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Kia Might have an 11-Seater Minivan on the Way

Minivans have been popular family vehicles since their introduction. Some may argue if their introduction to the mainstream consumer began with the VW Combi or the Dodge Caravan. However, nobody can argue with the fact that a minivan can carry a good amount of people and still provide a relatively spacious feel. At most, though, there were only three rows of seating in minivans. But that may be changing. How does a fourth row sound?

Kia Sedona minivan has another name overseas

A Kia Carnival (Korean Kia Sedona) minivan sits in a driveway in this front quarter view of the gray minivan.
The 2021 Kia Carnival is the Korean version of the Kia Sedona | Kia Motors

The Kia Sedona minivan is known overseas as the Carnival. Aside from engine choices and emissions equipment, the overseas models tend to be almost identical when they come to the United States. So, a recent change to the newest Carnival may foreshadow what will reach our shores pretty soon.

A redesigned 2021 Kia Sedona is coming

The new 2021 Kia Carnival minivan went through a full redesign. The new proportions make the vehicle longer and wider than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been stretched just over an inch. Overall, the minivan sits almost 2 inches longer. The cabin has been widened about an inch over its predecessor.

A view of the rear three quarter of the 2021 Kia Sedona minivan in gray.
The 2021 Kia Carnival is the Korean version of the Kia Sedona | Kia Motors

The new dimensions of the 2021 Kia Carnival are made possible by a new platform. That platform permits Kia the flexibility to offer additional seating based on the market the vehicle is being shipped to for sale. So, seating in the minivan can actually grow to include a fourth row for a grand total of eleven positions.

A 4-row minivan is unheard of

Four rows in a minivan are unheard of. In fact, it is unheard of in most SUVs. If Kia brings the Sedona over to US shores with the four-row seating configuration, it will be a game-changer. Keep in mind that the dimensions of the vehicle did not change that much from one year to the next. Even still adding a fourth row means more rooms for baby seats and smaller passengers. Until we have one equipped with the fourth row in our press fleet, we can not speak to the fourth-row comfort for adults-sized people. The seating arrangement is explained in the video below beginning at the 8:05 timestamp.

Safety features will also abound in the new 2021 Kia Sedona. Lane-keep-assist, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision-avoidance assistance, and car, cyclist, and pedestrian detection are all available, to name a few. Another feature, which is relatively new to the market is the Safe Exit Assist technology. This prevents power-sliding rear doors from opening if a vehicle approaches from behind.

“The design of the new Carnival presents a concept focusing on two essential points. First, as a minivan with a great exterior design that feels like a premium SUV; second, maximized interior space satisfying our customers’ needs, and maybe even surprising them with more intuitive and positive experiences.” – Karim Habib, Senior Vice President and Head of Kia Global Design.

A profile view of a gray 2021 Kia Sedona minivan.
The 2021 Kia Carnival is the Korean version of the Kia Sedona | Kia Motors

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Redesigned Sedona minivan sales later this year

According to the press release this morning, “The new Kia Carnival will go on-sale in Korea starting today with sales due to commence in many of Kia’s global markets from later in the year.” That information usually foreshadows what will happen in the United States as well. Although, over here the name will change to Sedona.

The tan interior of the 2021 Kia Sedona is seen from the front to the back.
The 2021 Kia Carnival is the Korean version of the Kia Sedona | Kia Motors

Other minivans in the US market right now do not have the fourth-row capability. If the 2021 Kia Sedona does make it over here optionally equipped that way, then expect a marketing campaign that will play up that feature. In the meantime, we will have to wait for the roll-out of the redesigned US minivan.