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The All-New 2022 Kia Carnival Review

Stephen Rivers

For 2022, Kia has decided to up end the entire minivan segment with a fun, funky, and highly functional MPV called the Carnival.

Kia is Changing the Game

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

2022 Kia Carnival – kiamedia.com |  Shop 2022 Kia Carnival on Carsforsale.com

Kia seems to be on a mission to disrupt the entire automotive landscape and the 2022 Kia Carnival is just the latest in warning shots aimed at big established names in the business. Gone is the Sedona of previous years in lieu of a totally redesigned vehicle that can shuttle passengers in more comfort and style than was ever possible in a Kia van before now. We’ve seen other manufacturers try and fail to make their minivan offerings look like larger SUVs (we’re looking at you Chevrolet Uplander) so it’s interesting to see Kia take such a big step in the right direction design-wise. What’s perhaps most surprising is that inside of this cavernous Kia it only gets better.

Specs of the 2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Carnival V6 - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Carnival V6 - kiamedia.com

The Carnival follows in the footsteps of the Stinger, the K5, and the Telluride when it comes to punching way above its weight class. Starting at $32,100, the Carnival is just a hair more pricey than its Honda Odyssey rival and considerably less than the Chrysler Pacifica or Toyota Sienna. Of course, when opting for the most opulent version, the SX Prestige, you’ll be paying fairly close to $50,000. Perhaps the most average part of the Carnival is its pedestrian fuel economy rating of 22 mpg combined. Still, for some drivers, it makes up for the dip in economy by being the most powerful minivan available in 2022 rated at 290 horsepower. All of that power is sent to the front wheel via an 8-speed automatic and is the only powertrain available in the Carnival. Unlike the Sienna and the Pacifica, no all-wheel-drive option is available. Despite that lack of available power to the rear wheels, we were impressed with how the Carnival makes its way from town to town.

Driving Characteristics of the 2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

Drive each of the major minivans back to back with all of the interior bits covered and you’d easily be able to pick out two of them. First, the Sienna stands out because it’s comically slow. Second, the Carnival stands out because it’s not. While it might only be a few ponies up on power over the Odyssey and Pacifica, it feels considerably quicker. Kia has done a great job of making the power come on early and hang out until redline. Still, most buyers won’t be racing around (though there is a sport mode in this minivan).

Drivers will love the car-like handling of this large barge though. It’s easy to maneuver and provides excellent visibility too. Braking and steering feedback is nothing to write home about. They’re adequate and didn’t surprise us with any negative feedback either. Ride quality is pretty relaxed, but again, doesn’t truly stand out as any better or worse than the competition. The Kia Carnival feels like a young active family vehicle. As though it’s built for the family that wants to go do things and prefers to get there quickly and athletically.

2022 Kia Carnival Interior Comfort

If you’ve read our review on the Telluride, you might be familiar with the outstanding interior found in the Carnival, but let us go over some of the highlights only found in the larger people mover. The seating is very comfort-focused with little bolstering or firm padding. Still, these seats are supportive and attractive. The rear seats are really impressive though. Opt for the VIP Lounge seats and you’ll get chairs that look like they came out of a business jet. They’re fully reclinable, they slide left and right as well as back and forth, and even have a power-operated footrest. Did we mention that they’re heated and cooled? There’s even a fully operational sunroof for second-row passengers to enjoy. The third row isn’t particularly well-appointed, but it’s comfortable and can easily be accessed either through the middle of the second-row captain’s chairs or from either side.

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Trims & Features of the 2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

Kia has built the Carnival in 5 different trim levels. In order of expense they’re listed as the LX, LX Seat Package, EX, SX, and SX Prestige. We’re impressed throughout the lineup at the value for money. Base Carnivals still get great features like auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, an 8-inch infotainment system, and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A larger 12.3-inch display is also available as is a truly remarkable second-row infotainment system. Both second-row passengers get their own tablet-style display with Netflix and Youtube already integrated.

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

Kia doesn’t stop there though. There’s a button in the second row for passengers to use voice commands instead of leaving that solely up to the driver. Drivers can of course get a full view both inside and out of the Kia Carnival from their seat with ease thanks to Passenger View which shows the entire cabin on the infotainment screen as well as a 360-degree top-down view of the vehicle when parking that allows drivers to zoom in or out for a better view. One feature we really love is the exceptional blind spot cameras that in our experience are far better than the actual mirrors themselves. These come on every time you activate your turn signal and show up in the gauge cluster with a live view of your blind spot.

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com
2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

We’re also impressed by the exceptional cargo space in the back of the Kia Carnival as well. Even with the third row in place, the back has tons of space for things. Fold the seats flat and there’s more than enough room to carry multiple bags for a family of four plus some.

Final Conclusions for the 2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Carnival - kiamedia.com

2022 Kia Carnival – kiamedia.com |  Shop 2022 Kia Carnival on Carsforsale.com

The 2022 Kia Carnival is as good as any other minivan in the segment if not better. The one soft spot in its armor is fuel efficiency where the Sienna dominates the entire segment. So long as you’re not focused solely on that aspect of ownership, the Kia is going to be a better buy. It’s capable of matching or beating any other van in terms of comfort, safety, power, technology, and even price. Stack on top of that the industry’s best warranty and it’s easy to see why it’ll be fun to own a Kia Carnival.

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Stephen Rivers
Stephen Rivers

Stephen is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion. In his free time, he’s usually at a hockey rink, walking his dogs, or on a road bike. His automotive tastes lean towards cars that oftentimes seem to take a pound of flesh for the ethereal pleasure they provide: things like the Lamborghini Diablo, TVR Cerbera, and a C4 Corvette turned into a street-legal go-kart. He drives his Bugeye Subaru WRX in Autocross, Rallycross, and track day competitions throughout the year and daily drives a twin-turbo BMW 535i.

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