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2022 Kia Carnival - Review by Larry Nutson

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SEE ALSO: Kia Carnival Archive

Family focused

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Kia has discontinued its Sedona minivan. Replacing the Sedona in Kia’s model lineup is the entirely new 2022 Kia Carnival.

Kia refers to the new Carnival as a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) rather than a minivan. Well, okay! All minivans are technically MPVs. The Carnival is indeed stylish, penned in its California design studio, with unique design cues and a wagon-like profile to make it appear more as a utility vehicle.

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But the Carnival is still very much a minivan. The low load-floor height, left and right sliding rear doors, large cavernous cargo area, large opening rear hatch, seating for up to eight, and prominent driver seating position make it, like other minivans, the near ideal family vehicle.

It can be said that utility vehicles (UV) are a compromise to provide seating for lots of passengers, a big and versatile cargo area, good trailer towing ability, all-wheel or four-wheel drive, increased ground clearance, and more, all packaged in the same vehicle. MPVs, minivans that is, are more focused on the passengers and the versatile cargo room.

The 2022 Kia Carnival has seating for up to eight occupants. Kia says it has the best-in class cargo room at a total of 145.1 cu.ft.-- even more cargo room than the Chevrolet Suburban UV.

The Carnival is offered only in front-wheel drive configuration. Under the hood is a 290-hp 3.5L V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. There’s 262 lb-ft of torque available to deliver acceleration to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. That’s quick when it comes to minivans.

EPA fuel economy ratings are 22 mpg combined, or 4.5 gallons per 100 miles, with ratings of 19 city mpg and 26 highway mpg. Everyone is talking about driving range in electric vehicles. The gas-engined Carnival has a 19 gal. fuel tank that theoretically will allow you nearly 500 miles of highway driving.

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Inside there are three rows of seats with capacity for 8 people with a second-row bench seat, or 7 people with the available second-row captain’s chairs. Cargo capacity behind the third row is 40.2 cu.ft. With the third row folded you get 86.9 cu.ft. and up to 145.1 cu.ft. with the second-row seat also folded. Plus, Carnival can tow up to 3,500 lbs.

For those of you with toddlers who must be seated in child safety seats, rated the Carnival as the best minivan for installing child safety seats.

The Carnival can accommodate three child safety seats in the second-row bench.

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The Carnival is offered in LX, EX, SX, and SX Prestige trims. The LX is 7-passenger with an option for 8-passenger seating. EX and SX seat eight. SX Prestige seats seven and features new “VIP” Lounge seats that are heated/ventilated and have power recline and power-extending leg rests. The second-row seats in all trims are removable except for the VIP seats in the SX Prestige.

The Carnival is loaded with features that make moving your family much easier and safer. There’s a full array of standard Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) along with rear seat occupant alert, blind spot view monitor to not only check the traffic lanes next to you but check for bicyclists when making a turn. There’s a 360-degree surround view monitor and passenger safe exit to warn of an approaching vehicle or bicycle.

Wireless streaming with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, 8-inch or available 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen, and a dual-screen rear entertainment system will help keep everyone entertained.

Carnival MSRP pricing starts at $32,100 for the LX. EX is priced at $37,600, SX is $41,100 and SX Prestige is $46,100. The freight and handling charge is an additional $1,175.

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For my drive experience in the new Carnival I drove the SX Prestige trim with a base price of $46,100. The Astra Blue paint added $495 for a total of $46,770 including destination charge.

The Tuscan Umber leather trimmed interior was a delight to my eyes. Bose Premium audio made for great listening to my music genre of the moment. I tried out the various adjustments of the second-row VIP seats, although I was not tempted to take on the role of a chauffeur.

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The center console is big with a traditional lever-style transmission gear selector. I like the convenience of hands-free opening of sliding side doors and the rear hatch. Although from time to time when I paused by the rear hatch, for example to pay for on-street parking using an app, the hatch would open via the proximity sensor in the key fob. Sometimes you get the bad with the good.

The power train delivers plenty of performance that is both smooth and refined. Dynamically the Carnival provides a comfortable ride with composed handling. Ground clearance is 6.8 inches for easy step in and loading. At 203 inches long the Carnival is comfortable to maneuver and park.

More details and information on the 2022 Kia Carnival can be found at Note that the Carnival comes with a 5-year/60,000 mile basic warranty.

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Although my Carnival drive was in and around my Chicago home, my wife and I have vacationed in a Chrysler Pacifica minivan. The point being, minivans or MPVs are truly versatile. They are easy to load with their sliding side doors and rear hatch. The load floor is low and big. We folded all the rear seats and carried two bicycle plus our vacation gear. If you have a family full of toddlers a minivan just might be the right vehicle choice for that stage in raising a family.

Along with the Carnival and the previously mentioned Chrysler Pacifica, the only other minivan choices are the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey.

Happy motoring!

© 2021 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy