It has happened to most of us. A car catches our eye and we are reminded that we forgot that it had ever existed. Here is the one that most recently flipped that memory switch in my brain – the short wheelbase Kia Sedona. Now be honest – how many of you even knew this existed?
Do you find that you notice cars like yours? I think we all do that, and whenever I see that familiar-to-me shape of a Kia Sedona I take a closer look. Is it an early one with the ugly grille? Is it the short-lived Hyundai Entourage twin? Is it the rare luxo EX model with the alloy wheels and the chrome trim on the tailgate?
I saw this particular one on a Costco run a few days ago. But something was off – the shape was wrong. Was this some kind of crossover I had forgotten about? Nope it was a . . . Sedona shortie?
The short wheelbase minivan was actually the original minivan, from a time when the long wheelbase versions were the oddities. Once Chrysler brought out the “Grand” versions of its Caravan and Voyager everyone discovered that this was where the fat part of the market lay. Almost overnight the “original” size minivan went extinct while the extended version became the norm.
I had remembered the short Aerostar and even the short Chevy Venture. Chrysler dropped its shortie at the end of the 4th gen van’s life in 2007. But Kia? I cannot decide whether I had known about these and forgotten about them, or if I had never noticed to begin with.
Kia was certainly not on my radar when the Gen2 Sedona made its debut for the 2006 model year. It took a trip to Wiki for me to note that the 114 inch wheelbase shorty Sedona (which was neither an LX nor an EX) did not show up until the van’s second year, making the “normal” 119 inch wheelbase version the sole initial offering. I have been unable to find a breakdown of sales or production between the two flavors, but sales must have been dismal as the shortie disappeared with the vehicle’s mild refresh for 2011, and the entire lineup was good for fewer than 22,000 units in the bad U.S. economy of 2010.
So, we have established that nobody cared about this vanlet in 2007-10. Does anyone care now? Except for the five or six minivan geeks who hang out hereabouts, that is. I do, if only because it is the kind of obscure oddity that makes me realize that my own low-end stripper version is actually not the least popular minivan of its era. Because this one surely takes that title.