By Jennifer GeigerFebruary 23, 2021
During its global debut last summer, we learned a good deal about Kia’s new minivan before we learned its name, and the South Korean automaker just released full details. For 2022, the Sedona is reborn as the Carnival, a name used globally in the past and now also in the U.S. The new minivan wears beefy, SUV-like styling and gets a new engine, upgraded multimedia system and additional safety features. It’s also the first Kia to wear the automaker’s new badge.
The 2022 Carnival will be offered in LX, EX, SX and SX-Prestige trim levels and will go on sale in the second quarter of the year. Here are five important takeaways:
1. More Power
When the Korean version debuted in August, we reported that the model would have three available powertrains — a pair of 3.5-liter V-6s as well as a smaller 2.2-liter diesel engines — but we didn’t know which would make it stateside. It turns out the sole engine is a 3.5-liter V-6 good for 290 horsepower and 3,500 pounds of towing capability. The current Sedona uses a 276-hp, 3.3-liter V-6. There’s no word yet on fuel economy estimates. Like the Sedona, the new Carnival will be front-wheel drive only.
2. More Seating Options and Room
While the new Carnival won’t have the fourth row available in some markets, the minivan does offer more cargo room and passenger space, and it gets some new seating features to make it more flexible. Like the Sedona, the Carnival is available in seven- and eight-passenger versions with second-row captain’s chairs or a three-position bench.
The Slide-Flex second-row system is available on eight-passenger versions of the minivan, and it makes the second row’s middle seat more flexible — it can slide forward, allowing the front passenger to access it (and the child riding in it) easier. The system sounds similar to the 2021 Honda Odyssey’s Magic Slide system, but with a twist: In the Carnival, the middle seat also converts to a table.
In versions with second-row captain’s chairs, there’s also the VIP Lounge Seating option, with power controls, heated and ventilated seats, wing-out head restraints and pop-out leg extensions for lounge-like seating. This is similar to a feature we’ve seen (albeit with manual controls) in past versions of the Sedona.
For carrying cargo, the second-row seats are removable (except in the SX-Prestige trim), a functionality absent in the outgoing Sedona, and the third row folds into the floor for a flat loading space.
3. More Family-Friendly Goodies
With updates to the other major players in the minivan class bringing more family-friendly features, such as Chrysler’s new FamCam in-cabin camera, Kia needs to keep up to stay attractive to families. The new Carnival adds a couple of new features that do just that (minus the catchy names).
A new rear-passenger-view camera allows first-row occupants to keep an eye on the kids in back through an in-cabin camera system. Kia says it features a zoom function and night vision. It goes along with the new Passenger Talk system, which amplifies the voices of first-row occupants so those in back can hear. Both features are standard on EX, SX and SX-Prestige trims.
Last, and perhaps annoyingly, is a voice-recognition system that allows second-row occupants to control several functions using voice commands once they press a button on the ceiling. Like the in-cabin camera, the feature is standard on EX SX and SX-Prestige trims.
4. More Screens
The Carnival comes standard with an 8-inch touchscreen display with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Uplevel versions will get the latest version of Kia’s multimedia system and feature two 12.3-inch screens in the cabin, with the digital driver instrument cluster connected to the touchscreen under a continuous piece of glass.
In back, an available dual-screen entertainment system features wireless screen mirroring of an Apple or Android device. As big fans of the Chrysler Pacifica’s Uconnect Theater dual rear-screen entertainment system, we’re interested to see how Kia’s measures up. It’s standard on SX and SX-Prestige trims.
5. More Safety Features
Like its competitors, the Carnival comes with a host of standard safety features: automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane keep assist, automatic lane-centering steering, a driver attention warning system, blind spot detection with braking and steering intervention, and rear cross-traffic alert and intervention.
In addition, the Carnival offers additional safety features such as the Safe Exit Assist system, which uses radar to detect oncoming traffic and can prevent a rear door from opening if an approaching vehicle or bicycle is detected.
There’s also the blind spot view monitor that’s offered on other Kia vehicles. It projects the view from adjacent lanes in the instrument cluster when a turn signal is engaged. And the rear-seat alert system uses ultrasonic sensors to detect child or pet movement in the second and third rows after the doors have been locked; if movement is detected, the system sounds the horn and illuminates the hazard lamps.
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