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Kia Sedona Mini Review

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Just a short recap on our Kia Sedona rental I mentioned previously.

Our 2008 Sedona proved to be an excellent minivan overall, really on par with the offerings from Toyota and Honda.  While there are some advantages and disadvantages as I mentioned previously, I think it will appeal to many families.  I’ll add to my earlier post that braking was very good throughout our trip, especially in the mountains.  Unlike the steering and accelerator pedal, I had no complaints at all about the brakes in terms of performance or feel.  Traction was solid on dry pavement, rain and even a couple hail storms on the Trail Ridge road in Rocky Mountain National Park. I drove it for a week and couldn’t come up with any major complaints at all.

The interior was really up to par, too. There were no rattles or squeaks of any kind. The controls all worked well and had a good feel to them, even though they were sometimes awkward in placement and function compared to our current vehicles. While this was an LX model without power sliders, the manual ones operated easily enough that our 7 and 9 year olds could open and close them.

The price is right too, as the LX sells for under $25k and even less when the big rebates are in effect. I wouldn’t trade in my Odyssey EX-L for one, but if I was shopping for a new vehicles at this price and had safety as a top priority, the Sedona Base would be a finalist.

The Train Ride Home

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As I wrote in a previous entry, we opted to take the Amtrak California Zephyr home, rather than fly.  Our youngest loves trains and we thought it would be a fun thing to do.  As a bonus, airports are always a bit stressful with 3 kids so the train had to be better, right?

Random Thoughts at KIM

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Today started with the child restraint manufacturers session.   Mostly, we heard about revisions to existing products and manuals.  There really wasn’t much for new products.   At least one of these new products was just announced in a press release, so hopefully I can say more about it in this space very soon! I suspect the new products I hoped to discuss will be on display at the ABC Kids Expo in September.   Heather and I will be there as media attendees, so hopefully we will have much more interesting news and photos to share then!

In the mean time, I’ll discuss what the representative from Chicco USA had to say about some of the most common issues they hear about on the customer service line.

The new Britax Boulevard CS

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It didn’t make it to the Kidz In Motion Conference, but it’s now in production!  I evaluated a pre-production model of the Britax Boulevard CS recently and found it to be a very clever feature addition.  Basically, the mechanism senses when the tension you put on the harness adjustment strap is meeting resistance from the child.  As you give a solid pull, it gives a distinct tactile and audible [double] click when the harness is adjusted to an acceptable point.  It’s really that simple.

I am going to wait to make a final opinion until I have a production model, hopefully by the end of the month, but my overall impression was positive.  I will say that it is not foolproof.  For example, it can be fooled by thick winter coats, just as a parent can be fooled.  The manual clearly mentions thick clothing is a concern, as it is in every child restraint.  It’s also possible to have the harness tight enough, even though you haven’t yet heard the click (or maybe you released your pull just a bit too soon).  Parents, advocates and technicians who are familiar with adjusting a 5-point harness correctly may find this to be mostly a gimmick, though still a pretty cool one.   On the other hand, for many parents and caregivers who often leave the harness too loose, I found it to be a very quick and simple way to get a good adjustment of the harness the vast majority of the time.  If you pass your seat to a relative, babysitter or daycare, it’s also a simple way to make sure they get it right when you aren’t there!