A Fantastic People Mover That Also Does a Good Job Performing Many Utilitarian Tasks
Lately, Kia has gone through a lot of changes. introducing all-new suvs like the Telluride and this Seltos, as well as giving new names to old models like the Optima…now k5 sedan. and that brings us to their Sedona minivan which has been reborn as the Carnival MPV. Let’s find out if that’s something worth celebrating.
The 2022 Kia Carnival MPV really is marketing “déjà vu” all over again. After all, 32 years ago, Mazda tried to use the “multi-purpose vehicle” designation here to camouflage their new minivan. And, we can’t blame either of them. After all, why wouldn’t you want to put the best spin on what is undeniably the most versatile vehicle type on the planet. So, while Kia has officially gotten out of the minivan business by canceling the Sedona, they are filling that void with the minivan-style front-wheel drive Carnival MPV.
And, we have to say up front there’s nothing mini about Carnival, with almost 17-feet of length putting it more up against large SUVs. Kia has gone above and beyond to make it look like a utility vehicle too; though with just 6.8-inches of ground clearance, and no all-wheel-drive option, it’s pretty much for pavement only.
Still, the practical boxy vibe, exaggerated wheel arches, and design cues from the Telluride SUV, work to give it quite an imposing aura. Aided by a large updated tiger nose grille, with Kia’s new logo just above it on the hood. A chunk of textured bright trim on the C-pillar, and exaggerated character lines, also attempt to distract from the minivan shape.
The diamond texture pattern is echoed on the dashboard, which is a major departure from the Sedona; including a wide twin-screen display, with an available 12–inch gauge display blending into either an 8 or 12–inch central screen ala Mercedes-Benz.
Getting to the all-important functionality; rear hatch, as well as the sliders, not only open hands free, but close that way as well.
But, a button on the door allows you to turn that feature off, and it will beep at you to give you a warning before closing.
7-passenger versions take the captain’s chair concept to a new level; with VIP lounge seating more akin to first class airplane seats.
For 8-passenger versions, it’s not a bench in the 2nd row, but 3 individual seats that can be adjusted or removed independently. The center seat also folds into a table if you prefer.
3rd row folds easily into the floor in the typical minivan fashion, and there’s 40.2 cubic-ft. of space behind them, 86.9 behind the 2nd; and a max of 145.1 cubic-ft. with 2nd row removed. And that’s a lot of space no matter what you compare yourself to.
No problem hauling a bunch of people or stuff around, the Carnival boasts a 290-horsepower V6 with 262 lb-ft. of torque. It works with an 8-speed automatic transmission to tow the typical for the segment 3,500-lbs. Our plans didn’t include any towing, but we did haul ourselves to Mason Dixon Dragway for some ¼-mile runs and were quickly impressed. The Carnival launches quite strongly, with just a slight chirp of the front wheels as it gets going to 60 in 7.2-seconds.
Things progress smoothly and swiftly down the track, with our best ¼-mile time 15.6-seconds at 91 miles-per-hour. Over on our handling course, much less body roll than we expected; but you do need to keep inputs smooth and steady to stay on the good side of the aggressive stability system.
Plenty of advanced driver assistance systems come standard including and Lane Keeping Assist, and Forward Collision Avoidance automatic braking. In our normal emergency braking test the Carnival felt heavy, but still showed fine stopping power, taking only 110 feet from 60 to zero with good pedal feel and minimal fade.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 19-City, 26-Highway, and 22-Combined; our average, a fine 22.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. That’s an average Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels of annual oil use, with 6.7-tons of CO2 emissions.
Perhaps the true benefit of the minivan form is full-size utility for less than the price of many mid-size crossovers. Pricing starts at just $33,275. So, regardless of what you call it, the 2022 Kia Carnival MPV offers a lot of top features for the money. It is a fantastic people mover that also does a fine job performing most household utilitarian tasks. All with an amazing amount of space inside to pack full of people and provisions, with comfort and connectivity for everyone. In short, Carnival is indeed a celebration for the family from Kia.
Engine: 3.5L V6
Torque: 262 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
1/4 Mile: 15.6 seconds @ 91 mph