The steel unibody 2016 Kia Sedona offers a solid suspension and handling, three rows of seating, and amazing cargo space.The 2015 Ford Expedition has a new EcoBoost engine and bountiful attributes.

Kia Sedona and Ford Expedition provide superb transportation features, amenities

We’ve said before that the minivans of today are certainly not the utilitarian vans we tested 20 years ago. The 2016 Kia Sedona is a prime example of a vehicle that offers plenty of utility, but also style, comfort, and safety.

The Sedona SXL we recently drove, the top of five trims, was powered by a 3.3-L DOHC GDI V-6 engine (standard on all trims) that was mated to a smooth shifting six-speed automatic overdrive transmission with Sportmatic mode. The combination provided genuine power and acceleration, plus an overall fuel economy rating of 19 MPG (17/city and 22/highway).

Known for safety features, the Sedona had advance dual front airbags, front seat-mounted bags, full-length side curtain airbags, ABS braking system, Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Control, front and rear park assist system, and a blind spot detection system. It has an overall 5-Star government safety rating (5-Star frontal crash and side crash; 4-Star rollover).

Added safety features in a $2,800 tech package included a lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, surround view mirror, smart cruise control that monitors closeness to vehicles and slows vehicle speed, and Xenon HID headlamps with high-beam assist that brightly lit up country roads in tenuous driving conditions.

While stylish on the exterior, the interior of the Sedona is what impressed us with usability and comfort. Our tester had Nappa leather seat trim, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated and leather-wrapped wood-grain steering wheel that worked well in below freezing driving conditions, tri-zone climate control system, an Infinity Surround Sound audio system, and Kia’s UVO eServices with a premium navigation system and back-up camera.

With wood-grain and metallic accents, the Sedona interior had an upscale appearance. Added features included a large center console with a 115-volt inverter in the console, three power and USB outlets, and plentiful storage spaces.

The exterior of the Sedona provides projection style fog lamps and LED positioning lamps, heated outside mirrors, dual power sunroofs, stylish trim, dual power sliding doors, and a hands-free power liftgate. All-season tires are mounted on chrome alloy 19-inch wheels and offered excellent road traction.

For cargo hauling, the Sedona offers up to 142.0 cubic feet of cargo space with second and third row seating down; 33.9 cubic feet behind the third row. We loaded this van to the hilt and had more than ample hauling capacity left over. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.

With a MSRP of $39,900, our Sedona SXL had a final price of $43,795 with the tech package and optional $1,095 rear seat entertainment system.


The 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch 4x4

The 2015 Ford Expedition King Ranch 4x4 model we tested proved to be an exceptional vehicle for people and luggage hauling. For a week we transported Italian actors, producers, and directors who were attending an Italian film festival to and from the airport, around town, and to dinners and university visits. All the guests were impressed with the comfort and space offered in the SUV.

The Expedition proved itself to be a usable and comfortable vehicle that was well-suited for our purposes. With King Ranch leather, front seats are heated and cooled, rear seats are heated, power-fold third row seats offer additional hauling space, a power liftgate makes for easy rear access, and electronic running boards allows for easy entry and egress. There is also a dual-zone climate system to keep the driver and all passengers comfortable, plus a voice-activated navigation system and SYNC with MYFORD Touch system. The Sony audio system was remarkable and the wood grain instrument panel was driver friendly and easy to use.

A 3.5-L V-6 EcoBoost engine in our tester offers 365 HP and 420 lbs.-ft. of torque, with air-to-air intercoolers instantaneous on-demand power. Paired to a six-speed automatic, the powertrain has rated fuel economy of 17 MPG overall (15/city and 20/highway). Our weeklong drive, with lots of city driving, averaged 17.4 MPG.

A genuinely well-styled SUV, the Expedition features a three-bar chrome grille, dual power and heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, and a heavy-duty tow package (tow capacity on our 4x4 was 9,200 pounds). While the 22-inch BSW tires were standard, there was a $2,180 charge for the polished aluminum wheels they were mounted on — attractive but expensive.

With front and rear independent suspension systems, the King Ranch granted a solid ride and handled with ease for large SUV. Cargo capacity on the eight-passenger Expedition is up to 108.3 cubic feet with 55.0 behind the second row seats.

Our tested King Ranch 4x4 had a base price of $60,590 and with the optional wheels and $795 for second row bucket seats, the final price was $63,565. Pricy, but it’s a classy vehicle that hauls a lot of people in comfort.


Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.