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Kia Carnival 2022.

Kia Carnival 2022.

Kia Carnival 2022.

When we write about minivans, it’s easy to focus on the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Chrysler Pacifica, largely ignoring the other option: the Kia Sedona. It’s older than three others, each of which has recently undergone an update or, in the case of the Sienna, completely redesigned.

Now Kia is changing the game by shutting down the Sedona and replacing the more luxurious 2022 Kia Carnival minivan. Carnival is hard to miss with its unique design and rich list of content available.

With its introduction, we can no longer offer you to simply choose from three others depending on your needs. If you’re going to buy a new minivan, you’re doing yourself a disservice by continuing to ignore Kia.

The Carnival style is interesting. It doesn’t quite look like a minivan. Give it bigger wheels and a little more ground clearance and it looks a lot like a crossover.

After all, Kia has largely refrained from using the word «minivan» to describe Carnival, instead officially calling it MPV or multi-purpose vehicle (which, when it comes full circle, is a term that many markets have used for years instead of the word «minivan «).

Carnival is definitely not like the competition. The grid on our SX Prestige tester consists of blocks of material surrounded by a grid of negative space.

Kia Carnival 2022.

The bonnet, with its pair of sculpted lines and the first use of the new Kia logo, ends with a horizontal line above the grille. This line goes over the headlights, and the symbol line moves it back to the horizontal taillight. The blacked-out A, B and D pillars contrast with the massive chrome C pillar with vanishing diamond texture in this trim level.

The shiny valencies of the bumper and side skirts are a nice touch, and our tester’s black wheels completed the sporty look.

But the low pillar and sliding doors are indications that the Carnival is truly a minivan, just like the Sedona it replaces. It rides much closer to the ground than the Traverse we compared it to above, which means easier entry / exit, easier loading and a more car-like ride.

Kia Carnival 2022.

Of particular note is the cutting line of the sliding doors, which coincides with the character line running back from under the hood. “Rather than dodging the door cut line, our designers embraced it,” said Joseph Choi, Kia’s Advanced Project Planning and Strategy Manager.

We would still like to see Kia continue to distance itself from the minivan’s exterior and remove that line in a less conspicuous place.

Inside, the Carnival is damn luxurious. In the SX Prestige top trim ($ 47,275 with destination), it features leather seats for seven passengers. The first and second rows are heated and ventilated.

This second row has several party tricks, including the ability to slide the seats back and forth as well as side to side. These VIP Lounge seats also feature a one-touch button to put the seats into “Relax Mode” — a deep recline position with footrests open.

Kia Carnival 2022.

These footrests can be extended with another button, and an extra step ensures you don’t pinch your legs if you get too close to the seat in front of you.

There are two power sliding sunroofs that offer sky views, or you can watch videos in apps like Netflix or YouTube on the optional rear-seat entertainment system with separate screens located on the front seatbacks.

You can raise the sun blinds on your windows for more comfort and privacy while you take a nap too. The third row isn’t too bad either, with sun visors and a center armrest with cup holders.

While many of these features are in common with other minivans (Odyssey side-movement seats, Pacifica dual-screen infotainment screen, Sienna second-row footrests), none offers so many distinctive and enjoyable features in one place.

The SX Prestige trim level also features a pair of 12.3-inch screens up front — the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system, side-by-side in a single wide body.

Kia Carnival 2022.

The rest of the trim features analog gauges with a 4.2-inch TFT display in between. There is a wireless charger for your phone and plenty of USB ports for each row of seats.

The SX ($ 42,275) and SX Prestige both have 115-volt inverters — one in the rear of the center console and one in the rear of the cargo area — for accessories with a standard 2- or 3-pin plug.

All Carnivals are powered by a new naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. This output signal is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Carnival is also rated to tow 3,500 pounds, which is the norm for the minivan segment.

On the road, the engine seems to be spinning, and it happily spins the front wheels after stopping at full throttle. The engine sounds good too, mostly quiet during normal operation, but emits a controlled growl during hard acceleration.

The carnival seems to be fast-paced (especially after a recent ride in a Toyota Sienna) and never left me when I needed to get onto a busy expressway with a short exit. I didn’t have this stuff packed to the brim with passengers and cargo, but it’s easy to be confident in this Kia’s ability to pull away at full load based on its quick acceleration.

Carnival is surprisingly good to drive. I appreciated the Toyota Sienna’s ability to provide a car-driving feel, and Carnival is similar. It handles confidently, with tiller weight increasing when cornering.

The suspension is slightly taut, which gives a good road feel, but the disadvantage is that more road noise is transmitted to the cab. It doesn’t handle as well as the Sienna in aggressive cornering where body roll and understeer come into play, but who cares? This is a minivan.

Kia Carnival 2022.

Like a growing number of Hyundai and Kia vehicles, Carnival offers an excellent array of driver assistance features designed to reduce stress and improve safety.

The base LX ($ 33,275) comes standard with features such as Lane Keeping Assist and Tracking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Avoidance and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.

EX ($ 38,775) and higher trim levels get navigation-based adaptive cruise control, which can reduce vehicle speed ahead of upcoming turns, as well as a highway driving assistance system that helps you steer the minivan on well-marked highways in virtually without the participation of the driver. driver.

The SX Prestige is the only package to offer sleek blind spot cameras that stream video to digital sensors when you use a turn signal. This all works well enough to ensure smooth and easy driving even in heavy traffic with stops and stops.

But actually the carnival is just a good place to spend time. Room, comfort, good looks and reliable technology make it easy to live with, and the abundance of amenities on offer makes it as suitable for carrying adults as it is for transporting children to their daily activities.

It doesn’t offer hybrid efficiency or all-wheel drive (although AWD is something Kia is looking into at carnival in the future), but it probably isn’t necessary to grab the attention of potential customers.

Carnival resembles a limousine, especially in the luxurious SX Prestige trim with VIP Lounge seats, but it does not ignore the driver’s needs.

And maybe this stylish minivan will be able to conquer those who need space and seats, but eschew the image of a minivan.

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