We love to sing the praises of minivans, and the 2024 Kia Carnival gives us plenty to sing about. Not only is it practical, comfortable and value-packed, but it also wears SUV-inspired good looks that help van-averse drivers avoid fear. Its undulating, upright design gives the best impression of Kia’s highly coveted Telluride SUV, but look inside and you’ll find a lot more to like in the Carnival. Minivan rivals like the Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey are slightly more spacious, but the Carnival’s low load floor and high roof provide plenty of room for the average family. Opt for the second-row VIP seat and the Carnival transforms into a luxury transit with a reclining bucket meant to make road trips with picky kids easy. All models are equipped with modern driver assistance and infotainment features as well. Perhaps the only downside is the van’s front-wheel-drive layout, but we found that the 290-hp V-6 engine and a set of winter tires will put the Carnival on par with its AWD rivals when things get snowy.
What’s New for 2024?
The Carnival sees only two minor changes for 2024 and both affect the EX trim only. This mid-range trim no longer comes with automatic up/down power windows but it does include a power-operated rear liftgate.
Price and Which One to Buy
The Carnival is offered in four trim levels from the value-oriented LX to the luxurious SX Prestige, but the EX represents the sweet spot between features and price. The EX trim comes with a number of convenience features that help justify the cost of the upgrade, including a power-operated rear liftgate, an in-cabin intercom and a voice control system that allows rear-seat passengers to give commands to the Carnival infotainment system.
Engine, Transmission and Performance
The Carnival is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces a healthy 290 hp; an eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. All-wheel drive is not on the menu, as the Carnival is offered as a front-wheel drive model only. The Pacifica has an optional plug-in-hybrid powertrain and Toyota Sienna comes as a hybrid by default, but no such setup is offered on the Carnival. We were impressed by the well-balanced ride and handling of the Carnival, which is smooth while cruising but still composed in the corners. The refined V-6 engine provides quick acceleration and propels the Carnival to 60 mph in 7.0 seconds on our test track.
Real World Fuel Economy and MPG
Fuel economy ratings from the EPA for the 2023 Carnival are 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. We tested the ’22 Carnival on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of the our extensive testing regimen, and it returns 28 mpg highway—2 mpg higher than its EPA rating. For more information on Carnival’s fuel savings, visit EPA website.
Interior, Comfort and Cargo
The Carnival’s dashboard and front seating area are modern and accommodating. The large center console offers plenty of storage for small items, while optional Mercedes-style A dual-screen infotainment system with digital gauge display gives you easy access to the van’s connectivity features. The upscale SX Prestige trim comes with leather upholstery and can be ordered with reclining second-row seats that have raised footrests. While these “VIP Seats” provide a relaxing way for passengers to pass the time on long road trips, unfortunately, they can’t be removed or stored on the floor like in rival minivans, which limits the Carnival’s maximum cargo space. The panoramic sunroof is optional and provides a large opening in the second row so the kids can breathe fresh air. In our tests, we fit 14 suitcases behind the third row of seats and 48 overall with all seats folded. That’s a ton of cargo space, but it should be noted that both the Pacifica and Odyssey prove to be slightly more spacious.
Infotainment and Connectivity
While a single 8.0-inch infotainment screen is standard, dual 12.3-inch displays spanning two-thirds of the Carnival’s dashboard are optional, with one serving as a digital gauge display and the other handling infotainment duties. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard. Up to nine USB ports fill the Carnival cabin. A rear-seat entertainment system is optional starting on the SX trim, but a 12-speaker Bose stereo is limited to the top-spec SX Prestige trim.
Safety Features and Driver Assistance
Kia offers plenty of standard driver assistance featuresincludes lane keeping assist, automatic high beam headlights and blind spot monitoring, all of which help the Carnival compete with the Pacifica, Sienna and Honda Odyssey. For more information on Carnival crash test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) website. Key safety features may include:
- Standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Standard lane departure warning with lane keeping assist
- Adaptive cruise control is available
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Kia’s warranty beats its competitors, with a powertrain policy that extends to 10 years or 100,000 miles. However, unlike the Sienna, the Carnival does not come with any free scheduled maintenance.
- The limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles
- No free scheduled maintenance
Kia Carnival 2022
TYPE OF VEHICLE
front engine, front wheel drive, 7 passenger, 4 door van
PRICE AS TESTED
$42,770 (base price: $33,275)
DOHC 24-valve V-6, aluminum block and head, ports and direct fuel injection
212 in33470 cm3
290 hp @ 6400 rpm
262 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): strut/multi-link
Brakes (F/R): 12.8-in vented disc/12.8-inch disc
Tires: Continental CrossContact RX, 235/55R-19 101H M+S
Wheelbase: 121.7 inches
Length: 203.0 in
Width: 78.5 inches
Height: 68.5 inches
Total passengers: 167 feet3
Cargo volume: 40 feet3
Curb Weight: 4644 lb
C/D TEST RESULT
60 mph: 7.0 seconds
100 mph: 17.8 seconds
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.4 seconds
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.5 seconds
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.0 seconds
1/4 mile: 15.3 seconds @ 93 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 118 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 173 feet
Road grip, 300-foot skid pad: 0.82 g
The standing start acceleration time leaves a 1-foot launch of 0.3 seconds.
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 22/19/26 mpg
C/D TESTS EXPLAINED
More Features and Specifications