Not many minivans have survived in today’s SUV-laden market. Formerly popular models like the Ford Windstar, Nissan Quest, and Dodge Grand Caravan are gone. The Kia Sedona has been discontinued. Those that remain trustily serve drivers who need a larger vehicle to haul their families. But the upcoming Kia Carnival redefines the minivan.
The 2022 Kia Carnival
One thing the 2022 Kia Carnival has going for it is its looks. For a minivan, it’s dynamic-looking and SUV-like, and that could help drive sales. In fact, Kia calls its Sedona replacement an “MPV,” or multi-purpose vehicle, not a minivan. But its side doors open like a minivan’s.
It will offer a single powertrain with a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel-drive configuration. The V6 gets 290 hp, giving it adequate power. The testers at Car and Driver found it had more grip and better stopping power than arguably its biggest competitor, the Chrysler Pacifica.
On the inside, the Carnival offers a modern experience. A large center comes with an available dual-screen infotainment system with a digital display for the gauges. There’s also an optional panoramic sunroof so that you can get some fresh air in the back for an invigorating experience.
And the interior is roomy. Kia has extended the Carnival’s overall length and wheelbase. There’s more room for passengers and their stuff.
The Car and Driver staff packed 14 carry-on suitcases behind the third row. When all the seats in the back were down, they were able to stow 48 of them.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica has over three decades of minivan design behind it. There’s plenty of reasons why Car and Driver claimed it’s the top minivan available today.
The Pacifica’s engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that gets 287 hp. It’s paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and gets 31 mpg, Chrysler claims. That puts it at the front of the class when it comes to fuel economy. The hybrid version is even more efficient.
The Pacifica seats up to eight passengers with its patented Stow ‘n Go seating. With seating that folds flat into the floor, this minivan offers generous storage space. There’s even more room here than in the new Carnival.
The materials used in Pacifica’s cabin are upscale and refined. The build quality is equally good. This minivan is loaded with cup holders, clever storage spaces, and great connectivity features.
The seats in the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica aren’t as padded as those in the Carnival because they need to flatten enough to fold into the floor. So, is it worth it? The Car and Driver team fit 53 carry-on suitcases in the back with all seats stowed.
The 2021 models have optional all-wheel drive, updated headlights, taillights, and a 10.1-inch touchscreen. There’s an optional onboard vacuum cleaner, too. Or you can choose an available mini-spare tire instead.
Which minivan offers more storage?
Though the Kia Carnival looks exciting, it’s neither much larger nor smaller than the Chrysler Pacifica. Kia claims it has class-leading cargo and passenger space, but the Pacifica actually boasts more space. It provides the practicality of a minivan with some of the best features of an SUV.
The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica has a huge portion of storage space behind its third row that’s easy to fold manually. It’s also available with a power-folding option.
The second row of seats makes the Pacifica a star. They fold into the floor quickly and with minimal fuss. You can also use those storage spaces for cargo when you’re using the seats. The abundance of innovative storage spaces inside the Pacifica makes it ideal for families on the go.