2023 Kia Carnival Review: Minivaning with style

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

Cons: No hybrid or all-wheel-drive choice; 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 every thing in regards to the Carnival’s really feel, experience and drives screams minivan. And that’s OK! Minivan are cool, and don’t let anybody let you know 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 photographs above, and also you’re positive to show just a few curious heads.

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

We’re disillusioned that the Carnival doesn’t provide powertrain choices to compete with alternate options just like the hybrid-only Sienna and Pacifica PHEV, although. They’ve a big gas financial system benefit that may very well be cause sufficient to selected a kind of slightly than the large Kia. Moreover, the Carnival would not provide all-wheel drive because the Toyota and Chrysler do. Nonetheless, if gas financial system and AWD are usually not priorities, the Carnival is properly deserving of a spot in your shortlist. It could even look sufficient like an SUV to persuade minivan detractors to provide it an opportunity, too.

Inside & Know-how   |   Passenger & Cargo House   |   Efficiency & Gasoline Financial system

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

What’s new for 2023?

Kia doesn’t change quite a bit 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 customary seat configuration. As a substitute of the reclining VIP Lounge seats coming customary, the common mannequin’s 8-seat configuration is the usual setup. You may optionally add the VIP seats if you need these as a substitute 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. Preserve this in thoughts earlier than anticipating to see a number of massive screens and VIP Lounge seats in a $33,000 base van — you may’t even get these on the common SX, they’re optionally available 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 may discover in varied Toyota Sienna trim ranges, and each Carnival has a extra upscale feel and appear than the appliance-like Honda Odyssey. We must also be aware that though a lot of the Carnival’s “wow” options can be found in different minivans, none provide 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 supposed for one thing larger. That will be the 12.3-inch infotainment display 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 children will know why this can be a massive deal). Carnivals with the 8-inch display embrace wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however these with the 12.3-inch display 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 an ordinary 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 evaluation in additional depth right here (pictured above, backside left and proper) incorporates a distinctive middle seat that slides far ahead and all the way in which again to the third row and past. This may be helpful when attempting to stuff as many automotive seats as attainable 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 optionally available on the SX Status (pictured above, high left and proper), are dubbed VIP Lounge seats as a consequence of their huge recline and pop-up footrests. This may be an excellent alternative 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 subsequent 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, you could not truly discover.

Kia quotes the very best cargo capability within the enterprise at 40.2 cubic ft behind the third row. Kia additionally (simply barely) boasts essentially the most general inside area at 145.1 cubic ft, however the Odyssey is sort of tied. Sadly, you may’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 area, however it’s an actual utility downer in comparison with different minivans with extra flexibility. In the event you want the area, skip the VIP seats on the SX Status. The eight-passenger SX is pictured beneath with its distinctive center seat pushed all the way in which again. 

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

Kia retains it easy with the Carnival and solely gives 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 computerized transmission to the entrance wheels. The Carnival has extra horsepower than different minivans, however not by a large margin. All-wheel drive shouldn’t be out there.

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 can be burning considerably extra gasoline than if you happen to selected the hybrid-only Toyota Sienna or Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid. Kia has a terrific hybrid powertrain out there 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 completely happy to spin the entrance wheels from a cease at full throttle. The engine sounds good, too, largely quiet in regular operating, however issuing a managed growl underneath onerous 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 build up within the wheel by means of corners. The suspension is barely on the taut aspect, giving really feel of the street, with the draw back of transmitting extra street noise into the cabin — it’s an enormous field, and it feels like one. You may 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 because of the 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 go away you feeling refreshed after overlaying a ton of floor, which is simply what a minivan must do.

What different Kia Carnival opinions 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 small print in regards to the van you may wish to know.


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

An in-depth evaluation 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 the event 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 worth?

Pricing for the 2023 Kia Carnival will be discovered beneath, damaged down into the out there 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 plenty of people 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 shades, 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 vital of all, lots of Kia’s neat in-cabin tech options. These embrace the Cabin Digital camera (view of rear rows within the display), 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 choice if you happen to’d slightly have them over the 8-passenger structure. The one pay-for package deal on the SX Status is the out there rear seat leisure package deal for $1,000.

You’ll find 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 vital options come customary on the 2023 Carnival. Driver help options on the bottom LX embrace ahead collision warning with computerized 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 “protected exit help” function that watches for automobiles approaching from the rear when exiting right into a road. Stepping as much as greater trims unlocks options reminiscent of ahead collision avoidance for cyclists, rear computerized emergency braking, 360-degree digicam, entrance parking sensors and Freeway Driving Help. The SX and SX-Status will get the improved blind-spot warning system that includes a dwell digicam feed that gained our 2020 Know-how of the 12 months Award. 

The 2022 Carnival (2023 scores not out there at time of publishing) was named a High Security Choose by the Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security. It obtained high marks for its crash worthiness and ahead collision avoidance tech. Its customary headlights obtained a “Poor” ranking, although, whereas the SX Status received the best-possible “Good” ranking. Rankings from the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Administration are usually not but out there.


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