After abandoning its long-time minivan this year, the folks at Kia weren’t ready to entirely bid farewell to manufacturing a family-friendly hauler.
Following a run of two decades, the company shelved the Sedona and replaced it with the even-better 2022 Kia Carnival that has updated features, technology and styling.
Considering minivan sales have dropped from 1.1 million sales in 2005 to just over 270,000 in 2020, one could not fault Kia from eliminating a minivan from its lineup.
Unveiled in 2001, the Sedona never seriously challenged the king of minivans (Honda Odyssey) or two other mainstays – Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica. The Sedona’s top sales year was 61,149 (2004) and it ended on a sour note with sales of 13,190 in 2020.
The new Carnival has all the typical qualities one expects: a roomy interior that can transport seven or eight passengers, easy-to-use features, good cargo space, and plenty of comfort that a large family will appreciate.
Kia refers to the Carnival as a multi-purpose vehicle. And thanks in part to its sleek design, it could pass as an SUV. But the classic sliding side doors are a giveaway that indeed, this is a three-row minivan that comes with a second-row bench or optional captain’s chairs.
The front-wheel drive Carnival offers a bit more performance than the outgoing model. Every trim model is powered by a 3.5-liter, V6 that generates 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Matched with eight-speed automatic transmission, the Carnival goes 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds and can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The interior makeup is where minivans are valued, and the Carnival has lots to offer. It is versatile, spacious, has comfortable seating, and the easy entrance and exit will be appreciated by every passenger. Third-row seating is fine for kids, but adults won’t want to sit in the rear of the van.
Going with the captain’s chairs is certainly temping since they come with heating, ventilation and extendable leg rests. However, to use the reclining seats and fully extend the leg rests, the captain’s chairs must be pushed all the way back, so the third row is unusable. Also note the captain’s seats are not removable.
AT A GLANCE – 2022 KIA CARNIVAL
- Performance: 3.5-liter, V6, 290 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 19-26 mpg
- Price estimate: $32,200 – $46,200
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; Drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 5 years/60,000; Corrosion: 5 years/100,000
Cargo space is abundant in the Carnival, which has four trim levels (LX, EX, SX, SX Prestige). It has a spacious 40.2 cubic feet behind the third-row and when it’s folded down that room expands to 86.9 cubes. With the third row down and the second-row bench removed, the space grows to 145.1 cubic feet.
The Carnival has a sizable center console and a standard 8-inch touchscreen (12.3-inch is optional). The technology can take too much attention away from the driver’s primary responsibilities. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration are standard and so are the seven USB ports.
Although no minivan offers the kind of quality ride the Odyssey delivers, the remaining crop all possess a solid driving experience. The Carnival has poised handling and provides the type of security all family’s desire.
Standard safety features include driver attention warning, forward collision mitigation, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, safe exit assist, and rear occupant alert.
Kia has replaced the Sedona with a more capable, better-looking minivan that it hopes will bolster sales. The 2022 Kia Carnival is a solid pick among its contemporaries and has a lot to offer overall.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.