In an era where minivans have witnessed a decline in popularity, Kia has taken a distinctive approach by combining the versatility of a minivan with the visual appeal of an SUV, coining the term “MPV” or Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
Kia unveiled the Carnival in 2022, with its design crafted by the Kia Design Center in Irvine, California. Despite not boasting all-wheel drive capabilities or an off-road persona, the Carnival exudes a rugged exterior. However, once you step inside, you’ll encounter the true essence of a minivan. Dual sliding doors facilitate effortless entry and exit, while the adaptable seating configurations can comfortably accommodate up to eight passengers. Even those seated in the third row are treated to generous headroom and legroom, complete with cupholders and USB ports to enhance the overall travel experience. Notably, a cabin camera and intercom system enable front-seat occupants to stay connected with passengers in the rear seats.
The most surprising aspect of the Carnival is its driving dynamics. Despite its substantial size, it defies the stereotype of sluggish cornering, offering stability with minimal body lean. Cruising at highway speeds provides a comfortable and quiet ride. With 290 horsepower under the hood, it also delivers an enjoyable driving performance, although there’s room for improvement in terms of fuel efficiency. A more eco-friendly hybrid variant, similar to the offerings from Toyota and Chrysler, could be a future consideration for the Carnival, especially considering Kia’s lineup of hybrid models.
Kia may have attempted to rebrand the Carnival as an SUV or MPV to distance it from the minivan category, but its capacious interior, exceptional utility, and impressive on-road attributes leave no doubt that the Carnival is not just any minivan—it’s an outstanding one.
For the 2024 model year, the Kia Carnival maintains its current form, with only minor packaging updates introduced, ensuring it continues to embody the winning formula that sets it apart.