Kia’s latest family vehicle is the 2022 Carnival. The automaker is very careful not to call it a minivan but an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle), so I will respect that. Though I think we both know I won’t.
Newsflash: The Kia Carnival Is A MINIVAN
Why don’t they want to call this MINIVAN a MINIVAN? I once met with this very successful entertainment executive, and he started telling me how much he LOVED his Tesla Model S. Unimpressed, I asked what his wife drove. He then laughed and said, “a minivan.” No model, no brand, just “minivan” like the rest of the details didn’t matter. I asked, “Does she like it?” His response? “I doubt it.” Gulp.
The poor minivan gets zero respect. Moms (and even dads) may appreciate a minivan’s practicality, but I’ve yet to meet a minivan driver who doesn’t dream about trading their minivan for something “sportier” and “sexier.” But minivans have come a long way, baby. We all know how much I love the Chrysler Pacifica. It’s ridiculous.
Then along comes a minivan (or MPV) with back seats that look like this:
It’s Crazy. But I’m not going to talk about those inside mini-Lay-Z-Boys that are in the Carnival SX Prestige, the one I drove didn’t have them. Plus, whose kids need reclining chairs? If you’re driving a minivan and your offspring are reclining in the second row, I think you truly need to re-evaluate your priorities. My kids will sit on bricks while I drive a rocketship, thank you very much.
There are three things I loved about the Kia Carnival MINIVAN.
- The Safety Tech. Kia has such an amazing safety suite and it’s all standard. Meaning you don’t have to pay an extra for things like Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Assist Braking, Lane Keep Assist a total of 12 features that you may not know you need, but once you have, you’ll never want to do without. Plus, Kia’s interface is so easy, so user-friendly, the learning curve is virtually non-existant. Trust me, this isn’t true in every car or MINIVAN.
- The Luxury To MSRP Ratio is Insane. The MSRP on the base trim starts at $32,100, which is crazy. It’s a lot of car for $32k. Fully loaded, it’s hard to get this car above $47k at all. That’s wonderful, for God knows, families have costs everywhere you look.
- Its design. Damn, it looks good! Best-looking MINIVAN on the market? I think so.
There are two things I disliked about the Kia Carnival MINIVAN.
- The Drive. This FWD vehicle wasn’t the greatest behind the wheel. Of course, that’s the not the goal of a minivan, but many people forget that if a car drives better, you become a better driver and a better driver is a safer driver. Period. The good news is that once I loaded the car with people and stuff, it settled down and was more stable.
- There’s no Hybrid Option. Unlike the Pacifica, which is a PHEV (plug-in hybrid), the Carnival is just a straight up gas-powered vehicle. A bit of battery power would not only improve its 19 city/26 highway MPG, but the extra weight could help the drive as well.
- There’s no AWD Option. It goes without saying that this would improve its drive and help people in rough climates.
The Kia Carnival Verdict
These days, there are very few bad cars. There are even fewer bad MINIVANS. It’s really about the vehicle that’s right for your lifestyle. If you’re watching your budget, not concerned about gas consumption, and regularly drive around with passengers, you’ll love the Kia Carnival. But if you need AWD, drive alone regularly, and through windy roads, you may want to rethink this one.
Overall, the Carnival is a really exciting new vehicle. I feel sure new versions are on their way (including electrified and AWD options). What do you think? Let me know in the comments.