Model tested: 2022 Kia Carnival SX
Engine: 3.5-liter direct injection V6
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Torque: 262 lb.-ft.
EPA rating: 19/city, 26/highway, 22/combined
Base price: $41,100
As tested: $42,770
Overview: Is it an SUV or a minivan? The makeover of the Kia Sedona minivan is so dramatic, it was christened with an all-new name — Carnival. Its boxy, SUV-like styling is intentional, with Kia aiming to leverage the success of its award-winning, hot-selling Telluride SUV. The Carnival comes in four trim levels — LX, EX, SX and SX Prestige. There is also a special seating package for the LX. Our test driver was the SX, which is the focus of this review.
Walkaround: The all-new 2022 Carnival features updated technology, styling and other features to offer stronger competition against the redesigned Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica minivans. Crossover-like dimensions, large wheels, signature daytime running lights flowing into the grille and a wide stance give the Carnival an upscale-SUV persona. Both the wheelbase and the overall length have been extended to supply more room for passengers and cargo. The only minivan giveaway are the large, power sliding doors.
Interior: The Carnival’s front seat area has been updated from the Sedona, as has the instrumentation. Seating is comfortable in all rows, with good head and leg room. A large, center console with an 8-inch touchscreen is standard. Our test driver featured the optional 12.3-inch dual-screen system that dominates the dashboard. One screen serves as a digital instrument display and the other handles infotainment duties. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with wireless charging are standard, as are numerous USB ports throughout. A rear-seat entertainment system is standard starting on the SX trim. An optional panoramic sunroof offers a large opening over the second row, and there’s a generous 48 cubic feet of cargo room with all seats folded.
Behind the wheel: All Carnival models are powered by a 290-horse, 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Disappointingly, all-wheel drive is not offered on any Carnival model. The ride is quiet and comfortable, while handling is what you’d expect from a minivan — with decent acceleration and strong braking.
Bottom line: A great redesign/rebrand that offers the best features of a minivan and crossover SUV, plus the best warranty in the business. It offers serious competition for the Pacifica, Odyssey and Sienna — unless AWD is critical to you.