2022 Kia Carnival MPV
According to Kia, you should not call this a “minivan.” Instead, call it the 2022 Carnival MPV.
Since 2002, Kia sold their people mover as the Sedona. This model served the Korean brand well and competed against some of the big players in the segment. However, Kia have seen their customers gravitate towards SUVs. For their newest Carnival – the global name of the Sedona outside of North America – they decided to incorporate some SUV elements in to their MPV.
The result is a three-row vehicle capable to bring families together in a sharp-looking global package. Now, we ask how does the new Carnival translate for American families?
First off, the overall design is as sharp as Kia’s new logo. The concave “tiger” grille is enlarged with an intricate front lighting setup. It is all LEDs up front providing a good beam of light ahead. The side profile is a mix of MPV and SUV – a theme that Kia employed on this Carnival. It finishes with a horizontal LED taillight strip across the liftgate. This has to be the sharpest looking vehicle in its class.
This 3-D effect on the satin chrome trim and the 19-inch black finished wheels raises the profile of the SX tester. They provide the finishing touch on this bold interpretation of this family-oriented people mover.
Kia claims that the Carnival has the best-in-class passenger room, measured out to 168 cubic feet. That claim continues with the best-in-class maximum cargo space at 145.1 cubic feet. For the cargo hold to expand, the third-row seats fold down to the bumper for better loading of a large number of suitcases or a run to a home improvement store. The second-row seats slide away for more floor space. They can be completely removed for even more cargo space.
This Carnival SX offers its second- and third-row passengers a rear seat entertainment system with two screens on the back of the front seats. You can utilize your smartphone to mirror and stream on these screens to add more entertainment options. There is plenty of space for adult passengers in the second- and third-row. Access to the third row is through a sliding mechanism that also tilts the second-row seatbacks forward
When you step behind the wheel, there is an SUV-like driving position. You might think that the cockpit design will remind you of Kia’s award-winning Telluride. The driver has an actual shifter to operate the transmission, located on a full center console. The Carnival has a combination analog and digital instrument binnacle, along with a wide 12.3-inch infotainment screen.
Underneath the hood is a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. It is connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels only. We like the performance this driveline provides on the highway and in the neighborhood. We experienced an average of 21.6 MPG for fuel economy.
The ride quality is smooth. The suspension absorbs bad road surfaces without complaint. Families will enjoy a nice time inside the Carnival. Handling exposed as soft side when it came to cornering and evasive maneuvers.
Steering is also on the soft side with a good on-center feel. You can change the weight of the steering system by selecting the Drive Mode button to Sport or Smart. The turning radius was good overall. The brakes are fine, with solid stops in normal and panic situations. Pedal feel was fine with decent response to the wheels.
There are five Carnival MPVs to choose from, starting from $32,100. The sticker price for our Carnival SX tester was $42,770.
Whether you call them minivans or MPVs, the Carnival is up against some stiff family hauler competition. The Kia’s competitive set includes the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Voyager and Pacifica. There may be some who may even look at the Chevrolet Suburban or Ford Expedition Max to compare against the Carnival.
In all, the SUV-like driving environment makes the Kia Carnival MPV a standout among other people movers. However you wish to call the Carnival, it still comes out as a good choice in its class.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors