There’s a new three-row vehicle in town, and the 2022 Kia Carnival promises to be more stylish and more flexible than the Sedona it replaces. First to bear the automaker’s new Kia logo, packing a new V6 engine, and a more distinctive design, the 2022 Carnival also claims the biggest passenger and cargo capacity in its class.
Outside, there’s the latest interpretation of Kia’s “tiger nose” grille, with LED headlamps as standard. Kia has beefed out the hood lines and wheel arches, and there’s a body-streaking cutline that runs the length of the minivan.
Two-tone mirrors and black/chrome rocker panel moldings are standard, while 17- and 19-inch wheels – with gloss-black options – are available. The sliding side doors are power-operated as standard, and remotely controlled from the keyfob, while a power liftgate is available on higher trims.
Inside, there’s 168.2 cubic feet of passenger space, or alternatively up to 145.1 cu-ft of cargo space behind the first row on most of the trims. Kia will offer the Carnival in 7- and 8-passenger configurations; the latter gets Slide-Flex seating, with a sliding second row center seat that can voicer into a table.
The 2022 Carnival 7-passenger versions, meanwhile, can be had with heated and ventilated second-row VIP Lounge Seating. They get power controls, wing-out headsets, and leg extensions. In the LX, EX, and SX trims – though not the flagship SX-Prestige – the second-row seats are removable, and all have third-row seats that fold into the floor.
Kia has packed in the technology, too. There’s an upgraded Smart Key on the EX and above, which has one-button open/close support for the doors and liftgate. EX and above trims also get a Rear Occupant Alert system with ultrasonic sensors to remind you if there’s a child left in the car. The Rear Passenger View Camera is standard on EX and above, beaming a view of the rear to the driver’s display, with zoom and night vision, along with a cabin intercom system.
For the driver, there’s an 8-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, wireless phone charging, and multi-Bluetooth support. A 3-inch navigation display and 3-inch digital cluster are also standard. Up to nine USB ports – spread across the three rows – and two 110V outlets can be had, and EX and above trims get a roof-mounted button to trigger the infotainment voice control. SX and SX-Prestige models get dual rear screen entertainment monitors, with wireless screen mirroring for Apple and Android devices.
Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 gas engine, good for 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It’s sufficient for 3,500 pounds of towing capacity, Kia says. No sign of a hybrid or any electrification at all, despite Kia’s previous vocal commitment to the tech. That’s a disappointment, as is the absence of an AWD Carnival: right now it’s front-wheel drive only.
The Carnival uses the same N3 platform as Kia’s Sorento and K5, with the promise of better fuel economy than the old Sedona, as well as a cut in wind and road noise. Standard safety tech includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Parking Distance Warning-Reverse, and Lane Keeping Assist System with Lane Following Assist. Options include the Blind-Spot View Monitor, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist-Cyclist, and a 360-degree camera.
You can also add Kia’s Highway Driving Assist and navigation-based Smart Cruise Control-Curve. That can automatically reduce speed for upcoming corners on the highway, as well as automatically adjust speed depending on the current limit. Parking Collision Avoidance Assist promises to help avoid low-speed dings or collisions with pedestrians.
Kia says the 2022 Carnival will go on sale in Q2 2021. Pricing will be confirmed closer to its arrival in US dealerships.