December 4, 2021

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2022 Kia Carnival preview

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What kind of vehicle is the 2022 Kia Carnival? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Kia Carnival is a minivan formerly known as the Kia Sedona. Twenty years after its U.S. launch, Kia applies the Carnival name used in its South Korean home and most other markets. Seating up to eight passengers, the 2022 Kia Carnival competes with the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, and Honda Odyssey, as well as three-row crossover SUVs such as the Kia Sorento. 

Is the 2022 Kia Carnival a good car?

Review continues below

Sharing a platform with the K5 mid-size sedan and the Kia Sorento, the 2022 Kia Carnival sits in the minivan center of the Venn diagram of cars, crossovers, and SUVs. We await driving impressions to give it a score, but have been impressed by the K5 and Sorento that were redesigned for 2021. Aside from sliding doors and available lounge-like seating, it’s getting more difficult to see where the Carnival fits in, even in Kia’s own lineup of compelling three-row vehicles. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Kia Carnival?

A new name, new badge, new tech and safety features, as well as a new design inside and out usher in the new Carnival, but the powertrain isn’t much of an upgrade. 

The front-wheel-drive minivan uses a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 290 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. With an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 2022 Carnival can tow 3,500 pounds, same as the outgoing model with its 276-hp 3.3-liter V-6. That engine was shared with the Kia Sorento until it was redesigned for 2021 with a turbo-4 and a hybrid option. The Carnival has none of those, nor does it get the 291-hp 3.8-liter V-6 in the Kia Telluride. The EPA rates the 2022 Carnival at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined.

That’s 1 mpg better than last year’s Sedona due to aerodynamic upgrades to the wheels, front bumper, and mirrors, Kia said in a statement. The big changes come from the body design and shared platform, which Kia says is lighter, stronger, and quieter than in the outgoing Sedona.

The Carnival’s squared off rear end with integrated roof spoiler and a fake rear skid plate honor Kia’s SUVs. On the side, a chrome-like rear pillar is a bigger extension of the Sorento’s corner window oddity, but it’s shaped like the pillars on the Telluride. Buff wheel arches house 17- or 19-inch wheels available in black alloys, and chrome on black rockers panels give it some pop. 

A belt line wraps around the car through the sliding door recess to visually connect the full-width taillights to the LED headlights. Kinked daytime running lights jog over fog lights and frame a grille that appears concave in how the pieces step up in size from bottom to top. It could be confused for an SUV if not for the telltale rear end.  

The 2022 Carnival is the first Kia to wear the brand’s new logo outside and in, where the new shape enables a roomier and more versatile interior. Complete specs weren’t announced, but at 145.1 cubic feet the Carnival has 3.1 cubic feet more cargo space behind the first row, and passenger volume increases nearly the same amount to 168.2 cubic feet. 

In 8-seat configurations, the Carnival has a sliding middle seat that in its most forward position can be reached by the front passenger to replace a binkie or count some piggies. That seat can also be folded down to convert to a table with integrated cupholders. All three of the second row seats can be removed individually, and the 60/40-split third-row seats can be folded into the floor. 

The 7-seat arrangement on top SX-Prestige can turn the minivan into a lounge, with available reclining captain’s chairs that have integrated foot rests. Those seats can also be heated and cooled, but they can’t be removed. In addition to sliding fore and aft, they can slide laterally for more versatility getting in and out of the third row. 

Offered in LX, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige, the 2022 Kia Carnival comes loaded with standard safety features, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, parking sensors, automatic high beams, and a driver-attention warning. Optional driver-assist features include navigation-based adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, rear automatic braking, and a side-view monitor that projects blind-spot objects in the instrument cluster. 

Standard convenience features include power-sliding doors, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, wireless smartphone charging, and up to nine USB ports. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen are available; Kia didn’t specify if the smartphone has to be tethered with the larger touchscreen for CarPlay to work, as it is in other recent Kia models. 

How much does the 2022 Kia Carnival cost?

Pricing should be announced closer to its late spring arrival. 

Where is the 2022 Kia Carnival made?

In South Korea. 

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