An established nameplate gives way to global model.
Model names come and go, but there are some strong exceptions. Indeed, the Chevrolet Suburban, Toyota Corolla, and Honda Accord are names that span decades and are not going anywhere.
On the other hand, Kia has purged names in the past, including the Spectra and Sephia, and more recently the Optima in favor of the K5. Next up is the Sedona, which will lose its model name in 2022 when the Kia Carnival debuts. The Carnival name rolled out in 1998 for Kia’s global market, but the Korean automaker chose Sedona for the U.S., naming it after an Arizona community.
Introducing the 2022 Kia Carnival
Beginning in 2022, with the release of the fourth-generation Kia minivan, the Carnival name will reign supreme across the globe. The new model is already on sale in Korea, coming in slightly larger and better equipped than before. Likely, we’ll see the Carnival arrive stateside by the end of this calendar year.
The Kia Carnival is 1.2 inches longer between the wheels and 1.6 inches longer overall than the 2021 Sedona. It sits slightly wide too, 0.4 inches, and its lift over height is lowered by one inch, making it easier to load through the power-sliding doors and the tailgate.
Although both gas- and diesel-powered models are sold in most markets, the U.S. model will be governed by a 3.5-liter V6 engine generating 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. No, there won’t be an all-wheel-drive version as we have seen in the Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica.
Room for 11
The Korean-spec model features as many as four rows of seating, with room for 11. To date, no other minivan has offered room for more than eight, including the Sedona. Thus, Kia is calling this model a “grand utility vehicle,” to set it apart from the competition, which also includes the Honda Odyssey.
The Kia Carnival will have several features that are new to the segment, including a class-leading 12.3-inch touch-screen display. Equally, the instrument panel has its own 12.3-inch display – the two screens unite to form a singular panel. In addition, the new Kia model will have its share of tech features, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Kia connected services, Bluetooth, and multiple USB ports spread throughout the cabin.
Full Suite of Safety Features
On the safety front, the Kia Carnival will feature a long list of important items, including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance assistance with pedestrian and cyclist assist, driver attention warning, speed limited assist, a surround-view monitor, and adaptive cruise control with full stop and go.
We anticipate Kia will offer additional features to enhance its safety package. These items include adaptive cruise control and perhaps a semi-autonomous driving feature with automatic inputs to keep the van centered. Various park assist features utilizing sonars should become available. Manufacturers continue to aim for the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-star ratings when designing their vehicles and the Kia Carnival is no exception.
Coming to America
Though details about the U.S.-spec model remain scant as of this writing, we expect the current LX, EX, and SX trims to continue, with perhaps a range-topping Limited or Platinum trim featuring all the bells and whistles Kia can muster. The 2021 Sedona is priced from $30,400, plus destination. We may see a higher price point as Kia eschews its budget mantle for a premium model.
Further, a full range of exterior color choices, wheel options, lighting upgrades, and roof options will provide separation from the pack. Inside, everything from spill-resistant cloth to imitation leather and on through real hides with wood trim will supply differentiation. Finally, a variety of seat comfort options, including heating and ventilation, a heated steering wheel, and perhaps massaging for the front passengers seems possible.
In all, the 2022 Kia Carnival should find its place in the shrinking minivan segment, perhaps breathing new life and giving customers a strong option to utility vehicles, including the Kia Telluride. Auto Trends will have more information about this model closer to its release date or when we receive a model to review, whichever comes first.
See Also — Buying Guide: 2020 Kia Sedona
Photos copyright Kia Motors Global. All rights reserved.