2022 Kia Carnival SX new car reviews

Know who still has faith in minivans? Kia.

The brand just released its new-for-2022 Carnival and, wait, hold on: Kia calls it a multi-purpose vehicle. But you know what you get when you rearrange those letters while subbing in a few? That's right: minivan.

Kia claims best-in-class horsepower–290 of them–plus a 3500-pound tow rating.

No matter the class, it looks, acts and drives like a minivan. And in our book, that’s okay.

We drove the SX model–second from the top. Mechanically, the line is the same across the board, but the SX gets 19-inch wheels, rear-screen entertainment and things like that.

Keep reading for more.

Other staff views

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard
Director of Marketing & Digital Assets

Want some fun in your new car? Meet the Kia Carnival, Kia’s latest entry into the Dodge-dominated Minivan segment that’s still kicking despite America’s modern love of crossovers and SUVs.

My first impression? This thing looks good–Kia’s modern design language is just the right mix of upmarket Range Rover and approachable family car, and the Carnival wears it well.

Sure, there’s a needlessly aggressive front end to help all the dads fit in with the SUV drivers, but overall I think the Carnival looks great.

That praise extends to the interior, too–what an attractive, comfortable, practical place for you (and seven of your friends) to spend time.

I used the Carnival to cart my buddies around town, and remembered you’d have to be insane to buy an SUV for hauling people and stuff on paved roads–there’s just so much more room in a Minivan. Plus, the Kia has a baby shark video game that inebriated rear-seat passengers (and probably children) can play on the included monitors.

Of course, there are flaws: The Carnival’s chassis seems to be tuned to be the softest vehicle on planet earth, with spring rates just stiff enough to keep it off the ground.

Driving the van is like driving a soundproofed bowl of Jello, which is amazing around town–speed bumps, gravel, nothing can possibly interrupt your latest round of baby shark.

Take this van on the highway, though, and its tune changes: Pleasant isolation turns into extreme uncertainty, as this thing wallows down the road at 80 mph with zero steering feel and zero body control. I got the hang of it after a few miles, but it’s clear this van is designed for the soccer field instead of the autobahn.

That’s a bit of a shame, since horsepower is not its issue: Kia claims the 3.5-liter V6 offers 290 horsepower, and we believe them. Flooring it seems to actually cause the Carnival to stretch in length as its nose claws itself away from the rest of the van, which is even more exciting than playing baby shark.

Overall, the Carnival is a fast, practical, attractive people mover that’s priced right. Just keep it off the highway.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

If I needed to ferry around people, this would be high on my list–very high.

Let’s be honest, I’m not also towing a fifth wheel. I don’t go off road. I’m not trying to impress the neighbors.

Do you really need an SUV when a minivan is easier to park? Plus the minivan is just easier to get into and out of.

While the minivan field has shrunk, glad to see Kia keep in it–and with a vehicle that’s just striking. It looks great. It’s comfortable. It makes terrific power. It offers every possible convenience.

Around town, it felt perfect to me: quick and maneuverable despite its carrying capacity.

Am I going to track it? Heck no. But if I need a minivan to do minivan stuff, this is a definite contender.

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