Kia’s new 8-passenger 2022 Carnival: an SUV alternative for growing families

With bold looks, ample cargo and a premium interior, Kia's new 8-passenger hauler is what families need right now.

Kia takes the wraps off its new full-size vehicle for families on the go. Dubbed a Life Utility Vehicle (LUV), the 2022 Carnival sits on a new and lighter platform, sports strong SUV looks with clean lines, minivan-esque functionality with an upscale interior, and a V6 engine under the hood. 

Within a saturated SUV market that evidently hates on minivans, the Carnival is a refreshing option for larger families with busy lifestyles. And while the mid-size Kia Telluride does offer 2nd-row captain’s chairs, it can’t touch the cargo benefits of the Carnival, which appears to replace the Sedona (though Kia hasn’t officially said so at time of this writing).

Below, a quick Sedona vs Carnival comparison:

2019 Kia Sedona best minivans2022 Kia Carnival
2019 Sedona (Left. Photo: Kia) Vs 2022 Carnival (Right. Photo: Kia)

And here’s a look at the other Kia sport utilities out right now.

Under the hood

Powering the new Carnival is a 3.5L V6 engine paired to 8-speed automatic transmission. The  newcomer sits atop Kia’s new w N3 platform which the Korean states is “lighter, stronger, quieter, safer, more stable than ever.” Fuel economy improves as well courtesy of aerodynamic improvements to the wheels, front bumper air curtain and mirrors.

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As for safety features for everyday driving, the family hauler boasts the goods, including:

  • Lane Keeping and Following Assist
  • Smart Cruise Control
  • Driver Attention Warning
  • High Beam Assist
  • Parking Distance Warning (standard rear sensors and available front sensors)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with available Junction Turning
  • Rear Occupant Alert
  • Available Surround-View Monitor
  • Available Blind-Spot View Monitor
  • Available Smart Cruise Control with Highway Driving Assist
  • Available Safe Exit Assist

Futuristic design with clean lines

Yes, this isn’t a minivan, void of that coveted sliding door. But let’s be honest — the Carnival will likely cater to families who actually value the long-lost vehicle, and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

2022 Kia Carnival
2022 Carnival. Photo: Kia

While taking on a more van-like look with its long design and squared-off rear, the Carnival really does pull off a modern, bold SUV design: the front face is sculpted yet clean; same goes for the rear end with a simple horizontal look sporting a very sleek end-to-end taillight with a cool futuristic light feature. Rear skid plate garnish and reflectors adds to strong look as well. 

Styling options include black and chrome door moldings and chromefinished c-pillar, and large two-toned mirrors, geometric shapes and a rear wiper that tucks away. 

2022 Kia Carnival interior

2022 Kia Carnival interior
2022 Carnival. Photo: Kia

At first glance, the Carnival’s interior appears upscale, particularly in these photos with the black on brown leather layout (3D HydroGrafic trim and premium stitching details is optional). The chrome detail extending the length of the dash, coupled with the slim metal air vents, is a nice touch. 

Up front, the dash and controls are straightforward and well-designed, sporting a centre facia with premium, high-gloss black materials, housing a panoramic dashboard display including a 12.3-inch touchscreen. 

Ramped up seating for up to 8 passengers & VIP Lounge Seats

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Kia’s calling them VIP Lounge Seats and we can see why: optional power-adjustable, heated or air-cooled seats gaining leg rests and head rests. Proper movie theatre, business-class style reclining seats that may have just changed the 2nd-row seating game. 

Both 7- and 8-passenger seating options are customizable, where the second row of the 8-passenger version finds a long-sliding centre seat opening up space when needed, or when the kiddoes need to jump in the back a little easier. 

2022 Kia Carnival interior
2022 Carnival. Photo: Kia

For even more space, the third-row can disappear into the floor, while the second-row seats in the 8-passenger model can be individually removed. 

Other tech and features families expect these days — like Apple CarPlay, wireless charging, USB ports — are also available in the Carnival. Here’s a shortlist: 

  • Up to 9 USB ports and up to 2 inverters
  • Available Bose Premium Sound System
  • Kia’s available UVO Intelligence
  • Quiet Mode
  • Passenger View
  • Available Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 
  • Available Wireless Smartphone Charging 
  • Multi-Bluetooth Connectivity

Takeaway

If the 2022 Carnival is indeed the new Kia Sedona replacement (it is), we’ll take it. Frankly, not all families are looking for SUVs, even at the full-size scale. 

Like its predecessor, the Carnival is a great option for larger families who travel a fair bit — families looking for the latest tech, an upscale interior, flexible seating arrangements with modular features, all packaged into a good-looking machine parents can be proud to park on the garage pad. 

Here’s a look at more 2021 and 2022 sport utilities.

Release date, trims and 2022 Carnival pricing

The Carnival hits the market spring 2021, and will be available in 5 trims:

  • LX
  • LX+
  • EX
  • EX+
  • SX

US pricing hasn’t been released but in Canada the 2022 Carnival with start at $34,495.

Interior and exterior 2022 Kia Carnival pictures:

Amee Reehalhttp://www.ameereehal.com/
Shooting cars professionally since film was a thing, Amee's work has appeared in various outlets including NBC Sports, Chicago Tribune, SuperStreet, GlobeDrive, MotorTrend, and others. He's the managing editor & founder of TractionLife.com. Find him travelling, spending time with his kids and family. Or golfing, poorly.
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