Don't call it a minivan anymore! The Kia Sedona has become the 2022 Kia Carnival, an all-new model that the brand is calling a Life Utility Vehicle, which just happens to be an eight-seater with sliding doors and a rear hatch. Whatever Kia wants to call it, the Carnival has loads of family-friendly features, luxury add-ons that are segment-firsts, and plenty of high-tech wizardry aimed at making driving easier and transport more convenient.
We'll start with those family-friendly features, like a one-button press of the remote that opens the sliding doors and the tailgate at once. Every door also offers proximity entry opening and closing for when you can't get the key out of your pocket. The rear seats fold into the floor, and the second-row is removable, but the centre seat in the second row (with eight-seat option) can slide fore and aft independent of the other two chairs. This means drivers can pull a child seat closer or push one of their passengers rearward for more legroom.
A camera to show drivers what's going on in the back also offers night vision, while there is a full-cabin intercom as well as a new Quiet Mode that switches the radio to front seats only and caps all noises at volume level seven. A 12.3-inch digital dash can be fitted with a same-sized touchscreen infotainment system in a panoramic single-piece look, while chrome to match the exterior runs through the dash.
Power-adjustable second-row seats that Kia calls VIP Lounge seats offer heating and ventilation, as well as business class-style leg and headrests on the SX trim. Nine USB ports are available and there is wireless phone charging and available wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Voice recognition allows rear-seat passengers to control in-vehicle features by using a button mounted on the ceiling, while dual rear screen monitors are available with wireless phone projection. The load floor is wide and long enough for a 4x8-foot sheet, with 4,109 L of total cargo space behind the front seats for all but the largest DIY projects.
Kia makes much of the all-new chassis, using more high-strength steel and additional sound insulation to help quiet the ride. The vehicle is powered by a 290-hp 3.5L V6 with an eight-speed automatic. It's styled to look more like a crossover, Kia says, though you probably won't mistake it for a Sorento or Telluride. The bodywork does have extensive aerodynamic enhancements including to the mirrors and front bumper that Kia says improves fuel economy.
Standard driver safety features include lane-keeping and follow assist, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warning, and parking distance warnings, with radar cruise and surround-view cameras available. Kia will be offering the Carnival in LX, LX+, EX, EX+, and SX trims with pricing starting from $34,495 when the model goes on sale this spring.