- Good standard safety features
- Versatile seat options
- Roomy interior
- Sport-utility style
- No hybrid
- No AWD
- No stow-away second-row seats
- Airline-style seats come with compromises
The 2022 Kia Carnival loads up on luxury, though it cedes Olympic-grade flexibility to other minivans.
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 Sedona. 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 Telluride.
Is the 2022 Kia Carnival a good car?
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 give it a 7.5 out of 10. (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. The squared-off corners read more like the crossover SUVs across the showroom floor, and it works, with the sliding side doors and the telltale rear end the bigger giveaways of its family-hauler status. We could do without some of the glossy metallic and black trim inside and out; the cabin’s handsomely organized and outfitted like the Telluride’s but shiny plastic trim on the doors picks up fingerprints too easily, and glinty metal on the dash in the top trim glares at the driver.
The Carnival taps a strong-enough 3.5-liter V-6 with 290 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it’s good for acceleration in the happy-medium range, and to tow 3,500 pounds. It passes on the newer V-6 found in the Telluride, and skips the turbo-4 and hybrid powertrains on offer in the new 2021 Sorento. EPA ratings show it holding in place, at 22 mpg combined, but this minivan’s much more pleasant to drive than its predecessor, with a very well damped ride as its hallmark. It doesn’t drive big, as it might.
The Carnival’s huge inside, though. Seven adults can fit inside, and the four or five in front get luxury trappings on the SX and Prestige versions, with heated and cooled leather seats in the second row, as well as reclining airline-style seats with extending footrests. The sliding bench second-row seat is better for flexibility, but it doesn’t fold into the floor, rendering the Carnival as useful as the Odyssey and Sienna; the paragon’s still the Pacifica.
All Carnivals earn top crash-test ratings and come equipped with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and active lane control. Pricey versions add on adaptive cruise control, a surround-view camera system, and blind-spot cameras that project info in the instrument cluster.
How much does the 2022 Kia Carnival cost?
Standard convenience features on the $33,275 Carnival LX 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. The $47,275 SX Prestige model has a twin-pane sunroof, the airline seats, leather upholstery, those twin 12.3-inch screens, metallic trim, and 12-speaker Bose audio. All Carnivals have a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty.
Where is the 2022 Kia Carnival made?
In South Korea.
2022 Kia Carnival
The handsome Carnival wears some SUV drag.
Is the Kia Carnival a good-looking car?
With its light SUV cues applied to a big-box minivan body, the Carnival’s an attractive alternative to a high-riding crossover. We give it a 7, with points for interior and exterior.
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 rocker 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—and those mission-specific sliding side doors.
The Carnival’s cabin looks a lot like that of the Telluride, minus that SUV’s stand-alone screen and console-mounted grab handles. The Carnival’s more open cockpit is awash in digital displays on top trims, and framed by bands of diamond-patterned aluminum trim on the top SX-Prestige trim. That comes with problems: The aluminum trim to the left of the steering wheel reflects into the sideview mirror and blots out about a quarter of its view. It and the SX are slathered in decidedly un-kid-friendly gloss black trim, down to the door pulls, and the Prestige’s fancy leather upholstery looks too nice to be stained with ketchup and formula. As Granddad’s pseudo-Newell, it’s on point; as a Rubbermaid container for your family, it’s maybe too nice?
2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival’s no joy ride, but it’s perfectly suited to the minivan task.
How fast is the Kia Carnival?
It’s a fine performer, but the Kia Carnival doesn’t get some of the latest drivetrain tech from its family members. For its absorbent ride, we give it a point above average, for a 6 here.
Is the Kia Carnival 4WD?
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 neither of those, nor does it get the 291-hp 3.8-liter V-6 in the Kia Telluride.
It’s fine. There’s nothing aberrant about the way the Carnival drives. Over a hundred miles of freeway and lightly banked roads, it barely skipped a single upshift as it settled into a supremely comfortable highway lop. It’s an interstate champion, with almost no feeling in its steering outside of the artificially weighted Sport mode, but it keeps to its lane well.
With its straightforward strut and multi-link suspension, the Carnival’s very good at damping out rough roads. With 19-inch all-season tires as its biggest size (base cars get 17-inchers), it’s slightly better at that than the Telluride, which can ride on 20-inch whoppers.
2022 Kia Carnival
Comfort & Quality
The Carnival’s a universal carry-all.
With seating for seven or eight people, and enough enclosed space to haul home a highboy, the 2022 Carnival tops out our ratings for accommodations. Top versions have well-detailed interiors that sit just shy of earning a final point here. The Carnival’s a 9.
The Carnival sits 203.0 inches long, on a 121.7-inch wheelbase, measurements nearly identical to those of a Chrysler Pacifica. What it does with that interior space isn’t quite as flexible as the class-leading Chrysler, but it’s still quite good.
Row One passengers get the best space, of course. Base manually-adjusted cloth seats in the LX model swiftly upgrade with power, synthetic leather, heating, cooling, and real hides in the Prestige. The Carnival’s power leather seats offer good comfort and a fine driving position for lots of drivers, and they’re not walled off from each other by a huge center console as in some SUVs. The cockpit emanates a spacious vibe, with good storage for phones, keys, bottles, and paper-bag meals on the go.
In eight-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. Seat comfort and head room are very good. That seat can also be folded down to convert to a table with integrated cupholders. All three of these second-row seats can be removed individually, and the 60/40-split third-row seats can be folded into the floor—but “removable,” maybe, for young parents who have some of the more complex Ikea kits down pat and haven’t ruined themselves physically. Stow-in-floor seats remain a better idea.
The seven-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. The caveats: There isn’t enough space for tall passengers to stretch out fully without crimping their feet on the front seatback, the seats don’t fold forward for third-row access (it’s through the middle aisle only), and what’s more, head room in these seats when upright is limited by the twin-pane sunroof.
At 145.1 cubic feet of cargo space, the Carnival has 3.1 cubic feet more behind the first row than the old Sedona, and passenger volume increases nearly the same amount to 168.2 cubic feet. Behind row three, it sports 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space; behind row two, 86.9 cubic feet, or about as much as a Telluride.
Interior trim quality is excellent on SX and SX Prestige editions, and so is quietness; base trims don’t get the laminated side windows that damp road noise, though.
2022 Kia Carnival
Good safety features and top safety ratings help the 2022 Carnival avoid and withstand crashes.
How safe is the Kia Carnival?
The 2022 Kia Carnival minivan withstands crashes as well as it avoids them, based on crash-test results by the IIHS, who awarded it a Top Safety Pick. A five-star rating from the NHTSA typically follows, so we score it a point for each, another point for standard safety features, and another point for good optional safety features. It's a 9.
Each copy comes with a raft of standard safety equipment, including low-speed automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, active lane control, a driver-attention warning, and reverse parking sensors.
Upper trims add high-speed automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, blind-spot cameras, and an intercom/inter-car camera that allows the driver to fully participate in the surveillance state and to see and hear what’s going on in rows two and three.
Outward vision is notably good in the Carnival thanks to a low beltline—so long as the rear-seat headrests are lowered. With tall people on board in back, it’s more of a mixed bag.
2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival has something for everyone, in every seat.
The Carnival’s filled with useful and clever features, and a very good infotainment system. Over the long run its exceptional warranty coverage is sure to underscore its strong value. It’s a 10 for features.
The $33,275 Carnival LX isn’t a flyover, thanks to generous standard equipment which includes cloth upholstery, power sliding side doors, seven-passenger seating, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and all the safety features mentioned above.
Which Kia Carnival should I buy?
We’d start at the $38,775 Carnival EX, which upgrades to a 12.3-inch touchscreen with wired smartphone connectivity and Bluetooth, more speakers, synthetic leather upholstery, a power tailgate, a power driver seat, heated front seats, wireless smartphone charging, 19-inch wheels, and eight-passenger seating.
The $42,275 Carnival SX adds thicker side glass, roof rails, a 115-volt outlet, cooled front seats, a power front passenger seat, a rear seat entertainment system, and a surround-view camera system.
How much is a fully loaded Kia Carnival?
That would be the $47,275 Carnival SX Prestige, which tops it all off with blind-spot cameras, leather upholstery, 12-speaker Bose audio, cooled and heated second-row lounge seats, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster
All Carnivals carry a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty with 10-year/100,000-mile coverage for the powertrain.
2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival’s tagged with so-so fuel economy.
Is the Kia Carnival good on gas?
The Carnival’s no three-ring circus when it comes to fuel economy. The EPA rates it at 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 22 combined. Those are the kind of numbers you’d see in a big three-row SUV, or a little worse; Kia’s own Telluride checks in at 20/26/23 mpg.
The Carnival has no high-economy powertrains on tap, or promised in its future.