2022 Kia Carnival

2022 Kia Carnival, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car


2022 Kia Carnival Yearlong Review Arrival: Converting the Skeptical?

Can this mid-grade EX version with conventional rear seats that all fold or come out win over our resident minivan savant?

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kia carnival Full Overview

Minivans are a little like brown, diesel, stick-shift station wagons: No matter how much praise we auto-scribblers heap on them, Americans shun them a little more each year. Don’t believe me? Minivan market share fell to just 2.2 percent last year.

That just so happens to be the very same year Kia boldly rebooted its emasculation box, giving it a butch, SUV-ish nose and ash-canning its hopelessly minivan-tainted Sedona name in favor of the more fun-loving Carnival moniker. The 2022 Kia Carnival promptly won a comparison test, whereupon I nearly lost my merde.

“This thing is not even a minivan!” I fumed after just 10 minutes in a top-shelf Carnival SX with the Prestige package. This kkangpae limo variant welds a pair of dentist’s chairs where the middle row should be. These heated, cooled, reclining thrones with footrests and video monitors offer limited accommodation for admitting passengers to the third row or carrying bulky cargo.

The backrests don’t even fold flat, and the seats can’t be removed without special tools and possibly a crane. Having spent the formative years of my automotive engineering career packaging Chrysler minivan interiors with Stow ‘n Go seating, these Carnival seats represented an unforgivable affront to minivannery.

That Carnival SX with Prestige package wowed our judges primarily on value and comfort. We described its interior as feeling “more Mercedes than minivan” despite being the least expensive van in the test (by $1,620). This helped us excuse its lesser amount of clever storage solutions relative to the other vans, and the difficulty adults may have squeezing into the third row between the middle-row seats.

Similarly, Kia prioritized ride comfort over handling dynamics, so the Carnival’s body motion control lagged that of the others, but this too was deemed a reasonable compromise for the class.

My colleagues would not be talked out of that comparo win, and perhaps to punish me for raising such a ruckus over it (or in the hope of winning me over to their way of thinking about the Carnival’s other charms and attributes), I’ve been assigned to chaperone a more family-friendly mid-level Carnival EX for a yearlong test.

This version features eight-passenger seating that includes a middle row with three individually removable seats. The outer ones fold and slide to provide third-row access, and the middle one can slide forward to bring a child seat closer to the parental front row. It’s a lot less Mercedes inside, but its value proposition is even stronger, and at least there’s no denying this is a real minivan.

2022 Kia Carnival EX 26

We’ve already taken our new Kia to the track and determined it performs within a percent or two of every other Carnival we’ve tested, which is to say within about 4 percent of our five-year minivan average. If there’s one noteworthy stat, it’s the 60-0-mph braking, which, at 129 feet, ranks 11 feet longer than we’ve measured on the heavier SX Prestige models and about 5 feet worse than average.

That’s almost certainly attributable to its Goodyear Assurance Finesse tires, which apparently have a less aggressive tread compound than the SX’s identically sized (235/55R19) Continental CrossContact RX tires.

Our Carnival EX base price of $39,055 is $5,500 more than an LX, $3,500 less than an SX with minivan seats, and $8,500 less than the full-boat Barcalounger model. The only factory options are six paint colors and two interior tones, from which we chose Astral Blue paint ($495) and two-tone light and dark gray faux leather.

Port-installed options include carpeted floormats ($200), a cargo tray ($115), and a rear bumper appliqué ($75), bringing our total to $39,940.

Will MT‘s new Carnival EX win over this minivan-savant-skeptic? We’re hard at work answering that question even as these words are typed, from the passenger seat during a transcontinental road trip between our SoCal HQ and our Michigan office. Look for the details and findings from that adventure to appear in our next update.

Looks good! More details?

2022 Kia Carnival (EX) Specifications
BASE PRICE $39,055
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, FWD, 8-pass, 4-door van
ENGINE 3.5L direct-injected DOHC 24-valve 60-degree V-6
POWER (SAE NET) 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm
TORQUE (SAE NET) 262 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,609 lb (56/44%)
WHEELBASE 121.7 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 203.0 x 78.5 x 68.5 in
0-60 MPH 7.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.8 sec @ 90.4 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 129 ft
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.4 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA RANGE, COMB 418 miles

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