Is the 2022 Kia Carnival Pretending to Be Something It’s Not?

Minivan models are some of the most utility-oriented vehicles in the automotive world. They aren’t known for flash or style, but they are some of the most value-packed premium people movers around. New colors, blacked-out wheels, and all-wheel drive powertrains seem to have the sole mission of putting the minivan on the map in a way that competes with the ever-popular crossover SUV. Is the 2022 Kia Carnival pretending to be something it’s not? 

a 2022 Kia Carnival parked off road near the mountains
2022 Kia Carnival | Kia

Critics have already claimed that the all-new 2021 Toyota Sienna is bringing fresh relevance to the formerly drab minivan lineup. Now the 2022 Kia Carnival enters the scene taking design cues from some of its crossover brethren. But it’s a minivan, not an SUV. 

Is the 2022 Kia Carnival worth the hype? 

It’s no secret that the 2022 Kia Carnival has received quite a bit of hype. Especially considering it’s a minivan, Kia’s all-new minivan has made waves with the Korean Grand Carnival debut that showed us an SUV-like van with seating for up to eleven passengers. Now it’s come stateside and it seems that no one is quite sure what to make of it. 

The style is undeniably rugged for a minivan. Black wheels nestled beneath fenders and a front grille that announces the 2022 Kia Carnival’s presence in any school pick-up line give consumers a new perspective on what it might mean to be the owner of a minivan. But is it worth the hype? 

The ability to produce an upscale vehicle with loads of value even in the base model has become Kia’s most recent calling card. New models like the Kia Telluride and the Kia K5 offer fresh designs, long lists of standard equipment, and accessible prices for mainstream buyers. While we can’t say for sure that the 2022 Kia Carnival is worth the ‘hype,’ so to speak, we do think it’s worth some attention and at least a test drive. 

How much is Kia’s new minivan? 

the 2022 kia carnival on display at an indoor auto show with onlookers testing the seats and viewing the exterior
2022 Kia Carnival | Ramesh Pathania/Mint via Getty Images

Kia offers the 2022 Kia Carnival in 5 different trim levels. The base level LX Carnival starts at $32,100. This model offers a good list of features with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, remote start, and a good safety suite. However, Car and Driver specifies in its review of this minivan that the low points include the fact that the best 2022 Kia Carnival features are reserved for the top trims. 

The 2022 Kia Carnival SX is second from the top and starts for $41,100. Adding the SX Prestige package means adding another $5,000 on top of the SX price. With the SX Prestige package, buyers lose a seat. But the mid-row captain chairs will come heated and ventilated with the ability to recline for the ultimate lounging experience for passengers. 

Car and Driver recommends going with the $37,600 mid range EX model. This version of the 2022 Kia Carnival offers more value with its lower price and welcome upgrades such as a power liftgate. However, there’s no doubt that Kia’s new minivan has something to offer for almost anyone, depending on their budget. 

Is the 2022 Kia Carnival a good van? 

Yes, this is a good minivan. While it’s new and time will ultimately tell, the 2022 Kia Carnival is bringing extra style to the minivan segment. It’s a solid new minivan offering that’s worth getting a little excited about. Still, it is every bit a minivan. 

It may offer some rugged design and a boxier shape to the segment, but those sliding doors don’t lie. However, it’s minivan interior does offer passengers a roomy third row. That’s not something most crossover SUV models can say for themselves. 

The 290 hp V6 engine offers a refined driving experience as it shifts through a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. That said, it doesn’t offer all-wheel drive yet. Nor does the 2022 Kia Carnival bring a hybrid model to the game. Even so, it’s probably worth a second glance––whether you’re shopping for an SUV or a minivan.

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