The 2022 Carnival replaces the aging Sedona in Kia’s lineup and its boxy SUV-like styling is no accident, as the Korean automaker aims to capitalize on the success of its critically-acclaimed and hot-selling Telluride SUV. The Carnival is all-new for 2022, with updated styling, features, and technology to help it better compete with the likes of the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and newly redesigned Toyota Sienna minivans. Large wheels, crossover-like proportions, and signature daytime running lights that flow into the grille give the van an upscale-SUV vibe that reminds us of a Range Rover. All Carnival models are powered by a 290-hp 3.5-liter V-6 engine with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A host of driver-assistance features are offered as standard including automated emergency braking. Infotainment tech gets an upgrade as well with an optional dual-display setup with digital gauges and a navigation-equipped center touchscreen.
Before your passengers exit, standard Safe Exit Assist can scan for oncoming hazards, sounding an alert and even stopping the sliding doors to help avoid danger. Rear Occupant Alert with Ultrasonic Sensors can sound an alert if the rear seat is occupied when exiting the vehicle, or send a notification to your compatible device if the vehicle senses movement inside while you’re away. Standard Forward Collision Avoidance Assist with Pedestrian Detection uses sensors and cameras to scan the road ahead for hazards, alerting the driver and even applying the brakes to help prevent a collision. Available Forward Collision Avoidance Assist w/ Junction Turning Assist and Cyclist Detection can help when turning through an intersection or sharing the road with cyclists. Standard Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist, Reverse (PCA-R) uses the rear view camera and ultrasonic sensors to recognize nearby obstacles. If a collision is anticipated, the system triggers warnings and can engage the brakes to prevent collision.
The 2022 Carnival is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 churning out a healthy 290 hp; an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive, unfortunately, is not on the menu, as the Carnival will be offered only as a front-wheel-drive model. The Pacifica has an optional plug-in-hybrid powertrain and the new-for-2021 Sienna comes only as a hybrid, at least not right away. Kia says the Carnival can tow up to 3500 pounds. It delivered a smooth ride when cruising and felt composed in corners. Fuel-economy ratings from the EPA for the 2022 Carnival are 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, which are slightly better than the 2021 Sedona’s numbers. We haven’t had a chance to subject the 2022 Carnival to our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test to see how it stacks up against the Pacifica, Odyssey, and Sienna, but when we do we’ll update this story with its results.
The Carnival’s dashboard and front-seat area are both more modern and accommodating than the outgoing Sedona’s. A large center console and an optional Mercedes-style dual-screen infotainment system with a digital gauge display are notable design changes. The upscale SX-Prestige trim comes with leather upholstery and reclining second-row seats with pop-up footrests. A panoramic sunroof is optional and provides a large opening over the second row so the kids can get some fresh air. Kia says that interior spaciousness has been improved on the new Carnival; both the van’s wheelbase and overall length have been stretched to provide more room for people and cargo. The 2nd row middle seat slides forward to give easy access to the front row passenger. It can also fold into a table for use in the 2nd and 3rd rows. Available on Carnival MPV LX Seat Package, EX, and SX. The 2nd row seats feature a one-touch relaxation mode that offers a full recline, raised power footrests, comfy headrests, heating and ventilation, and cozy genuine leather seat trim. Available on Carnival MPV SX Prestige only.
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