Can minivans be cool? I think that’s the most apt question to be asking when talking about the Kia Carnival. It looks good, not what you’d expect from a minivan; the Carnival seemingly gets more attention than a minivan should , too. We spent a week with the Carnival SX to see what it was all about.
Our Carnival looked as cool as possible with its Ceramic Silver paint and black wheels. If you look quickly, you cannot tell this is a minivan, or as Kia likes to call it, an MPV (multi purpose vehicle). You can tell Kia did their homework here as this design flows well and hides the dreaded sliding door as best as possible. Inside the Carnival is well appointed with leather seats – heated and cooled in the front – and, on our tester, a bench seat for the second row. Stepping up to the SX Prestige gets you the very cool second row captains chairs with recline feature. Unfortunately our dogs missed that boat this week, but they enjoyed their stay nonetheless.
The biggest surprise of the week wasn’t even the styling. The Carnival not only bucks the minivan styling, it doesn’t drive like one either. The Carnival Shares its 3.5L V6 with the Telluride, but power is sent to the front wheels only so you’ve got some torque steer and potential tire squealing fun if you’re really pining for it. The steering is fairly mundane, nothing about that was too surprising, but the ride and handling was above our expectations. The Carnival had very little body roll, and any occupants remained comfortable when hustling a little bit more on those weekend errand trips. The transmission was compliant, but a bit jerky when in the Smart drive mode. When in Normal or Sport is functioned smoothly and shifts were imperceptible. The aforementioned V6 pulled the Carnival with a similar feel to Telluride and made merges onto the highway a simple task.
Up front, the driver and passenger are treated to a bevy of safety features as standard, along with some new tech that allows you to project your voice to the occupants in the rear of the car. This isespecially entertaining with our two dogs; they don’t seem to understand where the voice is coming from. The infotainment is typical Kia, which means it was responsive and user friendly. We’d like to see a larger screen and a lot less piano black trim that will inevitably get scratched. It is important to note that for 2022, Kia’s side-by-side 12.3 inch driver and infotainment display will be optional.
We typically don’t review minivans here at Limited Slip Blog, but with our dogs in tow and the weekend errand to run, we decided to switch it up and try out the coolest minivan there is. Safe to say we answered our own question. Yes, minivans can finally be cool.
|2022 Kia Carnival SX||$41,100|
|Ceramic Silver Paint||$495|