Let’s rattle off some minivan names: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacifica. And now let’s add another, all-new ride to the list: Kia Carnival, a fine and fitting replacement for the Sedona. No kidding! Annual sales of the Korean automaker’s former minivan had been dismal, but we expect the seven or eight-passenger Carnival to shake up the otherwise monotonous segment.
A 3.3-liter gasoline-direct injection powertrain pumps out 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 262 pounds-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm while mated to an eight-speed auto gearbox. The drive mode selector allows the driver to pick normal, smart, sport and eco. Looking to haul a small boat? With a tow capacity of 3,500 pounds for the front-wheel drive ride, it’s game on.
You would rarely hear anyone call a minivan good looking, but the boxy and SUV-like Carnival is just that; perhaps it is now the most attractive minivan on the road. Dual LED headlights flank a massive matte-chromed, tiger nose grille to portray a handsome presence. You just cannot miss the fresh KIA emblem on the sculpted hood.
The cabin is spacious and functional with a tri-zone auto AC, eight-way power front leather seats, dual glove box, power tilt/slide moonroof, heated/cooled front and second-row seats, mammoth 12.3-inch display screens for digital instrument cluster and infotainment controls, Bose 12-speaker audio system and power tailgate. There also is a dual-screen entertainment to keep the tiny tots in the second row occupied.
The power sliding doors open up to lounge seats with footrests for second-row passengers with slide, recline and leg extenders. So, you are basically riding as though a member of the royal family. The third-row 60/40 split seats fold into the floor. With both rear seats folded, you get an impressive 145.1 cubic feet of space.
Standard safety amenities include dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for all three rows, driver knee airbag, electronic stability, traction and hill-start assist controls, four-wheel anti-lock brakes with electronic brake distribution, lane-keep/follow assists, blind spot/parking and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, remote keyless entry, daytime running lights and tire pressure monitoring system.
For far too long in the past, its predecessor, the Sedona, was the black sheep of the minivan family, but this all-new replacement should put rivals on notice. With a solid powertrain, spacious passenger and cargo-hauling capabilities and decent fuel economy, the Carnival has arrived. Let the festivities begin!