Analysts have been predicting the demise of the minivan segment for more than 20 years and they certainly have a point.
The 2020 Census released data recently noting the birthrate across the United States has and is dropping and minivans are all about children and have been ever since Lee Iacocca’s Chrysler Corp. put the first one on the road back in the 1980s.
Indeed, many of the so-called millennials, who increasingly seem to be running things, took their first ride in a minivan, which suggest one of the reasons that manufacturers such a Chrysler’s successor, Stellantis, as well as Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia, think there are still sales in this segment despite the Census Bureau data.
The 2022 Kia Carnival demonstrates the segment is still alive. For starters, the Carnival offers seats for seven or eight, depending on the configuration, in a comfortable environment. It also is equipped with an impressive array of convenience items and technology, including up-to-date safety features.
The exterior design of the 2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige features a familiar silhouette since it follows a well-worn path used for the shape of a couple of generations of minivans and midsized utility vehicles from all kinds of manufacturers.
Part of the kit of any minivan are sliding doors and the doors are on both the driver and passenger side and make it easier for passengers, especially younger passengers, is to get in and out of the vehicle and into vehicles three rows of seats. The sliding doors can be opened and closed by key fob, but the doors can seem difficult to open or close.
The one thing Kia did do is equip the Carnival with an attractive front, including an intricate, piano black grille and nicely proportioned fascia to convey the vehicle’s identity and the vehicle’s LED headlights. A sunroof with a tilted and sliding opening also was included on the vehicle I drove.
The interior of the new Carnival is comfortable and nicely furnished with an array of materials and textures that include leather and bright work accents around the shift lever and center stack. The vehicle’s three rows of seats comfortably seat seven or eight, depending on the setup, with more room than you would find in a standard midsized sport-utility vehicle and as well as room for packages, or luggage or sports equipment.
The Carnival also comes with bright, well-designed instrument cluster, which is easy to use, a touchscreen for entertainment and navigation in the center stack as well as storage for items such as smart phones and a leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for the entertainment system and cruise control.
The design of the interior also facilitates the visibility from the driver’s seat by flattening the top of the dashboard, stretching behind the firewall separating the engine compartment from the passenger compartment, creating space for large windshield that offers an expansive view of the road ahead.
The 2022 Kia Carnival SX is equipped with a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine with direct injection. The engine is matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission and an electronic parking brake. The combination delivers 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the Carnival has a combined fuel economy rating of 22 miles per gallon, including 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
The Carnival I drove for a week was equipped dual front advanced airbag, dual front seat-mounted side and full-length curtain airbags. It also is equipped with front collision avoidance, blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, smart cruise control with stop and go and parking assistance.
It also has surround view camera, wireless charger, Sirius XM radio, Bose Premium Auto sound system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and a 12.3-inch touchscreen with MapCare, Bluetooth and 12.3-inch LCD digital instrument cluster and LED projector headlights and fog lamps and a heated steering wheel.
Driving the 2022 Carnival SX Prestige created a variety of impressions. It provided ample power, but the transmission seemed slow delivering it. The steering seems a bit slow in reacting to the movement of wheel. The electric power assist on the steering column was not a luxury but a necessity.
The vehicle dynamics on the Carnival, while good overall on different surfaces including a dry gravel surfaced road, slipped in tight curves as the van tended to lean on sharp curves. Despite the shortcoming the Carnival is perfectly capable of deliver a solid performance in everyday driving and had plenty of power for commuting.
2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige specifications:
|Dimension||L: 203 inches/W: 89.2 inches/H: 69.9 inches/Wheelbase: 121.7 inches|
|Powertrain||3.5-liter 6-cylinder engine; 8-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $32,100; As tested: $47,770 including $1,175 handling and delivery fee|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
For all the criticism directed their way, minivans are eminently practical family vehicles because of their seating capacity and low step-in height, which makes the easier to enter even for adults. The one drawback on minivans on the minivan on the sliding door, which are less than optimal for anyone who wants to put a small package or bag of groceries into the vehicle if you are driving alone.
The 2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige is basically a family vehicle, but it carries a hefty price tag of $47,770, which would strain the household budgets of families with younger children.
2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige — Frequently Asked Questions
Can you change the tailgate on a Kia Carnival?
Kia Motors reserves the right to make changes at any time as to vehicle availability, destination, and handling fees, colors, materials, specifications, features, accessories, packages, and models. Stand behind the Carnival with your Smart Key and the tailgate opens automatically for you.
Does Kia make a minivan?
The Kia Carnival is a minivan manufactured by Kia Motors, introduced in January 1998, now in its third generation and marketed globally under various nameplates. It was formerly known as the Kia Sedona in the U.S.
Is the Kia Carnival a safe car?
The Carnival was subjected to ANCAP crash tests earlier this year, and obtained a 5-star overall safety rating. The MPV scored a 90% score in terms of adult occupant protection, while the child occupant protection score was 88 percent.