2021 Kia Sedona teases SUV style with minivan practicality

The next-generation 2021 Kia Sedona has been teased, and if you've been complaining about having to drive a minivan this new look could bring you back onboard. In quite the departure from the current Sedona, this new model – known as the Kia Carnival in South Korea – borrows hints of SUV to leave it looking more purposeful.

It's fair to say that minivans haven't exactly got the most upbeat reputation these days. Although practical, typically offering 7 or 8 seat configurations along with plenty of family-friendly cargo areas, boxes, and bins, that prioritization of function over form can leave them looking, well, drearily van-like.

That's one reason SUVs have been stealing minivan market share, as the idea of an off-road lifestyle – even if the actual lifestyle doesn't quite live up to the concept – is more palatable. Kia's answer with the new fourth-generation Sedona is to push back with some SUV-inspired design, without necessarily sacrificing what makes a minivan so useful.

So, this new "Grand Utility Vehicle" is more stylized and definitely more memorable. We only have one design sketch to go on for the moment, but it shows how Kia's grille-of-the-moment looks on the front of the 2021 Sedona. The automaker calls that its "tiger-nose," and it's flanked with new, angular headlamps.

Unsurprisingly, there's plenty of design-speak woven around it. "Kia's designers call this 'symphonic architecture'," the automaker waxes, "with the design of the front bringing together a range of detailed, technical features which create a sense of harmony and structural energy."

We'd rather focus more on the fetching way that the lights extend down the side of the Sedona, a sharp character line that promises to join up with the rear lamp clusters. There's also a chrome fin for a little extra sparkle.

It's not to say practicality has been given up, mind. Sliding rear doors look to be carried over, always helpful for navigating families and pets in and out while in crowded parking lots. The big wheels may look good in concept images, but the roof rails are going to be more useful for day-to-day living.

As for what's underneath all this new style, Kia is tight-lipped. We'd not be surprised to see similar running-gear to that of the Kia Telluride, though, and that would be no bad thing. The SUV offers front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, along with a 3.8-liter V6 gas engine; we'd love to see a hybrid option, to more directly take on rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Toyota Sienna Hybrid, but we'll have to wait and see if that's on the cards.