Friday, 19 April 2024

2022 Kia Carnival: 5 Things to Know Featured

Posted On Sunday, 06 February 2022 17:27 Written by
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The brand-new 2022 Kia Carnival is an impressive minivan that will change the minds of many who typically avoid this type of vehicle. The brand-new 2022 Kia Carnival is an impressive minivan that will change the minds of many who typically avoid this type of vehicle. Photo courtesy of Kia

There’s been a ton of buzz about the Kia Carnival since it hit the market, with many — including myself — considering it the best minivan available, surpassing such heavyweights as the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica.

But what’s all the fuss about?

I’ll break it down with 5 key facts you need to know about this headline-stealing new vehicle, which is a major upgrade from the previous Sedona minivan offered by Kia.

It doesn’t look like a minivan

For whatever reason, minivans have been given a stigma by some people. They’re looked at as a “soccer mom” ride, so people often skip over them completely and go to the bevy of SUV options available.

Whether that reputation is fair or not, I can tell you one thing: The Carnival doesn’t look like a minivan at all … and that’s on purpose. It was designed with SUV aesthetics, and outside of the sliding doors on the side, there is little to mark it as a minivan.

So for all potential buyers hesitant to buy a minivan due to stereotypes, they can kiss those worries goodbye with the Carnival. No one will know it’s a minivan until you tell them.

The panoramic sunroof is a strong feature, and the rear seats that fold down into the vehicle allow you to maximize space for cargo. So it works on both ends of the spectrum: You can transport 7 or 8 people with all seats up , or adjust vehicle setup to achieve 145.1 cubic feet of space (with third row down and second row seats removed).

It’s a great road trip vehicle

I’m not going to tell you that the Kia Carnival is going to win any drag races, but it’s powerplant is not disappointing, delivering a total of 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque from its 3.5-liter, V6 motor. These numbers are tops in the minivan segment.

I had no issues with acceleration and overtaking in the Carnival, which did the job well both on the highway and regular roads. Sport mode can also be chosen to enhance the driving experience, while Eco mode can be chosen to maximize fuel mileage.

Towing capacity is in line with the class at 3,500 pounds, so don’t go too crazy with the hauling.

The word I constantly find myself using to describe the Carnival is comfort. Not only are the materials used plush and welcoming (including optional leather seating), but the ride itself is very smooth and comfortable. 

I see the Carnival being an excellent road-trip vehicle, as not only will you have plenty of room for all your stuff, but the journey will be quite pleasant even with a packed vehicle — both when riding on the highway and also on more curvy roads due to the impressive handling and responsiveness of the Carnival. Not to mention that little to no road noise will penetrate the road, creating your own little bubble no matter how long your journey.

Pricing is reasonable 
With a base price of just over $32K, the 2022 Kia Carnival has the lowest starting price of any of the leading minivans, making it affordable for those on a budget — Especially when the industry-leading 10-year/100,000 powertrain warranty is considered.

Of course, if you load up the top trim level with all the goodies, like the SX Prestige model I tested, the price tag grows to nearly $48,000. So there’s an option to splurge if you want the highest-end experience. And this is a rare vehicle where the cost of the highest trim levels is actually justified. 

Technology innovates

Today’s vehicles have essentially become computers on wheels, so many car buyers demand a top-notch technology experience in their vehicle in order to even consider a purchase.

Kia has taken that to heart, and delivered a truly modern experience for those who choose the Carnival, one that rivals any alternative minivan or SUV you may be considering.

Let’s start with the center touchscreen, which is the heart of the system. At 12.3 inches, this is a massive screen — one of the biggest you’ll find anywhere — and it houses a tremendous amount of information and controls. In addition, the large size is especially helpful when the screen is being used to showcase the rear camera’s view. (Note: Some versions of the Carnival have a smaller, but still substantial, 8-inch screen.)

Beyond being intuitive to touch controls, it’s also very responsive to voice commands. This holds true whether you’re commanding the Navigation system where to go, inputting a POI destination along your route, changing audio source, or making phone calls. In theory, you can mostly avoid the touch controls if you’d like to let your voice do the work.

Other tech highlights include standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an optional rear-seat entertainment system (where different movies can be shown on each screen). For audio lovers, the top trim level also offers an upgraded 12-speaker Bose sound system.

Then there’s the novelty of the interior monitoring system. Yes, parents in the front row can hit a button and see what’ s happening in the rear rows without turning their heads, then use an internal intercom system to tell the kids to behave while still keeping their eyes on the road.

Your safety is a focus

A family-focused ride has to deliver big on safety, and the 2022 Kia Carnival comes through in this regard.

The safety efforts are highlighted by Kia’s DriveWise Driver Assist Technology, which includes several effect safety features, including:
— Forward Collision Avoidance
— Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist
— Rear-Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance
— Safe Exit Assist (alerting you of oncoming traffic before you open your door)
— Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Following Assist
— Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go
— Parking Collision Avoidance Assist and Reverse

In addition, you get a full setup of air bags throughout the vehicle, and a LATCH system for child seats.

The rearview camera features dynamic guidelines to help your exit in tight situations, and a “Driver Attention Warning” pops up if the vehicle senses you are not paying attention.

Other cool touches include the Rear Occupant Alert (ensuring that no one is forgotten in the vehicle), and Leading Vehicle Departure Alert (which lets you know to get moving if you were distracted and didn’t see the road ahead was now clear. 

Add all this up and all your safety bases are pretty much covered.

=== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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