Although Kia is pitching the new 2022 Carnival as an “MPV” (multipurpose vehicle), we see it for what it really is: a minivan. And that’s no bad thing in our eyes. Quite the opposite, as we unabashedly love vans, with their emphasis on practicality above all and the impressive engineering typical to this segment. A 2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige joined our cadre of 40,000-mile test vehicles alongside a 2021 Toyota Sienna Limited, since one people hauler is never enough.
The Kia follows a more traditional van path than the Toyota, which is now available only as a hybrid and offers an all-wheel-drive option. While styling cues such as a longer hood and snazzy C-pillar trim are meant to make the Carnival look more like an SUV than the previous Sedona, it remains a large box with sliding doors, seven seats (eight are available in lower specs), and a comparatively old-school powertrain consisting of a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 driving the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Michael SimariCar and Driver
We opted for the Carnival’s top SX Prestige trim because it has all the extras that make its interior more pleasant. For a starting price of $47,275, it comes with an upgraded audio system, a rear entertainment system with two screens, and second-row “VIP” seats, each of which features heating, cooling, and a foldout footrest. We didn’t love the clunky adjustments for these nonremovable lounge-style seats in our first experience with the Carnival. We’ll monitor how they hold up and see whether we acclimate to the controls over time.
The total as-tested price for our van rings in at an even $49,000. Aside from the $495 upcharge for Astra Blue paint, our Carnival’s optional extras mostly enhance usefulness. The $360 crossbars for the roof rack will help us tether things to the top more easily, the $575 tow hitch will allow us to make use of the 3500-pound towing capacity, and the $95 cargo mat and $200 floor mats will help keep the cabin relatively clean. And our black leather seats should show less dirt and grime than the optional brown leather—or the light-beige leather in our Sienna, which is looking worse for the wear.
Michael SimariCar and Driver
At the test track, our long-term Carnival was slightly slower and less agile than a 206-pound-lighter non–Prestige SX model we tested earlier this year. This minivan turned in a 60-mph run of 7.3 seconds, stopped from 70 mph in 186 feet, and recorded 0.79 g around the skidpad; those numbers are 0.3 second, 13 feet, and 0.03 g in the rears of the lower-spec van. So far, we’re averaging 21 mpg, which predictably pales in comparison to the Sienna hybrid’s 32-mpg average in our hands.
We’ll keep this story updated with all the Carnival’s adventures over the next 36,000 miles or so, which are sure to include lots of road tripping, kid hauling, and cargo schlepping. After all, the only thing we like more than minivans is putting them to good use.
Months in Fleet: 1 month Current Mileage: 3904 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 21 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 19.0 gallons Observed Fuel Range: 470 mi
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
Damage and Destruction: $0
2022 Kia Carnival SX Prestige
Vehicle Type: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door van
Base/As Tested: $47,275/$49,000
Options: Tow hitch, $575; Astra blue paint, $495; crossbars, $360; floor mats, $200; cargo mat, $95
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
Displacement: 212 in3, 3470 cm3
Power: 290 hp @ 6400 rpm
Torque: 262 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Suspension, F/R: struts/multilink
Brakes, F/R: 12.8-in vented disc/12.8-in disc
Tires: Goodyear Assurance Finesse
235/55R-19 101H M+S
Wheelbase: 121.7 in
Length: 203.0 in
Width: 78.5 in
Height: 68.5 in
Passenger Volume: 167 ft3
Cargo Volume: 40 ft3
Curb Weight: 4850 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS: NEW
60 mph: 7.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 15.5 sec @ 92 mph
100 mph: 18.6 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 7.6 sec
Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.8 sec
Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 5.0 sec
Top Speed (gov): 118 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 186 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.79 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 21 mpg
75-mph Highway Driving: 25 mpg
Highway Range: 470 mi
Unscheduled Oil Additions: 0 qt
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/City/Highway: 22/19/26 mpg
5 years/60,000 miles bumper to bumper
10 years/100,000 miles powertrain
5 years/100,000 miles corrosion protection
5 years/60,000 miles roadside assistance
C/D TESTING EXPLAINED
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