Take a Kia Sedona minivan, update it with some SUV-like looks and equip it with a new engine, updated tech and all of the practical features you’d expect, and you get the all-new Kia Carnival.
Base Price: $41,100
As Tested: $42,770
Mileage: 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
The Carnival replaces the Sedona in Kia’s 2022 line-up. It gets more space, more power, more features and tech, and slightly better fuel efficiency.
Starting prices range from $32,100 to $46,100, which are similar to other minivans but the Carnival comes with a lot of standard features. There’s room for seven or eight passengers, depending on whether you get captain’s chairs in the second row. Front-wheel-drive is standard; all-wheel-drive is not available.
While the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica have or offer hybrid powertrains, there’s no available hybrid in the Carnival. Likewise, the Sienna and Pacifica have the option of all-wheel-drive which you can’t get on the Carnival.
There’s one engine: a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Carnival is peppy with brisk acceleration from a stop and plenty of power for merging and passing at highway speeds, even when the Carnival is packed with kids, pets and cargo. The eight-speed shifts quickly and smoothly and always seems to find the right gear. There’s some body lean when cornering but you’re probably not going to speed through twisty roads in a minivan. The ride is smooth and comfortable even over bumps and rough roads. Visibility is good all the way around. Overall, the Carnival is pleasant to drive, which is what you want when hauling kids and cargo!
When properly equipped, the Carnival can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Fuel efficiency is decent for a minivan. EPA ratings for my tester are 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 22 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is impressive with quality materials and lots of standard features and tech. It’s very spacious with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. Controls are logically laid out. Seats are comfortable and supportive. All the creature comforts make the Carnival’s cabin a pleasant place to be if you’re shuttling kids back and forth to their activities.
Adults will be comfortable with plenty of leg- and headroom in the first two rows. The third row has enough legroom for adults, but headroom may be tight. The third row is easy to get in and out of, unless you have the SX Prestige trim with the VIP lounge seats. The bad news is these seats impede access to the third row and aren’t removable which eats into cargo space. The good news is that your passengers will probably love the VIP seats as they are super comfortable and are heated and ventilated with powered footrests.
Standard features include push-button start, remote start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, seven USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, sliding and removable second-row seats, hands-free power-sliding rear doors, and a rear-seat reminder.
Available features include a surround-view parking camera system, tri-zone automatic climate control, synthetic or real leather upholstery, heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated and ventilated second-row seats, second-row power footrests, 12.3-inch touchscreen, navigation, eight-speaker audio system, 12-speaker Bose audio system, satellite radio, wireless device charging, additional USB ports, in-vehicle intercom (so you can yell, er, talk the kids in the second and third rows), rear-seat camera (so you can keep an eye on the little darlings in back), rear-seat entertainment system, and dual sunroofs.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, driver drowsiness monitoring, and vehicle exit warning.
Available driver assistance technologies include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, cyclist detection, front parking sensors, and parallel exit assist, which alerts you to approaching traffic as you pull out of a parallel parking spot.
The infotainment is easy to figure out. Menus are sensibly arranged. The lower trims have physical controls for common functions, but the upper trims have more touch controls, which aren’t always easy to use.
Cargo capacity is good for a minivan. The Carnival has 40.2 cubic feet behind the third row, 86.9 cubes with the third row folded down, and 145.1 cubes with both rows folded. A hands-free power liftgate is available. The cabin has numerous bins and cubbies for storing smaller items, and 11 cupholders so there’s plenty of space for beverages when you make that coffee shop run!
Peppy handling with plenty of power
Smooth, comfortable ride
Spacious and upscale interior
Lots of standard and available features
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Optional VIP second-row seats limit cargo space and access to third row
Larger infotainment screen has touch buttons that can be challenging to use
My tester starts at $41,100. Ceramic Silver paint is $495. Delivery fee is $1,175 bringing the grand total to $42,770.
If you’re shopping for a minivan, check out the Carnival. This new addition to the Kia line-up has everything you’re looking for in a minivan including lots of room for kids and cargo, plenty of power, smooth ride, comfortable cabin, a long list of features and tech, and decent fuel efficiency, all at a very competitive price.