After the Optima, the Sedona is another Kia staple nameplate to bite the dust. But the good news is that, just like the K5 replaced the Optima, the Carnival moniker will now replace the Sedona. Unveiled Tuesday, afternoon, the 2022 Kia Carnival takes over from the Sedona which was long overdue for an overhaul.
On paper at least, it would seem Kia has leapfrogged its competition in terms of interior comfort–but we will pass judgment once we drive it–despite adamantly denying to call their new minivan, a minivan. Though technically, Kia isn’t wrong in calling the new Carnival an MPV or multi-purpose vehicle, calling it a minivan won’t make it any less cool. When it arrives on North American shores by Spring 2021, it will sport a starting price of $33,275 (including destination) for the base LX trim and will go all the way up to $47,275 for the fully loaded SX Prestige trim. EX and SX will bring up the middle order and start from $38,775 and $42,275 respectively.
For the Canadian market, the trim lineup is a little different. While the LX remains the base trim priced from $34,495 CAD, the SX will be the top trim and will start from $48,925 CAD. Other trims in between will be LX+ ($37,995 CAD), EX ($41,995 CAD) and EX+ ($45,295 CAD).
The new N3 platform underpins the Carnival and it will be available with a solitary powertrain in this part of the world. A 3.5-liter V6 will make 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of peak torque. An eight-speed automatic will drive the front wheels. Yep, there will be no AWD, so the competition can have a few points over the Korean hauler.
Styling-wise it is easily the most striking looking minivan we might have seen in recent years. There is a fair amount of 2021 Sorento in the design, especially in the LED headlamps and the way the C-pillar divides the front and rear of the Korean people hauler. While bold (that grille), the design doesn’t seem overdone. The 2022 Carnival will also be the first Kia in North America to sport the brand’s new logo.
Inside, the minivan (yes, we’re calling it that) will be available with seven- or eight-seater variants. The eight-seater configuration will come with a slidable middle seat in the rear bench and it will be foldable into a table as well. Available only with the SX Prestige will be a set of heated and cooled VIP lounge-style captain chairs with reclining seatbacks and leg extensions to help you relax on long journeys. This people hauler will also come with a stow-away third row just like the one in the Chrysler Pacifica to make the most use of the space when the third row isn’t occupied.
The cabin will be available in three distinct colors and leather on the top trims to give the Carnival a luxury boost. An 8.0-inch touchscreen will be standard and come with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard. Top trims will come with twin 12.3-inch screens, one for the all-digital instrument cluster and the other for the touchscreen infotainment system. Unlike the previous Kia cars, the 12.3-inch UVO fully customizable infotainment system will now get wireless CarPlay and Android Auto as well.
As for safety, Kia will offer a host of driver assistance systems as standard. For starters, forward collision warning along with parking sensors, lane-keeping assist and blind-spot with rear cross-traffic alert, will all be standard. Kia’s Drive Wise Suite will also be available with the Carnival. It includes adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera and Kia’s Highway Driving Assist, the latter of which combines adaptive cruise control with lane-keep assist for a stress-free highway driving experience.
So far, the lack of AWD and a hybrid powertrain seem to be the only major missing aspects of the new Carnival package. Having said that, it offers what appears to be a seriously impressive amount of convenience and comfort features at a very competitive price. While the competition might have those powertrain advantages, when it comes to the in-cabin experience, the Carnival could have them all beat when it arrives in Spring 2021.
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