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Shopping for a new minivan? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-profit organization that tests vehicles to make sure that they’re safe and publishes its results so that consumers can make informed decisions. One way to do that is to use the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list when car shopping. And for those shopping for a new minivan, you may be surprised to learn that you have lots of options – in fact, just one minivan doesn’t make the Top Safety Pick+ list. Here’s why despite the 2022 Kia Carnival’s great safety ratings, it comes up just short of a top award.

A 2022 Kia Carnival minivan/multi-purpose vehicle driving through an urban city
2022 Kia Carnival | Kia America

The 2022 Kia Carnival is the only minivan that isn’t an IIHS Top Safety Pick+

If you prioritize safety, you’ll want to consider the IIHS list of the safest vehicles. There are two lists: the Top Safety Pick and the Top Safety Pick+. There are four minivans that have been rated by the IIHS and three of them are Top Safety Pick+ vehicles. Yet the 2022 Kia Carnival is not. So what makes the Kia Carnival less safe than the other minivans on the list? Let’s look at a breakdown of the Carnival compared to the other minivans. 

To be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ minivan, the vehicle has to have all good crashworthiness scores. These categories include things like the small overlap test on the driver and passenger side as well as the moderate overlap test and the original side crash test. It also most have superior or advanced safety systems as well as good or acceptable headlights available on all vehicles. 

The Kia Carnival has all good crashworthiness scores 

The 2022 Kia Carnival has good scores in every single crashworthiness category. In addition, it has superior vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-passenger safety systems, which is the highest score it can get. These ratings apply to both the standard as well as the optional systems. 

It’s the headlights where things fall apart. The 2022 Kia Carnival’s headlights are rated both good and poor. The good rating applies to the SX Prestige trim level while the poor rating is for the other three trims: the LX, EX, and the SX. If you decide to buy a Carnival, you’ll want to make sure you choose the SX Prestige. Still, this is enough for the Carnival to be rated a Top Safety Pick. 

Three other minivans make the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ 

The other three minivans tested by the IIHS include the 2022 Chrysler Pacifica, the 2022 Honda Odyssey, and the 2022 Toyota Sienna. Each of these are on the Top Safety Pick+ list. 

The Pacifica’s vehicle-to-pedestrian safety system is just advanced but it’s only available headlights are acceptable. The Honda Odyssey has all good ratings and acceptable headlights. And the Toyota Sienna has an advanced vehicle-to-pedestrian system and good headlights. 

No matter which minivan you choose, you’re likely to get a great vehicle. Each of these choices offer a good blend of safety, style, and comfort. If you decide to go with the Carnival, just make sure that you pick one with good headlights – or at least consider buying one of the other minivans. 


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