2022 Kia Carnival first drive evaluation: An opulent minivan with SUV fashion

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

Spacious and versatile, approachable and secure — the minivan is a marvel of suburban utility. The issue is that most individuals do not really need to be seen driving one, so many patrons skew towards cooler-looking SUVs. To fight this, the main gamers within the class have pushed minivan design in a course that is maybe finest described as “sci-fi bullet practice” with combined outcomes.

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

Kia’s resolution to the issue of uncool notion is to decorate its new 2022 Carnival “multipurpose automobile” in SUV cosplay. The result’s a minivan that boasts all the benefits and facilities of its classmates, whereas standing aesthetically aside with sport utility fashion.

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

The Carnival wears an upright, boxy design with a entrance finish formed extra like Kia’s Telluride than the Sedona it replaces. Particulars just like the L-shaped, chrome C-pillars break up the minivan’s profile and, together with the sculpted wheel arches and darkish decrease sills, assist pull the attention upward to create the looks of a taller, extra rugged trip. At first look, the Carnival appears nearly precisely like a full-size SUV from most angles, however you then discover the reversed handles and tracks for the sliding doorways and, abruptly, the minivan-ness of the silhouette turns into obvious.

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

The Carnival is the primary Kia to put on what I’ve taken to calling the model’s new “Ok-backwards-N” brand.

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

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VIP seating

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

The Carnival’s energy sliding doorways open to disclose a spacious inside that is accessible in seven- or eight-passenger configurations. The usual eight-seat setup encompasses a 40/20/40-split second-row bench with a middle part that may fold over to create a table-like armrest for the outboard seats. The bench also can slide far sufficient ahead permitting entrance seat passengers to simply attain a automobile seat. The second row can be fully eliminated when it is advisable entry the Carnival’s most 145.1 cubic ft of cargo capability.

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Evaluation: An Opulent Minivan With SUV Fashion

Improve from the bottom LX to an EX or SX mannequin and the material upholstery is changed with synthetic leather-based. Step as much as the highest spec SX Status for actual leather-based trim and a pair of power-adjustable VIP seats instead of the second-row bench. These luxurious buckets robotically recline or return upright on the contact of a button, they usually function heated and cooled surfaces and might even deploy footrests for max rest. The Status setup elevates the Carnival from a properly appointed household hauler to a reasonably luxurious shuttle with extra passenger area, extra cargo capability and simpler entry than a taller SUV can supply. With the third row folded flat, I can slide the VIP seats far sufficient again for a full recline and leg extension, even with the entrance seats in a snug driving place. Attempt doing that in an Escalade.

Kia’s minivan is not the one one to supply reclining captain’s chairs, however these are a contact extra luxe than most.

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The seven-seat SX Status is not with out its compromises, nonetheless. The nonremovable VIP seats imply this trim maxes out at 86.9 cubes of cargo capability behind the second row, and attending to the third row is extra of a squeeze.

Talking of that normal third row, there’s loads of legroom again there for 2 average-size adults, and sufficient shoulder area for 3 youngsters. Pulling a strap rapidly folds the 60/40 cut up bench flat into the Carnival’s flooring and a single pull lifts it again up, leaving a still-impressive 40.2 cubic ft for cargo.

On the choices listing, you may discover Kia’s good energy tailgate, which robotically opens the hatch whenever you method the rear of the automobile with the important thing in your pocket. I often discover this function extraordinarily annoying, however Kia should have improved its detection logic from earlier purposes. I skilled nearly no false-positive unintentional openings throughout my testing, and the tailgate now robotically closes whenever you stroll away, making loading groceries or different cargo a very hands-free course of.

Backseat tech

The Carnival might be outfitted with a dual-screen rear seat leisure setup. Every options USB and HDMI inputs that may be shared with the opposite show. Every can hook up with a telephone or Wi-Fi hotspot to energy apps like Netflix or mirror a smartphone’s show. There’s additionally a colourful Child Mode interface that serves up child-friendly content material. Bluetooth connectivity permits customers to hear utilizing nearly any headphones they already personal, relatively than counting on low-quality pack-ins.

The Passenger Digital camera and Passenger Speak options assist the driving force to observe and talk with occupants within the second and third rows.

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An non-compulsory wide-angle Passenger Digital camera on the Carnival’s ceiling shows a hen’s-eye view of second and third rows on the multimedia display screen, full with night time imaginative and prescient. This improve works nicely in tandem with the Passenger Speak function that amplifies the driving force’s voice over the Carnival’s audio system, so they do not should shout to talk to of us within the third row. 

When geared up with the non-compulsory Passenger Voice Recognition tech, second-row passengers also can situation instructions to the dashboard UVO system. That is useful for getting vacation spot recommendations from adults within the VIP seats, however can be defeatable when it is advisable preserve a van full of kids from requesting Child Shark for the fifty-leventh time.

Entrance seat tech

Up entrance, Kia’s latest-generation UVO infotainment lives within the dashboard. An Eight-inch show is normal, however EX, SX and SX Status fashions all improve to a 12.Three-inch show. Both method, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are additionally normal with USB — however not wi-fi — connectivity. UVO packs its intuitive interface with distinctive options like voice memo recording, Sounds of Nature (like calm waves, a forest or bustling cafe) and a quiet mode that limits media quantity and disables the rear audio system — helpful for when youngsters are dozing within the again.

The customizable star shortcut button on the dashboard — a small function that you will discover on Kia’s different UVO programs — is joined by a second customizable button on the steering wheel, permitting drivers to map options just like the Passenger Digital camera or Passenger Speak to a single press.

There are as much as 9 USB ports (seven are normal) for charging cell gadgets unfold throughout the Carnival’s three rows.

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LX, EX and SX trims all function conventional bodily gauges and a small four.Three-inch data show. The SX Status upgrades to a 12.Three-inch totally digital instrument cluster with 4 user-selectable themes, together with a dynamic setting that modifications together with the time of day. The digital cluster additionally integrates Kia’s Blind Spot View function, displaying a digital camera feed of the adjoining lane when the corresponding flip sign is activated. 

DriveWise security suite

Kia’s DriveWise superior driver-assistance system suite is normal on all Carnival fashions. That will get you entrance, rear and lane-change collision detection, ahead automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring and a rear digital camera. DriveWise additionally rolls in driver consideration monitoring and a sonar-based rear occupant alert that forestalls by chance leaving a toddler or pet within the parked automobile.

The EX trim provides park distance warnings, enhanced collision avoidance that may additionally detect cyclists and Freeway Driving Assistant, Kia’s umbrella know-how that rolls in navigation-based adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go visitors and enhanced lane-keeping steering help. Upgrading to SX brings a encompass view digital camera system on-line. Lastly, the full-fat SX Status completes the protection suite with the aforementioned blind-spot digital camera tech.

2022 Kia Carnival SX Status is an SUV-styled MPV for VIPs

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Efficiency and effectivity

The one powertrain supplied within the 2022 Carnival is a Three.5-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed automated transmission and front-wheel drive. Regardless of wanting like an SUV, all-wheel drive is just not an possibility. On the intense aspect, 290 horsepower imbues the Carny with fairly good hustle for a minivan, and the 262 pound-feet of torque is sufficient twist to tow as much as a Three,500-pound trailer.

Dealing with is tender, however snug. The Carnival is not essentially the most swish dancer on a twisty highway, however the minivan manages to remain off of its personal toes nicely sufficient that it feels secure. The steering is responsive, however physique roll and understeer are noticeable at pace. That is, in fact, wonderful. Regardless of Toyota’s advertising for the brand new Sienna, I do not suppose that anybody purchasing for a minivan is searching for “sport-tuned dealing with.” Extra importantly, the Carnival does an important job absorbing bumps with poise and speaking its limits to the driving force nicely and early sufficient to remain out of bother.

The EPA estimates 19 miles per gallon metropolis, 26 mpg freeway or 22 mpg mixed from the 2022 Carnival. That is on par with different front-drive, V6-powered minivans on this class. The varied drive modes — Regular, Eco, Sensible and Sport — may have some impact on the Kia’s efficiency and effectivity steadiness, however over the course of three days, testing each the SX and SX Status trim ranges in quite a lot of conditions, my common of 21.7 mpg was nearly spot-on with these estimates.

Kia’s betting that the Carnival will discover a dwelling within the grey space between minivans and SUVs.

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Pricing and competitors

The 2022 Kia Carnival begins at $33,275 (together with its $1,175 vacation spot cost) for the bottom LX mannequin and tops out at $47,275 for the totally loaded SX Status. Add $200 for flooring mats and $495 for the premium Astra Blue paint to achieve an as-tested worth of $47,970. I solely ever need to be picked up from the airport in a Carny with VIP seating any more, however for households trying to maximize area for individuals and cargo, the candy spot is the eight-passenger SX mannequin beginning at $42,275.

The Carnival is priced and appointed competitively in opposition to the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Nonetheless, Chrysler and Toyota supply all-wheel drive, hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations that increase the value ceiling but in addition convey important efficiency and gas financial system benefits. Additionally contemplate that the Carnival’s sport-utility fashion has the potential to tempt a number of households on the fence away from a brand new SUV buy, so one may make the case for it being an oblique competitor to one thing like Kia’s personal Telluride as nicely.

Kia can name it an MPV and elegance it like an SUV, however what issues is that the Carnival is a rattling good minivan. Kia’s designers have pulled off this stylistic double-take with aplomb. With the 2022 Carnival arriving in dealerships now, the automaker can solely hope that consumers suppose it is as cool as I do.

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