The Kia Sedona was always a bit of a wild card entry into the minivan segment. As the sole Korean competitor for years, the Sedona had to compete with stalwarts like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, but it held its own, providing a lower-cost option for anyone looking to expand their family-hauling capabilities.
It’s safe to say that the Kia Sedona had a good run over the past 20 years and now it’s being replaced by the all-new Carnival, which boasts more room, more tech, and bolder styling. It looks like a great replacement for the aging Sedona, but what is the all-new Kia Carnival? And will the automaker eventually regret naming it that?
The Kia Carnival is more than just a name
First things first, Kia made note that the Carnival is technically not a minivan, instead, it’s a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV) because it splits the difference between being a family-hauling minivan and a genuine SUV. And we can see what they mean as the Carnival makes a pretty bold statement with its “tiger nose” front grille, brawny wheel arches, and a cutline that connects the headlights to the taillights. The automaker even wanted to make a bigger statement by debuting its new “Kia” logo on the Carnival.
On the inside, the Carnival makes an even bolder statement with its best-in-class overall passenger and cargo volume, which measure at 168.2 and 145.1 cubic feet, respectively. As far as the other notable improvements over the outgoing Sedona, the Carnival will be available in a seven or eight-passenger configuration with optional VIP Lounge Seating in the second row as well as a fold-down third row for when extra space is needed.
There is also a new Rear Passenger View camera, a Passenger Talk intercom system, and dual rear screen entertainment monitors, which means that your family and friends will surely be entertained when you don’t have to keep them in line. And in case you’re wondering what’s under the hood, the Carnival is powered by a 290-hp, 3.5-liter V6 that also puts out 262 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 3,500 pounds, so we know where the “SUV” part of the equation lies.
It has a lot of promise, but why did Kia name it the ‘Carnival?’
Just as Kia renamed the redesigned Optima the “K5,” the automaker decided to go the same route when renaming the Sedona. “As we saw with the K5, when our newest vehicle makes such a big pivot from the previous version on the refinement, performance and design scales, we look to embrace the burgeoning strength and momentum of Kia on the global stage and further “shock the segment,” said James Bell, Director of Corporate Communications for Kia. And it all makes sense, considering the Sedona has been known as the “Carnival” since 1999 outside of the U.S.
But will the automaker regret naming it the Carnival? Bell doesn’t seem to think so, as he even noted in its debut that the Carnival “transcends” expectations as its luxurious features and strong styling cues are sure to set it apart from the rest of the pack.
If anything, the Kia Carnival will show us that minivans are cool again
While Toyota tried to dub the Sienna the “Swagger Wagon” and Honda incorporated a vacuum in the Odyssey, it looks like Kia is upping the ante with the new Carnival. All these cool new changes and innovative features undoubtedly make the Carnival a wild card entry again, however, its new styling – and shiny new badge — shows promise that it’s more than just a simple repurposing of a global nameplate.