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The 2022 Kia Sedona Actually Looks . . . Cool?

Maybe you believe that minivans are not the style icons of the automotive world. We’d understand if you see them as common fixtures in suburbia, driven by harried parents taking loads of kids to soccer games or the mall. But Kia wants to change your perception of them. The Korean automaker is hoping that after you take a peek at the 2022 Kia Sedona you’ll never look at a minivan the same way again.

A new look for the 2022 Kia Sedona

Matt DeLorenzo from Kelley Blue Book reports that the Kia will introduce a completely redesigned Sedona later this year for the 2022 model year. This version will be called the Carnival in its home market of Korea. For the U.S. market, it will reach dealerships sometime in 2021.

The automaker also seems to be trying to move the Sedona away from the minivan concept by dubbing it a Grand Utility Vehicle. Its boxy, SUV-like styling cues support a shift from a van-like vehicle built on a passenger car platform. This vehicle also doesn’t have the rounded hood so typical of minivans, either.

Instead, Kia has moved the A-pillar of the 2022 Sedona toward the rear, further defining its hood. The windshield is less slanted, which integrates well into the Sedona’s distinctly boxlike shape. Passengers riding in the newest Sedona will enjoy more cabin space and utility thanks to a shortened hood as well as a longer wheelbase. 

Another design feature that signals an SUV is the blacked-out A- and B-pillars that play up the large C-pillar. The emphasis on the C-pillar is enhanced by a large angle of chrome trim that stretches underneath the rear window and over the tailgate.

All of these changes add up to a unified appearance for the newest Kia Sedona. It’s a look that reminds us of a crossover or even a truck but certainly not a people hauler.

The 2022 Sedona bears a resemblance to other Kia family members

RELATED: The 2020 Kia Sedona Disappoints in All the Wrong Areas

There’s one styling element we haven’t mentioned that this Sedona shares with its siblings: Kia’s signature “tiger-nose” grille. The carmaker has been using variations on a trapezoidal shape with separate headlights for its models for several years now. It’s a flexible feature that Kia designers tweak for each model.

Currently, it graces the much-praised Telluride. It’s instantly recognizable on this SUV because this grille variation is larger and more rectangular like the vehicle itself. The headlights are also rectangles but are upended ones. By comparison, the new Seltos has a more streamlined version with slanted headlights that are more suitable for a smaller SUV. 

We can think of the tiger-nose grille on the 2022 Kia Sedona as something in between the extreme boxiness of the Telluride’s grille and the Seltos’ more sloped version. In fact, Kia would like us to think of the grilles on its latest models as tiger masks, not merely tiger noses, according to Car and Driver. The tiger-nose grille is integrated beautifully with the LED lighting elements on both the left and right sides.

KBB’s DeLorenzo says that the new Sorento will also sport this evolved grille when it’s rolled out later this year.

But how about the 2021 Kia Sedona?

Kia doesn’t plan to release specs for the 2022 Sedona until closer to its launch. But the 2021 model year is waiting in the wings. While not quite as truckish in appearance as the 2022 Sedona, it’s less vanlike than competitors such as the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Honda Odyssey.

The 2021 Kia Sedona is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 276 hp. It has three rows and seats either seven or eight passengers.

Right now, the only drivetrain available on the Sedona is front-wheel drive. But if Kia decides to transition the Sedona to the Telluride’s platform, all-wheel drive could be an option. This move would give the Sedona some traction when challenging rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica and the Toyota Sienna.

Four trim levels are available on the 2021 Kia Sedona: the L, LX, EX, and SX. Pricing begins at $30,400 for the L trim level and tops out at $41,500 for the SX.