The 2022 Kia Carnival Is Shockingly Bad in Consumer Reports Rear-Seat Safety Testing

Consumer Reports is known for its car safety testing, and one of its newer areas of focus is rear-seat safety. CR recently evaluated the rear-seat safety of the 2022 Kia Carnival, and the popular minivan surprisingly failed to impress. If you’re thinking of buying a 2022 Kia Carnival as your next family hauler, consider Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety scores first. 

About Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety testing

Consumer Reports began back-seat safety testing relatively recently but has already evaluated more than 50 vehicles. CR’s tests look at rear-seat safety in various areas, considering everything from child seats to belt reminders. The six categories under consideration are car-seat fit, booster-seat use, rear-occupant alert, rear-seat minders, advanced rear restraints, and rear-head restraints. 

As evidenced by the above categories, rear-seat safety testing can be complex, given that people of all shapes and sizes, from babies through adults, sit in the back seat. 

Emily A. Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports, explained it this way: “The rear seat has to take into account all kinds of passengers who sit there, from infants and teens to adults and ride-sharing passengers of all ages.” 

The 2022 Kia Carnival scored shockingly low on Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety tests

2022 Kia Carnival: Consumer Reports rear-seat safety tests
2022 Kia Carnival rear seats | Kia

Despite being an overall family-friendly vehicle, the 2022 Kia Carnival didn’t score well in Consumer Reports‘ rear-seat safety testing. This minivan ranks toward the bottom of models CR tested. 

The Carnival received low scores in rear occupant alert and belt reminders due to a lack of those potentially life-saving features. (For example, rear occupant alerts warn the driver if they accidentally leave an infant in the car.) The only category where the Carnival scored well was head restraints. 

By comparison, another minivan, the 2022 Toyota Sienna, earned much higher scores for rear-seat safety and comes in at the top of the pack. It received high marks for child seat fit, belt reminders, advanced restraints, and head restraints. 

Consumer Reports clarifies that just because a model scores poorly on these tests doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. “The message from our new rear-seat safety testing is not that vehicles with lower scores are unsafe, but that they do not offer the same comparative margin of protection as those vehicles that earn higher marks,” CR’s Thomas says (via Twitter).

Overview of the 2022 Kia Carnival

Though it could provide better rear-seat safety protection, the 2022 Kia Carnival remains an attractive option for families. 

One standout feature of the Carnival is its flexible interior. Slide-Flex seating allows you to adjust your seating arrangement and cargo space to fit your needs. Second-row seats are removable, and third-row seating can sink into the floor to create additional room. 

Another unique feature is the second-row “child-minding seat,” which can slide forward to bring it within easy reach of the front passenger. Kids in the second row can also stay entertained thanks to device mirroring, allowing you to stream child-friendly entertainment from your device. Nine USB charging ports also make it easy to keep kids’ devices from running out of juice on long road trips. 

Loading up your children and belongings is also a breeze, even when your hands are full, thanks to the Carnival’s ability to sense your presence and open the doors and hatch automatically. 

On top of all that, the 2022 Kia Carnival starts at only about $32,000. If you’re in the market for a minivan that offers an array of family-friendly features, the 2022 Carnival is worth a look. However, you’ll want to weigh those pros against the cons of its lower rear-seat safety scores.

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