Which One to Buy
The Carnival will be available in four trim levels, ranging from the budget-friendly LX to the luxurious SX-Prestige, but the EX looks to be the best balance of amenities and pricing. A power-operated rear liftgate, an in-cabin intercom, and a voice-control system that allows back-seat passengers to deliver orders to the Carnival's entertainment system are among the amenities that help justify the cost of upgrading to the EX model.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2022 Carnival is driven by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and comes standard with an eight-speed automated transmission. Unfortunately, all-wheel drive will not be available, since the Carnival will only be available as a front-wheel-drive type. The Pacifica has a plug-in hybrid engine option, and the new Sienna for 2021 is exclusively available as a hybrid, but we don't anticipate Kia to offer one on the Carnival right soon. The Carnival, according to Kia, can pull up to 3500 pounds. The Carnival's well-balanced ride and handling wowed us on our initial test drive. When cruising, it provided a smooth ride and felt composed through turns. The refined V-6 engine provides sprightly acceleration and powered the Carnival to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds at our test track.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates that the 2022 Carnival will get 19 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the interstate, and 22 mpg combined, which is marginally better than the 2021 Sedona. We haven't yet had the opportunity to put the 2022 Carnival through our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test to see how it compares to the Pacifica, Odyssey, and Sienna, but we will when we do. Visit the EPA's website for additional information on the Carnival's fuel efficiency.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The dashboard and front-seat area of the Carnival are both more contemporary and accommodating than those of the Sedona. Design upgrades include a larger center console and an optional Mercedes-style dual-screen infotainment system with a digital gauge display. Leather upholstery and reclining second-row seats with pop-up footrests are standard on the expensive SX-Prestige grade. A panoramic sunroof is available as an option, and it opens up a wide aperture over the second row, allowing the youngsters to breathe some fresh air. The new Carnival's internal space has been enhanced, according to Kia, with the wheelbase and total length of the van being enlarged to give more capacity for passengers and baggage. We were able to stow 14 carry-on luggages behind the third row of seats and a total of 48 with all seats retracted in our testing. That's a lot of cargo capacity, although it's worth noting that the Pacifica and Odyssey were also significantly roomier.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Carnival of 2022 sees a significant advancement in interior technology and electronics. Dual 12.3-inch screens that span over two-thirds of the van's dashboard are available, with one functioning as a digital gauge display and the other handling infotainment responsibilities. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard features. The Carnival cabin has up to nine USB ports. Starting with the SX level, a rear-seat entertainment system is standard, although a 12-speaker Bose radio is only available on the top-spec SX-Prestige trim.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
This time around, Kia is incorporating a lot more standard driver-assistance systems, such as lane-keeping assist, automatic high-beam headlights, and blind-spot monitoring, to help the Carnival compete with the Pacifica, Odyssey, and Sienna. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites for more information about the Carnival's crash-test results. The following are expected to be important safety features: