The Car Connection Kia Carnival Overview
The Kia Carnival minivan launched for model year 2022, following a 20-year run when it was called the Kia Sedona. Thought it lacks all-wheel drive or a hybrid powertrain option, the Carnival remains a relative value loaded with standard safety and convenience features, as well as having one of the largest interiors for passengers and gear.
MORE: Read our 2022 Kia Carnival review
It competes with the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, and Honda Odyssey, as well as three-row crossover SUVs such as the Kia Sorento.
The new Kia Carnival
The Kia Carnival adopts many of the cues from the brand's more popular three-row SUVs in the Kia Telluride and Kia Sorento. Square ends and fake skid plates complement buff wheel arches that fit up to 19-inch black alloy wheels that pretend to some distant off-road lineage.
A larger overall footprint presents a roomier and more versatile interior, with more than 145 cubic feet of cargo volume with the second and third rows folded flat. In 8-seat configurations, the Carnival has a sliding middle seat that in its most forward position can be reached by the front passenger, while the 7-seat arrangement on top trims present reclining captain's chairs with integrated foot rests.
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. The EPA rates the 2022 Carnival at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined.
Safety and value are a priority on the Kia Carnival, with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, parking sensors, automatic high beams, and a driver-attention warning complementing a starting price under $35,000.
Offered in LX, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige, the Carnival comes with 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. Options include a 12.3-inch touchscreen, dual sunroofs, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system.
The former Kia Sedona
The first-generation Sedona went on sale here as a 2002 model and ran through the 2005 model year. Its 3.5-liter V-6 made 195 horsepower and was teamed to a 4-speed automatic. It lacked features found on competitive minivans, like power-sliding side doors, curtain airbags, a navigation system, and a fold-flat third-row seat. That first Sedona was also a heavy vehicle, so performance and fuel economy both suffered compared to the segment leaders.
The second-generation Sedona arrived as a 2006 model, much improved. The powertrain was updated to a 3.8-liters V-6 that made 244 hp, teamed with a 5-speed automatic with manual gear selection. Fuel economy improved to 17/24 mpg, a competitive figure. In 2007, Kia added a short-wheelbase version, making the Sedona the only two-body-style minivan left in America (since Chrysler had since dropped the short-wheelbase Dodge Caravan). That version was dropped after the 2008 model year.
Performance improved, but the features included in the Sedona still fell short of those in other minivans. The Sedona carried seven passengers, but there was no clever fold-away seat option like that in the Chrysler minivans or in the Nissan Quest. The third-row seat did fold flat into the rear cargo area, however. Interior trim was better than in prior versions, and the Sedona also added USB audio inputs, a navigation system, and a DVD entertainment system.
For more on the history of Kia's minivan, visit the Sedona page here.