A spacious minivan with seating for up to eight
Several advanced safety systems fitted as standard
All-wheel drive not available
No hybrid drivetrain offered
The 2022 Carnival minivan is completely new for this model year
The all-new 2022 Kia Carnival takes over from the Sedona minivan, or MPV (multi-purpose vehicle). We live in an era so dominated by SUVs and crossovers that perhaps some people have forgotten that the MPV — or minivan — still exists. But the Honda
Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica are still meeting the particular needs of large families.
The Sedona was doing that as well and making a darn good job of it. But now it’s been superseded by the 2022 Carnival, a new generation of MPV.
wants to tweak the MPV/minivan terminology because, well, the minivan world isn’t as exciting as ridiculously high-powered versions of sport sedans or jaw-droppingly capable trucks. And the MPV name doesn’t have quite the same suburban baggage as the minivan label.
The Kia Carnival
However, when the time comes to transport up to eight occupants in safety and comfort, something like the new Carnival — with class-leading interior and cargo space — is going to be an excellent choice. It comes with a lot of advanced safety features as standard and ups the reassurance factor with an unbeatable 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Also see: The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica minivan is like home on wheels
2022 Kia Carnival pricing
The 2022 Carnival MPV lineup starts with LX trim, whose Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price is $32,300, plus a destination charge.
The other trim levels are EX, SX and SX Prestige. This last model tops the Carnival MPV range at $46,300 before options.
These figures make the 2022 Carnival competitive with the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna — really the big two in the MPV category. The Odyssey begins at just over $33K and the Sienna is more than $35K. The Chrysler Pacifica is even pricier. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for their new Carnival.
Honda and Toyota tend to top the resale value tables. The Carnival MPV is totally new this year and seems more desirable than the Sedona it replaces, which should have a beneficial effect on resale values. The Sedona could only match the Pacifica.
The Kia Carnival easily seats eight tall people.
Which model is right for me?
2022 Kia Carnival LX
17-inch alloy wheels
Seating for seven
Powered sliding side doors
8-inch infotainment touchscreen
Wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration
2022 Kia Carnival EX
Seating for eight
Tri-zone automatic climate control
Passenger Talk intercom system
Rear passenger-view camera
19-inch alloy wheels
Shades for second & third rows
Simulated leather upholstery
Heated front seats
2022 Kia Carnival SX
LED fog lights
Power-folding side mirrors
Heated/ventilated/power-adjustable front seats
Dual-screen rear entertainment system
Two 115-volt outlets
Rear passenger voice recognition
Reverse emergency braking
360-degree camera system
2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige
Seating for seven
Full LED exterior lighting
Powered dual-pane sunroof
12.3-inch LCD driver information cluster w/blind-spot view monitor
Self-dimming mirror w/garage door opener
LED interior lighting
VIP Lounge second-row seats
Heated steering wheel
Bose 12-speaker audio system
Related: Why minivans are the hottest thing right now
Driving the 2022 Kia Carnival
Kia is technically correct in its claim that the 290 horsepower from the Carnival’s 3.5-liter V6 is class-leading, although the Chrysler Pacifica comes really, really close with 287 horsepower. In real-world driving, this is ample muscle even when the Carnival is loaded with people and everything that absolutely has to come with them.
This V6 needs to be revved hard, though, to extract the most from it. Maximum torque of 262 lb-ft is achieved at quite a high-spinning 5,000 rpm. Fortunately, it’s an engine that revs freely, although the Carnival’s excellent sound insulation contributes to a generally relaxed experience.
As it turns out, the more relaxed things are, the better. The Carnival has driving modes that include a Sport setting, but when there are passengers on board, the gentler responses of Eco mode will be more pleasant for everyone. Either way, the braking action has a well-calibrated smoothness.
Adding to the general ease of driving is a steering system that requires little effort yet stills feel precise, along with excellent outward vision. With a vehicle of this size, the 360-degree camera system of the SX trim is still much appreciated.
The Carnival MPV is based on the same platform as the excellent new K5 sedan. This includes extensive use of ultra-high-strength steel to make the foundation lighter, stronger and quieter than the outgoing Sedona’s. Such torsional rigidity allowed Kia’s suspension engineers to fine-tune the Carnival’s ride quality.
They did a great job. The suspension manages to flow over any road imperfections while remaining composed through corners — less body roll means a lower chance of car-sickness.
Getting to grips with the tech is fairly simple. The infotainment system is user-friendly. And the partially autonomous Highway Driving Assist feature that’s standard in all but the lowest LX trim works well. It doesn’t feel like it’s always making small corrections.
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If anyone is thinking of getting the band back together, the new Carnival could make easy work of traveling to and from gigs. It can accommodate up to eight people, with room for six-footers in every row. And access to the third row is easy.
At the SX level is acoustic glass for the windshield and the front side windows, so favorite playlists won’t get drowned out by wind noise and road drone. For such a spacious cabin, the Carnival is remarkably quiet.
The entry level LX is a 7-seater with the option of an extra place. The top SX-Prestige, meanwhile, keeps its passenger count the same as the days of the week. This is also the model that doesn’t have removable second-row seats. The rest of the 2022 Carnival does allow users to remove the second row. And the third seating row folds flat into the floor.
The top trim has its own qualities, though, offering heated and ventilated second-row seats with power adjustment, wing-out headrests and extendable leg support. Plus a dual-screen dashboard (very Mercedes-Benz) featuring a 12.3-inch digital driver information display and 12.3-inch infotainment screen.
The two highest trim levels also have a twin-screen rear entertainment system as standard. It features device mirroring capability and streaming.
Kia says there are three “bold” interior color schemes for the Carnival MPV. To make the overall design feel integrated, the metallic accent on the dashboard works in tandem with a similar exterior treatment of the C-pillars.
It’s slightly surprising to see a conventional gearshift lever instead of the increasingly common electronic setup, which would have created some extra stowage space in the center console.
Behind the third row is 40.2 cubic feet of luggage space. Easily enough for a few guitar cases and amps. With rows two and three out of the picture, maximum cargo space is a cavernous 145.1 cubic feet.
With the 2022 Carnival, Kia continues its relentless push as a purveyor of quality vehicles with interesting styling. There’s more than a hint of SUV to the Carnival MPV, especially from the front three-quarter view. It was designed in Kia’s California studio that also created the Telluride SUV and the new-for-2021 Sorento SUV. Around the back, the Carnival looks more minivan-like.
One particularly remarkable thing about the new Carnival is that this is the first vehicle to have the redesigned Kia logo on its hood. It also has some snazzy daytime running lights, as well as a rear wiper hidden cleverly behind the rear spoiler.
LX trim has 17-inch alloy wheels; 19-inch alloys are fitted to all the higher trims. Premium paint colors (at $495) are Aurora Black Pearl, Ceramic Silver, Astra Blue, and Snow White Pearl.
Hands-free sliding side doors
Yes, power-sliding side doors as standard. And they only need the proximity of the Smart Key to work.
This feature comes with the 8-seater arrangement. Multiple configurations are available, including a sliding center 2nd-row seat that allows parents easier access to an especially young person sitting in it. This seat can also turn into a table.
The most affordable 2022 Carnival minivan, the LX, comes with keyless entry/ignition, cloth upholstery, seating for seven, sliding and removable second-row seats, front and rear air conditioning, powered sliding side doors with hands-free operation.
The amount of standard safety systems is comforting. They include forward-collision avoidance, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assistance, automatic high beams, driver attention monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear occupant alert, and a safe exit feature (see our Safety section).
The LX’s infotainment system is controlled by an 8-inch touchscreen, includes wireless Apple
CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, Bluetooth connectivity for multiple devices, six USB ports, and a 6-speaker audio setup.
Despite what looks like a decent amount of standard equipment, the next-up EX trim is worth the extra $5,500. This is when things like a rear passenger camera with a zoom function and night vision becomes standard, along with hands-free powered tailgate operation, a cabin intercom system, and a quiet mode for the audio system that sends music through just the front speakers.
However, the LX offers a Seating package ($2,000) bringing accommodation for eight with a multi-function center seat in the second row, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, simulated leather upholstery, and an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. These are all standard in the EX.
Extra technology in the 2022 Carnival minivan range includes up to nine USB ports, two 115-volt outlets, remote start using Amazon
Alexa or Google
Assistant, calendar integration, wireless charging, 12.3-inch driver information display, 12.3-inch navigation screen, power-adjustable front seats, powered tailgate, a 12-speaker Bose audio system, and Last Mile navigation — providing walking directions on the user’s phone to the ultimate intended destination.
Safety features in the higher trims include cyclist detection, navigation-based intelligent cruise control, reverse braking, and a 360-degree camera system.
Engine and transmission
A naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 (no turbos or superchargers) endows the 2022 Carnival with 290 horsepower. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends that drive to the front wheels.
A couple of minivans offer all-wheel drive, but not the Carnival. If that’s an important consideration, check out the Toyota Sienna or go for a full-on 3-row SUV like the Kia Telluride.
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Those looking to keep their carbon footprint as low as possible should also know that the Sienna (a new generation debuted for 2021) is hybrid-only, and the Pacifica has a hybrid option. The Carnival may come with a hybrid drivetrain in the future, but not right now. Regular gasoline is fine, by the way.
Maximum towing capacity of the 2022 Carnival MPV is 3,500 pounds.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
262 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA fuel economy city/highway: 19/26 mpg
This story originally ran on KBB.com.