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Kia has attempted to make amends for a safety issue that was revealed by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (IIHS) testing regimen, one that has particular importance given the minivan’s status as a family and passenger hauler. Though Kia has worked to address the issue, some notable concerns remain. 

The 2024 Kia Carnival had a safety concern that the company addressed

IIHS testing of the 2024 Kia Carnival, which applies to model years 2022-24, revealed the second-row captain’s chair became detached from the minivan’s floor during side impact tests.

This caused the seat and the dummy passenger in the second row to tip “sideways and backward” and come to a rest on the seat and passenger’s side in the rear cargo area. The IIHS notes the seat breaking away from the floor did not seem to worsen injury measurements for these passengers, but the organization states “such separations should not occur.” 

“Such a detachment would create an obvious danger to a person sitting in that seat in a real crash,” the IIHS said, adding the loose seat could also endanger other passengers. 

The organization said it notified Kia of the issue, and the automaker strengthened the rails attaching the rear seats to the floor in models built after August 2023. Kia has created a campaign to update these rails in Carnival models manufactured before that time, free of charge. 

Despite the issue being addressed, the Carnival’s score in such testing continues to be “poor.” 

The update didn’t change the score from the IIHS

The IIHS tested the 2024 Carnival following Kia strengthening the seat/floor attachment mechanism, but it did not ultimately improve the minivan’s overall score in the IIHS’ side crash test, which was updated with more stringent guidelines in 2021. 

The organization said the rear seat did not break away from the floor following Kia’s improvements, but the Carnival was still rated poor—the lowest possible rating from the IIHS—in side crash testing. The IIHS said the Carnival’s safety cage “did not hold up well” and there remained “a high risk of injuries to the driver’s pelvis and rear passenger’s chest.” 


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Is the 2024 Kia Carnival safe?

Passenger safety is vital across all car body styles, but it takes on added significance in the minivan segment where it’s reasonable to assume most buyers will be hauling their families or plenty of passengers. Though the Carnival’s recent seat detachment is certainly concerning, the minivan can still be considered generally “safe,” though perhaps not as much as some of its rivals. 

The Carnival earned the highest possible rating overall in four of the six “crashworthiness” tests the IIHS conducts, with a “marginal” score—the second lowest—in one the institute’s updated moderate overlap front test and the unchanged “poor” rating for the updated side test.

To note, the Carnival earned the top score in the IIHS’ previous side crash test, which includes an impact from a lighter car at 31 mph instead of the 37 mph of the new test. 

The Carnival’s headlights scores were rated as both “good” and “poor”, depending on trim. Its front pedestrian crash prevention system earned the highest score in day conditions, though its nighttime performance was rated as “basic.” 

The IIHS ranked the ease of using the Carnival’s LATCH restraint system and seat belt reminders as “acceptable.” 

The Carnival’s overall ratings are closely aligned with that of the 2023 Chrysler Pacifica. The 2023 Toyota Sienna and 2023 Honda Odyssey each earned Top Safety Pick+ awards, the highest designation the organization bestows based on overall safety ratings.