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2022 Kia Carnival first drive overview: An opulent minivan with SUV fashion


Spacious and versatile, approachable and protected — the minivan is a marvel of suburban utility. The issue is that most individuals do not truly wish to be seen driving one, so many consumers skew towards cooler-looking SUVs. To fight this, the foremost gamers within the class have pushed minivan design in a path that is maybe finest described as “sci-fi bullet prepare” with combined outcomes.

Kia’s resolution to the issue of uncool notion is to decorate its new 2022 Carnival “multipurpose automobile” in SUV cosplay. The result’s a minivan that boasts all the benefits and facilities of its classmates, whereas standing aesthetically aside with sport utility fashion.

The Carnival wears an upright, boxy design with a entrance finish formed extra like Kia’s Telluride than the Sedona it replaces. Particulars just like the L-shaped, chrome C-pillars break up the minivan’s profile and, together with the sculpted wheel arches and darkish decrease sills, assist pull the attention upward to create the looks of a taller, extra rugged experience. At first look, the Carnival appears virtually precisely like a full-size SUV from most angles, however you then discover the reversed handles and tracks for the sliding doorways and, immediately, the minivan-ness of the silhouette turns into obvious.

The Carnival is the primary Kia to put on what I’ve taken to calling the model’s new “Okay-backwards-N” brand.

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VIP seating

The Carnival’s energy sliding doorways open to disclose a spacious inside that is accessible in seven- or eight-passenger configurations. The usual eight-seat setup incorporates a 40/20/40-split second-row bench with a middle part that may fold over to create a table-like armrest for the outboard seats. The bench can even slide far sufficient ahead permitting entrance seat passengers to simply attain a automobile seat. The second row can be fully eliminated when you have to entry the Carnival’s most 145.1 cubic ft of cargo capability.

Improve from the bottom LX to an EX or SX mannequin and the material upholstery is changed with synthetic leather-based. Step as much as the highest spec SX Status for actual leather-based trim and a pair of power-adjustable VIP seats instead of the second-row bench. These luxurious buckets routinely recline or return upright on the contact of a button, and so they function heated and cooled surfaces and might even deploy footrests for max rest. The Status setup elevates the Carnival from a properly appointed household hauler to a reasonably luxurious shuttle with extra passenger house, extra cargo capability and simpler entry than a taller SUV can supply. With the third row folded flat, I can slide the VIP seats far sufficient again for a full recline and leg extension, even with the entrance seats in a snug driving place. Attempt doing that in an Escalade.

Kia’s minivan is not the one one to supply reclining captain’s chairs, however these are a contact extra luxe than most.

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The seven-seat SX Status is not with out its compromises, nonetheless. The nonremovable VIP seats imply this trim maxes out at 86.9 cubes of cargo capability behind the second row, and attending to the third row is extra of a squeeze.

Talking of that commonplace third row, there’s loads of legroom again there for 2 average-size adults, and sufficient shoulder house for 3 youngsters. Pulling a strap rapidly folds the 60/40 break up bench flat into the Carnival’s ground and a single pull lifts it again up, leaving a still-impressive 40.2 cubic ft for cargo.

On the choices checklist, you will discover Kia’s sensible energy tailgate, which routinely opens the hatch whenever you strategy the rear of the automobile with the important thing in your pocket. I normally discover this function extraordinarily annoying, however Kia will need to have improved its detection logic from earlier functions. I skilled virtually no false-positive unintentional openings throughout my testing, and the tailgate now routinely closes whenever you stroll away, making loading groceries or different cargo a really hands-free course of.

Backseat tech

The Carnival could be outfitted with a dual-screen rear seat leisure setup. Every options USB and HDMI inputs that may be shared with the opposite show. Every can connect with a telephone or Wi-Fi hotspot to energy apps like Netflix or mirror a smartphone’s show. There’s additionally a colourful Child Mode interface that serves up child-friendly content material. Bluetooth connectivity permits customers to hear utilizing virtually any headphones they already personal, somewhat than counting on low-quality pack-ins.

The Passenger Digital camera and Passenger Discuss options assist the motive force to look at and talk with occupants within the second and third rows.

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An non-obligatory wide-angle Passenger Digital camera on the Carnival’s ceiling shows a chicken’s-eye view of second and third rows on the multimedia display screen, full with evening imaginative and prescient. This improve works nicely in tandem with the Passenger Discuss function that amplifies the motive force’s voice over the Carnival’s audio system, so they do not need to shout to talk to of us within the third row. 

When outfitted with the non-obligatory Passenger Voice Recognition tech, second-row passengers can even concern instructions to the dashboard UVO system. That is useful for getting vacation spot ideas from adults within the VIP seats, however can also be defeatable when you have to hold a van full of kids from requesting Child Shark for the fifty-leventh time.

Entrance seat tech

Up entrance, Kia’s latest-generation UVO infotainment lives within the dashboard. An 8-inch show is commonplace, however EX, SX and SX Status fashions all improve to a 12.3-inch show. Both method, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are additionally commonplace with USB — however not wi-fi — connectivity. UVO packs its intuitive interface with distinctive options like voice memo recording, Sounds of Nature (like calm waves, a forest or bustling cafe) and a quiet mode that limits media quantity and disables the rear audio system — helpful for when youngsters are dozing within the again.

The customizable star shortcut button on the dashboard — a small function that you will discover on Kia’s different UVO methods — is joined by a second customizable button on the steering wheel, permitting drivers to map options just like the Passenger Digital camera or Passenger Discuss to a single press.

There are as much as 9 USB ports (seven are commonplace) for charging cellular gadgets unfold throughout the Carnival’s three rows.

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LX, EX and SX trims all function conventional bodily gauges and a small 4.3-inch info show. The SX Status upgrades to a 12.3-inch totally digital instrument cluster with 4 user-selectable themes, together with a dynamic setting that adjustments together with the time of day. The digital cluster additionally integrates Kia’s Blind Spot View function, displaying a digital camera feed of the adjoining lane when the corresponding flip sign is activated. 

DriveWise security suite

Kia’s DriveWise superior driver-assistance system suite is commonplace on all Carnival fashions. That will get you entrance, rear and lane-change collision detection, ahead computerized emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping help, blind-spot monitoring and a rear digital camera. DriveWise additionally rolls in driver consideration monitoring and a sonar-based rear occupant alert that stops unintentionally leaving a baby or pet within the parked automobile.

The EX trim provides park distance warnings, enhanced collision avoidance that may additionally detect cyclists and Freeway Driving Assistant, Kia’s umbrella know-how that rolls in navigation-based adaptive cruise management that works in stop-and-go site visitors and enhanced lane-keeping steering help. Upgrading to SX brings a encompass view digital camera system on-line. Lastly, the full-fat SX Status completes the protection suite with the aforementioned blind-spot digital camera tech.

2022 Kia Carnival SX Status is an SUV-styled MPV for VIPs
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Efficiency and effectivity

The one powertrain provided within the 2022 Carnival is a 3.5-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed computerized transmission and front-wheel drive. Regardless of trying like an SUV, all-wheel drive is just not an choice. On the intense facet, 290 horsepower imbues the Carny with fairly good hustle for a minivan, and the 262 pound-feet of torque is sufficient twist to tow as much as a 3,500-pound trailer.

Dealing with is mushy, however comfy. The Carnival is not essentially the most swish dancer on a twisty highway, however the minivan manages to remain off of its personal toes nicely sufficient that it feels protected. The steering is responsive, however physique roll and understeer are noticeable at pace. That is, after all, fantastic. Regardless of Toyota’s advertising for the brand new Sienna, I do not suppose that anybody looking for a minivan is in search of “sport-tuned dealing with.” Extra importantly, the Carnival does an awesome job absorbing bumps with poise and speaking its limits to the motive force nicely and early sufficient to remain out of bother.

The EPA estimates 19 miles per gallon metropolis, 26 mpg freeway or 22 mpg mixed from the 2022 Carnival. That is on par with different front-drive, V6-powered minivans on this class. The assorted drive modes — Regular, Eco, Good and Sport — can have some impact on the Kia’s efficiency and effectivity steadiness, however over the course of three days, testing each the SX and SX Status trim ranges in quite a lot of conditions, my common of 21.7 mpg was virtually spot-on with these estimates.

Kia’s betting that the Carnival will discover a residence within the grey space between minivans and SUVs.

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Pricing and competitors

The 2022 Kia Carnival begins at $33,275 (together with its $1,175 vacation spot cost) for the bottom LX mannequin and tops out at $47,275 for the totally loaded SX Status. Add $200 for ground mats and $495 for the premium Astra Blue paint to succeed in an as-tested value of $47,970. I solely ever wish to be picked up from the airport in a Carny with VIP seating any further, however for households trying to maximize house for individuals and cargo, the candy spot is the eight-passenger SX mannequin beginning at $42,275.

The Carnival is priced and appointed competitively in opposition to the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Nevertheless, Chrysler and Toyota supply all-wheel drive, hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations that increase the value ceiling but in addition carry important efficiency and gas financial system benefits. Additionally contemplate that the Carnival’s sport-utility fashion has the potential to tempt a couple of households on the fence away from a brand new SUV buy, so one may make the case for it being an oblique competitor to one thing like Kia’s personal Telluride as nicely.

Kia can name it an MPV and elegance it like an SUV, however what issues is that the Carnival is a rattling good minivan. Kia’s designers have pulled off this stylistic double-take with aplomb. With the 2022 Carnival arriving in dealerships now, the automaker can solely hope that buyers suppose it is as cool as I do.

About the author: SubSellKaro

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