Car Review: Kia Carnival is out to make you change your mind about the minivan

The minivan doesn’t get much respect. While it’s useful, it has never been the first word in style, and it doesn’t sell like a crossover. The new Kia Carnival has a tall task to make the minivan popular again, and it appears up to the challenge.

The 2022 Carnival SX Prestige does its best to impress you with its styling. Kia gives this new Carnival a pleasing new look especially if you are drawn to the crossover. You get that crossover feeling just looking at the grill on the front end. The large grill seems like it would be at home on any SUV. Add in blacked-out wheels that sit in flared fenders. Those are definitely more SUV-like than humble-people-mover. Look for a minute or two and you will notice those hallmark minivan sliding rear doors. Out back, the rear styling is less angular and upright but it’s a handsome package overall.

Hop inside the luxurious interior of the top-of-the-line model Carnival and you are in for a treat. The two-tone color scheme with brighter colored leather seats works nicely with the black soft-touch materials and the aluminum trim pieces. Choose the SX Prestige package and you lose a seat, but the second row VIP seating provides two power-heated and ventilated reclining seats that allow for easy lounging. The Carnival is spacious and the third row is roomy; something most crossovers can’t match.

In the driver’s seat, the Kia Carnival provides good pep from a 290hp V6 that helps this big ride keep pace with traffic. It rides better than the previous Sedona minivan and I found it more confident when the road isn’t straight. It handles bumps with more composure than before too. This isn’t a small vehicle. The Carnival is wide and long and it takes a few minutes to get used to the size. The Kia Carnival comes with a host of driver aids and some nifty interior features make it very friendly to drive.

Cost: $46,100; as tested $47,770
MPG: 19 MPG City; and 26 MPG Highway. I managed 23.6 in 408 miles of mixed driving.
Options: $495 Astra blue paint
Safety: blind spot collision avoidance assist-pedestrian with parallel exit; rear cross traffic; forward collision-avoidance assist; forward collision avoidance-assist, cyclist & junction turning; vehicle stability management; safe exit assist with power child lock; smart cruise with stop-go; parking collision avoidance-rear; lane following assist; driver attention warning; rear occupant alert with motion detector.
Things to know: The 2022 Kia Carnival is a new minivan that looks to change what you think of this versatile vehicle. Kia uses style, technology and a large, upscale interior to help make the van cool again.

Pros:

  • Impressive interior space and high-quality materials
  • Uses style to help people get over the van stigma
  • V6 engine provides power to move the family with authority

Cons:

  • The Carnival is a large vehicle and takes time to get used to driving
  • Fuel economy isn’t the best in its class
  • The Prestige SX model is luxurious but you lose a seat and some interior flexibility

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up