The 2022 Kia Carnival Is a Crossover With Sliding Doors Because Minivans Are a Hard Sell
Like dipping an apple in caramel and nuts, Kia’s new ride tries its hardest to look like something cooler.
Kia officially revealed its new minivan—but don't call it a minivan—because even though the 2022 Carnival replaces the Sedona, Kia uses the word "minivan" precisely zero times throughout the Carnival's literature. Instead, the company insists on calling it a "multi-purpose vehicle" or MPV. It may seem silly, but Kia's minivan-aversion isn't completely unfounded because the Carnival does look decidedly less van-like than the old Sedona, or indeed any other minivan on the market, and more like a three-row crossover that's been lowered and given sliding doors.
Riding on the same N3 platform underpinning the Sorento and K5, the Carnival's frame is said to be lighter, stronger, and quieter than that of the outgoing Sedona. Just one powertrain is available: a 3.5-liter V6 sending a claimed best-in-class 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity sits at 3,500 pounds, right in line with the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, but 100 pounds short of the AWD Chrysler Pacifica.
The 2022 Kia Carnival is available with either seven or eight seats, the difference lying in the second row. Under the eight-seat configuration, the "Slide-Flex" second row has a middle seat that can slide closer to the front (for easy parental access to the baby or small child sitting in it) or be folded down and be used as a table. For those who would rather optimize comfort over seat count, the seven-seat Carnival features two VIP Lounge Seats in the middle row complete with heating, ventilation, "wing-out" headrests, power adjustment, and leg extensions.
Despite the determinedly un-frumpy exterior design, Kia is claiming best-in-class interior room with 168.2 cubic feet of total passenger room and 145.1 cubic feet of total cargo room behind the front row. Another best-in-class claim lies in the Carnival's comprehensive ADAS suite which includes Hyundai/Kia's signature Blind-Spot View Monitor that shows a live video feed of the lane you're signaling to get into. While interior quantity is generous, interior quality should impress as well, falling in line with other recent Kia products for looking far more premium on the inside than that badge might suggest.
Speaking of badges, the 2022 Carnival will be the first Kia sold in the U.S. to use the company's new logo which, as crooked as it might look to some, blends in well with the Carnival's horizontal taillight treatment.
A bunch of now-expected minivan, er, family ride features are accounted for such as standard hands-free sliding doors, an optional hands-free liftgate, a Rear Occupancy Alert that honks and turns on the four-ways if it detects a locked child or pet inside, a Passenger Talk PA system, and two rear-seat entertainment screens with wireless Apple and Android device mirroring on SX and above. Load up on those offline Netflix movies, children. Up to nine USB ports throughout the Carnival keep said devices charged. Keeping the adults in the front row informed and entertained, meanwhile, is an available 12.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The fully digital instrument cluster also happens to measure 12.3 inches diagonally.
The 2022 Kia Carnival is scheduled to reach dealerships in the second quarter of 2021.
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