2022 Kia Carnival first drive review: A luxurious minivan with SUV style

Roomy and adaptable, approachable and protected — the minivan is a marvel of suburban utility.

Roomy and adaptable, approachable and protected — the minivan is a marvel of suburban utility. The issue is that most folks don’t in fact want to be viewed driving 1, so numerous purchasers skew toward cooler-searching SUVs. To combat this, the big gamers in the course have pushed minivan style in a direction that is maybe greatest described as “sci-fi bullet educate” with combined final results.

Kia’s solution to the issue of uncool perception is to gown its new 2022 Carnival “multipurpose motor vehicle” in SUV cosplay. The end result is a minivan that features all of the benefits and features of its classmates, though standing aesthetically aside with activity utility fashion.

The Carnival wears an upright, boxy style with a entrance stop formed more like Kia’s Telluride than the Sedona it replaces. Information like the L-formed, chrome C-pillars crack up the minivan’s profile and, along with the sculpted wheel arches and darkish lessen sills, aid pull the eye upward to make the look of a taller, more rugged ride. At initial look, the Carnival looks practically precisely like a total-dimension SUV from most angles, but then you observe the reversed handles and tracks for the sliding doors and, suddenly, the minivan-ness of the silhouette becomes apparent.

The Carnival is the initial Kia to have on what I’ve taken to contacting the brand’s new “K-backwards-N” emblem.

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VIP seating

The Carnival’s electrical power sliding doors open up to reveal a roomy inside that is available in 7- or 8-passenger configurations. The typical 8-seat set up characteristics a 40/20/40-split second-row bench with a heart portion that can fold about to make a table-like armrest for the outboard seats. The bench can also slide significantly adequate forward enabling entrance seat travellers to very easily achieve a car seat. The second row can also be wholly eliminated when you need to have to entry the Carnival’s utmost one hundred forty five.1 cubic ft of cargo capability.

Improve from the base LX to an EX or SX product and the fabric upholstery is replaced with artificial leather-based. Step up to the top spec SX Status for genuine leather-based trim and a pair of electrical power-adjustable VIP seats in area of the second-row bench. These magnificent buckets instantly recline or return upright at the contact of a button, and they function heated and cooled surfaces and can even deploy footrests for utmost relaxation. The Status set up elevates the Carnival from a nicely appointed relatives hauler to a relatively magnificent shuttle with more passenger room, more cargo capability and a lot easier entry than a taller SUV can offer you. With the third row folded flat, I can slide the VIP seats significantly adequate back for a total recline and leg extension, even with the entrance seats in a at ease driving placement. Consider doing that in an Escalade.

Kia’s minivan isn’t the only 1 to offer you reclining captain’s chairs, but these are a contact more luxe than most.

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The 7-seat SX Status isn’t without having its compromises, nevertheless. The nonremovable VIP seats imply this trim maxes out at 86.nine cubes of cargo capability at the rear of the second row, and getting to the third row is more of a squeeze.

Speaking of that typical third row, you will find loads of legroom back there for two typical-dimension grownups, and adequate shoulder room for 3 little ones. Pulling a strap speedily folds the 60/40 split bench flat into the Carnival’s ground and a one pull lifts it back up, leaving a still-impressive 40.2 cubic ft for cargo.

On the alternatives checklist, you can come across Kia’s clever electrical power tailgate, which instantly opens the hatch when you solution the rear of the motor vehicle with the key in your pocket. I generally come across this function particularly irritating, but Kia should have enhanced its detection logic from previously programs. I seasoned practically no fake-good accidental openings in the course of my tests, and the tailgate now instantly closes when you walk absent, earning loading groceries or other cargo a certainly hands-absolutely free approach.

Backseat tech

The Carnival can be outfitted with a dual-monitor rear seat amusement set up. Just about every characteristics USB and HDMI inputs that can be shared with the other exhibit. Just about every can hook up to a telephone or Wi-Fi hotspot to electrical power apps like Netflix or mirror a smartphone’s exhibit. There is also a colorful Child Mode interface that serves up baby-pleasant content. Bluetooth connectivity will allow consumers to listen employing practically any headphones they already have, fairly than relying on very low-excellent pack-ins.

The Passenger Digital camera and Passenger Speak characteristics aid the driver to observe and connect with occupants in the second and third rows.

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An optional extensive-angle Passenger Digital camera on the Carnival’s ceiling shows a bird’s-eye watch of second and third rows on the multimedia monitor, full with night time eyesight. This up grade will work nicely in tandem with the Passenger Speak function that amplifies the driver’s voice about the Carnival’s speakers, so they don’t have to shout to communicate to folks in the third row. 

When outfitted with the optional Passenger Voice Recognition tech, second-row travellers can also challenge instructions to the dashboard UVO process. This is handy for getting location suggestions from grownups in the VIP seats, but is also defeatable when you need to have to keep a van total of kids from requesting Little one Shark for the fifty-leventh time.

Front seat tech

Up entrance, Kia’s most up-to-date-era UVO infotainment lives in the dashboard. An eight-inch exhibit is typical, but EX, SX and SX Status designs all up grade to a 12.3-inch exhibit. Both way, Android Automobile and Apple CarPlay connectivity are also typical with USB — but not wireless — connectivity. UVO packs its intuitive interface with exclusive characteristics like voice memo recording, Sounds of Character (like serene waves, a forest or bustling cafe) and a tranquil mode that boundaries media volume and disables the rear speakers — valuable for when little ones are dozing in the back.

The customizable star shortcut button on the dashboard — a small function that you can come across on Kia’s other UVO methods — is joined by a second customizable button on the steering wheel, enabling motorists to map characteristics like the Passenger Digital camera or Passenger Speak to a one push.

There are up to nine USB ports (7 are typical) for charging cellular units spread across the Carnival’s 3 rows.

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LX, EX and SX trims all function traditional bodily gauges and a small 4.3-inch details exhibit. The SX Status updates to a 12.3-inch fully electronic instrument cluster with four person-selectable themes, together with a dynamic location that variations along with the time of working day. The electronic cluster also integrates Kia’s Blind Place Watch function, exhibiting a digicam feed of the adjacent lane when the corresponding flip sign is activated. 

DriveWise basic safety suite

Kia’s DriveWise superior driver-guidance process suite is typical on all Carnival designs. That gets you entrance, rear and lane-improve collision detection, forward automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-trying to keep assist, blind-location monitoring and a rear digicam. DriveWise also rolls in driver focus monitoring and a sonar-dependent rear occupant alert that prevents unintentionally leaving a baby or pet in the parked motor vehicle.

The EX trim provides park length warnings, improved collision avoidance that can also detect cyclists and Highway Driving Assistant, Kia’s umbrella technology that rolls in navigation-dependent adaptive cruise management that will work in quit-and-go site visitors and improved lane-trying to keep steering assist. Upgrading to SX brings a encompass watch digicam process on the net. Last but not least, the total-fats SX Status completes the basic safety suite with the aforementioned blind-location digicam tech.

Efficiency and effectiveness

The only powertrain presented in the 2022 Carnival is a 3.5-liter V6 paired with an 8-speed automated transmission and entrance-wheel drive. In spite of searching like an SUV, all-wheel drive is not an solution. On the vibrant aspect, 290 horsepower imbues the Carny with really fantastic hustle for a minivan, and the 262 pound-ft of torque is adequate twist to tow up to a 3,500-pound trailer.

Handling is gentle, but at ease. The Carnival isn’t the most swish dancer on a twisty road, but the minivan manages to stay off of its have toes nicely adequate that it feels protected. The steering is responsive, but system roll and understeer are obvious at speed. This is, of program, great. In spite of Toyota’s marketing for the new Sienna, I don’t believe that any person browsing for a minivan is searching for “activity-tuned handling.” More importantly, the Carnival does a wonderful occupation absorbing bumps with poise and communicating its boundaries to the driver nicely and early adequate to stay out of problems.

The EPA estimates 19 miles for every gallon town, 26 mpg freeway or 22 mpg combined from the 2022 Carnival. That is on par with other entrance-drive, V6-driven minivans in this course. The various drive modes — Regular, Eco, Smart and Sport — will have some influence on the Kia’s overall performance and effectiveness stability, but about the program of 3 days, tests both of those the SX and SX Status trim concentrations in a variety of circumstances, my typical of 21.7 mpg was practically location-on with individuals estimates.

Kia’s betting that the Carnival will come across a home in the grey space in between minivans and SUVs.

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Pricing and opposition

The 2022 Kia Carnival starts at $33,275 (together with its $1,175 location cost) for the base LX product and tops out at $forty seven,275 for the fully loaded SX Status. Include $two hundred for ground mats and $495 for the high quality Astra Blue paint to achieve an as-examined value of $forty seven,970. I only at any time want to be picked up from the airport in a Carny with VIP seating from now on, but for family members searching to maximize room for folks and cargo, the sweet location is the 8-passenger SX product beginning at $42,275.

The Carnival is priced and appointed competitively against the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Nonetheless, Chrysler and Toyota offer you all-wheel drive, hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations that increase the value ceiling but also convey major overall performance and fuel economic system benefits. Also contemplate that the Carnival’s activity-utility fashion has the likely to tempt a number of family members on the fence absent from a new SUV order, so 1 could make the scenario for it staying an oblique competitor to a thing like Kia’s have Telluride as nicely.

Kia can call it an MPV and fashion it like an SUV, but what issues is that the Carnival is a damn fantastic minivan. Kia’s designers have pulled off this stylistic double-choose with aplomb. With the 2022 Carnival arriving in dealerships now, the automaker can only hope that purchasers believe it can be as great as I do.