Car Reviews

2023 Kia Carnival Review: Minivaning with style

Execs: Fashionable; nice tech; trick second-row seat choices

Cons: No hybrid or all-wheel-drive possibility; comparatively small third row

The 2023 Kia Carnival is assured to wow you within the minivan phase. And no, Kia doesn’t name it a minivan — it makes use of “MPV,” which is principally the European phrase for minivan — however all the things concerning the Carnival’s really feel, trip and drives screams minivan. And that’s OK! Minivan are cool, and don’t let anybody inform you in any other case. Not solely are they cool, however the Carnival is the best with wild options just like the VIP Lounge second row seats. Present as much as the varsity drop-off line in a single outfitted just like the Carnival within the pictures above, and also you’re certain to show just a few curious heads.

After all, utility continues to be king in the case of the Carnival. Its box-like form leaves you with a plethora of cargo house and rear seat legroom that’s just like or greater than a lot of its rivals. In case you don’t need the flamboyant VIP seats, Kia affords the distinctive “Captain Kirk” seat within the eight-passenger Carnival. Go for the highest trims, and the inside is slathered in eye-catching trim, large screens and tons of tech.

We’re dissatisfied that the Carnival doesn’t supply powertrain choices to compete with options just like the hybrid-only Sienna and Pacifica PHEV, although. They’ve a big gas financial system benefit that might be purpose sufficient to selected a kind of moderately than the massive Kia. Moreover, the Carnival would not supply all-wheel drive because the Toyota and Chrysler do. Nonetheless, if gas financial system and AWD will not be priorities, the Carnival is effectively deserving of a spot in your shortlist. It might even look sufficient like an SUV to persuade minivan detractors to present it an opportunity, too.

Inside & Expertise   |   Passenger & Cargo House   |   Efficiency & Gasoline Financial system

What it is prefer to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Ranges   |   Crash Scores & Security Options

What’s new for 2023?

Kia doesn’t change lots for 2023, and all of the minor adjustments happen inside. The SX trim snags the 12.3-inch full digital instrument cluster that was beforehand unique to the SX Status. Moreover, the SX Status will get a brand new commonplace seat configuration. As a substitute of the reclining VIP Lounge seats coming commonplace, the common mannequin’s 8-seat configuration is the usual setup. You possibly can optionally add the VIP seats if you’d like these as an alternative now.

What are the Carnival’s inside and in-car expertise like?

The Carnivals pictured on this web page symbolize the nicest you are going to discover. Each the SX and SX Status (pictured above) are the range-topping fashions, and with them you get improved supplies high quality and much more tools. Maintain this in thoughts earlier than anticipating to see a number of massive screens and VIP Lounge seats in a $33,000 base van — you possibly can’t even get these on the common SX, they’re elective on the Status solely. Nonetheless, there’s not as a lot of a drop-off when it comes to high quality and ambiance as you will discover in numerous Toyota Sienna trim ranges, and each Carnival has a extra upscale feel and appear than the appliance-like Honda Odyssey. We must also notice that though a lot of the Carnival’s “wow” options can be found in different minivans, none supply the identical variety of them in the identical place.

The usual infotainment set-up consists of conventional analog gauges and a user-friendly 8-inch touchscreen that does look a bit low cost in a housing clearly meant for one thing larger. That may be the 12.3-inch infotainment display screen that arrives with the EX trim. The gauges get swapped out for the all-digital instrument panel within the SX and SX Status solely. Each SX trims can be found with seatback touchscreens (very like the Chrysler Pacifica) that features Netflix and YouTube apps, plus Kia’s Sounds of Nature white noise applications (dad and mom of small youngsters will know why it is a massive deal). Carnivals with the 8-inch display screen embrace wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however these with the 12.3-inch display screen require a wired connection. Each trim however the base LX has have entry to a wi-fi charger, whereas each trim has a number of USB ports per seating row. The SX and SX Status have 115-volt inverters — one on the again of the middle console and one within the rear cargo space — for equipment with a normal two- or three-prong plug.

How massive is the Carnival?

Patrons select between seven-seat or eight-seat configurations like all the opposite minivans, however that is the place the comparisons cease. The eight-passenger configuration we evaluate in additional depth right here (pictured above, backside left and proper) includes a distinctive heart seat that slides far ahead and all the best way again to the third row and past. This may be useful when attempting to stuff as many automotive seats as doable aboard, or simply to create distinctive seating and cargo configurations. There are then two seven-seat configurations. The primary one principally removes the eight-passenger’s center seat and provides in-board armrests to the remaining captain’s chairs. The second, unique to and elective on the SX Status (pictured above, high left and proper), are dubbed VIP Lounge seats on account of their large recline and pop-up footrests. This could be an ideal selection for households with older youngsters.

The Carnival has a smaller third row than its rivals. Legroom is simply 35.6 inches, which is about 2 inches lower than the following smallest, the Toyota Sienna, and three inches lower than the Pacifica, which is the clear winner for full-house consolation. That third row continues to be loads acceptable, and though the others are roomier, chances are you’ll not truly discover.

Kia quotes one of the best cargo capability within the enterprise at 40.2 cubic toes behind the third row. Kia additionally (simply barely) boasts probably the most total inside house at 145.1 cubic toes, however the Odyssey is sort of tied. Sadly, you possibly can’t have the VIP seats and all that cargo room, since these seats don’t fold flat, and so they’re not detachable both. Slide them ahead, and you continue to have a big, flat house, but it surely’s an actual utility downer in comparison with different minivans with extra flexibility. In case you want the house, skip the VIP seats on the SX Status. The eight-passenger SX is pictured under with its distinctive center seat pushed all the best way again. 

What are the Carnival’s gas financial system and efficiency specs?

Kia retains it easy with the Carnival and solely affords one powertrain configuration. It comes with a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That is despatched by means of an eight-speed automated transmission to the entrance wheels. The Carnival has extra horsepower than different minivans, however not by a large margin. All-wheel drive just isn’t obtainable.

Gasoline financial system is respectable at 19 mpg metropolis, 26 mpg freeway and 22 mpg mixed. That’s proper on par with the remainder of the V6-powered minivans on the market, however you may be burning considerably extra fuel than when you selected the hybrid-only Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid. Kia has a terrific hybrid powertrain obtainable within the Sportage and Sorento. It is a disgrace Kia cannot make one thing comparable work within the Carnival. 

What is the Carnival prefer to drive?

Out on the street, the engine feels torquey, and is glad to spin the entrance wheels from a cease at full throttle. The engine sounds good, too, largely quiet in regular working, however issuing a managed growl below laborious acceleration. The Carnival feels swift and by no means left us wanting when merging onto a busy freeway with a brief on-ramp.

It steers confidently, with a pleasant weight increase within the wheel by means of corners. The suspension is barely on the taut aspect, giving a very good really feel of the street, with the draw back of transmitting extra street noise into the cabin — it’s a giant field, and it appears like one. You possibly can have extra enjoyable swinging it round than a comparable SUV, however the Sienna continues to be the best-handling minivan. Lengthy freeway journeys are nice as a result of Freeway Drive Help doing most the be just right for you, and the Bose audio system is nice for masking the street noise that intrudes into the cabin. The Carnival will depart you feeling refreshed after protecting a ton of floor, which is simply what a minivan must do.

What different Kia Carnival evaluations can I learn?

2022 Kia Carnival First Drive Assessment | The fashionable one

Our first expertise behind the wheel. We offer preliminary impressions and all the main points concerning the van you would possibly need to know.


The Eight-Passenger 2022 Kia Carnival has a ‘Captain Kirk chair’

An in-depth evaluate of the eight-passenger Kia Carnival and it is distinctive, second-row sliding center seat we dub the “Captain Kirk chair.”


2022 Kia Carnival vs the opposite minivans | How they evaluate on paper

In case you like specs, right here’s the place you’ll discover the Kia Carnival in comparison with all the opposite minivans.

What’s the 2023 Carnival’s value?

Pricing for the 2023 Kia Carnival might be discovered under, damaged down into the obtainable trim ranges of LX, EX, SX and SX Status. All embrace the $1,335 vacation spot cost.

  • LX: $34,235
  • EX: $39,735
  • SX: $42,935
  • SX-Status: $47,335

For household responsibility hauling a number of of us round, each the LX and EX are nice values. The LX consists of many necessities, and the luxuries added by the EX are value the additional coin. Notable options for the EX embrace 19-inch alloy wheels, rear sunglasses, eight-passenger seating, leatherette seats, long-sliding rails for the rear seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an influence liftgate, tri-zone local weather management, and most necessary of all, a lot of Kia’s neat in-cabin tech options. These embrace the Cabin Digital camera (view of rear rows within the display screen), Cabin Intercom, Quiet Mode (turns off rear audio system for sleeping occupants) and adaptive cruise management with Kia’s chic Freeway Drive Help.

The SX Status provides the entire high-class luxurious options — the VIP seats are a free possibility when you’d moderately have them over the 8-passenger format. The one pay-for bundle on the SX Status is the obtainable rear seat leisure bundle for $1,000.

Yow will discover a full breakdown of options, specs and native pricing right here on Autoblog.

What are the Carnival’s security scores and driver help options?

Many of the necessary options come commonplace on the 2023 Carnival. Driver help options on the bottom LX embrace ahead collision warning with automated emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping help, blind spot warning w/collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic alert w/collision avoidance, rear parking sensors, rear occupant alert, and a “secure exit help” characteristic that watches for vehicles approaching from the rear when exiting right into a road. Stepping as much as increased trims unlocks options reminiscent of ahead collision avoidance for cyclists, rear automated emergency braking, 360-degree digital camera, entrance parking sensors and Freeway Driving Help. The SX and SX-Status will get the improved blind-spot warning system that includes a stay digital camera feed that received our 2020 Expertise of the Yr Award. 

The 2022 Carnival (2023 scores not obtainable at time of publishing) was named a Prime Security Decide by the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security. It obtained high marks for its crash worthiness and ahead collision avoidance tech. Its commonplace headlights obtained a “Poor” ranking, although, whereas the SX Status acquired the best-possible “Good” ranking. Scores from the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Administration will not be but obtainable.


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