2022 Kia Carnival Is a Minivan That Looks Like a Super Tech SUV
After I received my 2022 Kia Carnival to test-drive for a week and review, two of my neighbors called me. They said what is that beautiful car in your parking lot, we would like to take a look. One of them, a husband and wife, knew this was the 2022 Kia Carnival. They said they were looking for one and couldn't find in dealerships because of the chip shortage. I showed them the vehicle and gave them a ride. They were impressed by this minivan/SUV as well as I and everyone who visited us during this week of testing.
With the 2022 Carnival Kia has made a real effort to distance itself from the format of a minivan as it's traditionally known. That is to say, rounded, conservative, and just not aesthetically cool. Now in the literature provided by Kia we find words such as bold, confident and masculine to describe the Carnival, which says a lot about the direction of the design.
The Exterior Look of the 2022 Carnival
The Carnival arrives with an angular design, mirroring the latest products in the Kia lineup. Just look at the Sorento, with which it shares its N3 platform, to see strong family resemblances. The grille is required with a concave configuration for more dynamism for the EX, EX + and SX. It adopts a more singular presentation in the LX and LX +. The light units incorporate a collection of LEDs for distinctive lighting in the more expensive models. With the thin strip of chrome under the hood, we see a reference to the Seltos.
I think the 2022 Carnival looks a bit like a stretched SUV, with its bold, bossy front end and rectangular shape. Some people may look at it and say its a bloated wagon. Kia says its design is inspired by its crossovers. Frankly, all of these views hold true to some degree, so let's just say this is a big reset by Kia. Because once inside, it's still a minivan, and I say this in a very positive way.
Like I said, with the 2022 Carnival, Kia has replaced the Sedona. But still, when you look at it in profile, it is clear that we are far from the old Sedona, or even from the current Pacifica for that matter. For those who are afraid of feeling confused, the rear section looks more like a traditional minivan than the rest, with its width and upright position.
The Spacious and Luxurious Interior of The 2022 Carnival
In the world of family vans, what matters most is the interior space, this living area. With the Carnival, Kia will offer, in the more opulent versions, an environment certainly tinged with luxury and great comfort. On the dashboard, we discover the fashionable strategy at Kia with the integration of a single black strip integrating both the instrumentation and the multimedia system. The latter also comes with one or two 12.3-inch monitors. Again depending on the version, there is a collection of accessories such as different user profiles, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless charging and a Bose audio system. More specific to family life, there is the possibility of a silent mode, a speaker mode and, even, a system for viewing the occupants.
If you want space and practicality, the 2022 Kia Carnival meets the format. In that regard, Kia's new minivan/SUV definitely offers a very spacious, very comfortable and very practical interior environment.
Keep in mind that our test model, the pictures of which appear here, was the top-of-the-line SX version, which means it went above and beyond to make this interior impressive.
The seats of the 2022 Kia Carnival are quite comfortable and the driver's seat is easy to position for the best driving position. Otherwise, we find elements of the new K5 here; the materials are high end and include interesting elements in wood, painted or chrome. The instrument panel has two 12.3-inch screens (in the SX), one for the driver and his data and the other for infotainment; the two are connected to create a single, attractive horizontal display rectangle. Fortunately, there are physical buttons for some common commands.
The infotainment system includes a camera to spy on children in the back, and an intercom to yell at them through the audio system. Overall, you'll feel like you're sitting in a premium SUV.
But it's behind the first row that we have the most fun. Access to the main part of the vehicle from the outside is easy thanks to the low floor, and the buttons on your key fob allow you to open and close the two sliding side doors with two small clicks. Open them and you discover a really welcoming second row (legroom is 1029 mm) with, in the case of our test model, “VIP Lounge” seats that tilt far enough back. and have a hinged footrest.
Carnival's standard second row seats are bucket seats that can be removed, if necessary, for truly spacious cargo space. Note that you cannot remove the captain's chairs. There is a third row which is not particularly spacious but which can be used to accommodate passengers if necessary; these seats can disappear completely into deep slits in the cargo area floor.
The Power Train
The Carnival's sole engine is a 3.6-liter V6 producing 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Riding modes are available to you, but since this is a minivan and not a performance SUV, don't expect miracles. At first you might as well try Sport mode which tightens the settings up a bit, but I believe you'll eventually leave the Carnival in Normal mode and never think about it again.
The 2022 Carnival's fuel consumption of 19/26 city-highway is acceptable, but will not be a particular selling point for this model. Its numbers place it slightly behind both the Chrysler Pacifica, and the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna. But look at our comparison of the current Carnival with its competition below.
The powertrain provides slightly higher figures than the Chrysler Pacifica, but the driving is generally similar. Kia claims the chassis is stiffer than the outgoing Sedona (the model is built on the N3 platform, also used by the Sorento and K5), and indeed that gives a firmer feel on the road. This is a big and heavy vehicle nonetheless, so braking distance should be measured accordingly.
The suspension is designed for maximum comfort, but the flip side is that the vehicle shakes a bit when it encounters well-targeted potholes.
Overall, what you're looking for is a reassuring and comfortable ride, but one that doesn't feel rough, either in the steering or the suspension; and in this regard, it's mission accomplished for Kia. Driving during my time with the Carnival was exceptionally quiet - good news for passengers watching or listening to stuff plugged into one of the many USB ports dotted around.
2022 Kia Carnival's Competition
Kia is playing daring by refreshing its offering in the van market. The Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna are already well established there.
Price: from $ 38,601
Like the Carnival, the Chrysler Pacifica offers two interior configurations (seven or eight passengers). The Kia, however, offers more spacious seats and a larger cargo volume. However, the Chrysler has the advantage of offering the possibility of burying the middle row under the floor to provide a perfectly flat surface. But the main strengths of the Pacifica are under the body, with the offer of all-wheel drive and a plug-in hybrid powertrain. This allows you to travel around 50 km in electric mode.
Price: from $45,390 (2022)
The Odyssey is undoubtedly one of the safe bets on the market, but there is a catch: the price of entry. This is sometimes difficult to justify against the Carnival which, failing to have such a great reputation and such a strong market value (on the second-hand market), nevertheless offers more accessories and a better guarantee ( 5 years / 100,000 km compared to 3 years / 60,000 km). Like the Carnival, the Odyssey does not offer hybrid powertrain or four-wheel drive. On the other hand, its 3.5 L V6 is more expressive and its fuel consumption slightly lower.
Price: from $ 39,990
Completely renewed for 2021, the Toyota Sienna is now only offered in a hybrid version that offers substantial savings at the pump while offering towing capacity equivalent to that of the Carnival. The mechanics of the 2022 Kia Carnival are however less painful when the whole family stays on board, and the gear changes of the box are smoother. The Sienna also offers a four-wheel drive mode. In return, its interior does not include all the small details of layout and accessories offered by Kia.
While the 2022 Kia Carnival is not the most fuel-efficient SUV, we really loved the the practicality and the bold exterior look, especially the front section. The vehicle is very comfortable and reassuring while driving. There is plenty of power under the hood. We particularly were impressed by the captain's chairs in the VIP lounge, the interior ergonomics and intercom to talk to your children in the 3rd row. I love taking my family on road trips.
Armen Hareyan is the founder and the Editor in Chief of Torque News. He founded TorqueNews.com in 2010, which since then has been publishing expert news and analysis about the automotive industry. He can be reached at Torque News Twitter, Facebok, Linkedin and Youtube.