly well.

Both the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna remain the stars of the minivan class. However, the less-expensive Kia Sedona definitely earns a place in the second tier, along with much-better selling brands like the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan.