Kia Carnival vs. Chrysler Pacifica

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - May 19, 2021

The Chrysler Pacifica took the minivan world by storm in 2017, earning critical acclaim and impressive sales numbers. This year, Kia responded with the 2022 Kia Carnival, which replaces the aging Sedona. The Carnival is an all-new design, and it has the Pacifica squarely in its crosshairs.

Which minivan reigns supreme? Here’s our comparison of key specs and features to help make choosing between these two models easier for buyers.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Kia Carnival & the Chrysler Pacifica »

What The Carnival Gets Right

In classic Kia fashion, the Carnival’s allure comes mainly from value. In base form, the Carnival is more than $3,000 cheaper than the Pacifica. The Chrysler is available in stripped-down Voyager form, but that model is largely marketed to fleet buyers and can’t match the Carnival’s features.

Those features are impressive for the price. The Carnival starts with an eight-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, power-sliding side doors, and an impressive array of active safety tech.

In the upper trims, the Carnival has a few tricks the Pacifica can’t match. The best is the heated and cooled airline-style second-row seats, which have power-up footrests for the ultimate in family luxury.

Finally, Kia’s warranty is the better of the two. The Carnival’s limited warranty is good for 5 years or 60,000 miles, and the powertrain for 10 years/10,000 miles. Both outstrip the Pacifica’s guarantees.

What The Pacifica Gets Right

Although both vehicles start with a V-6 engine producing just under 300 horsepower, the Pacifica offers additional powertrain options (the Carnival is stuck with just the one). Most notably, the Pacifica Hybrid is available with a plug-in hybrid system. So equipped, the Pacifica PHEV is rated up to 30 mpg combined, with an all-electric range of 32 miles.

All-wheel drive is another point in the Pacifica’s favor. The Carnival is limited to front-wheel drive only, which means the Pacifica will likely be the choice for snow-state buyers. Unfortunately, all-wheel drive is only available on non-hybrid Pacificas.

While the Pacifica has a higher starting price, it justifies it with useful features. It comes with a larger infotainment screen, and the system is compatible with Amazon Alexa in addition to Apple and Android. We’re big fans of the Pacifica’s fold-away seating, which tucks neatly into the cargo floor. The Carnival’s second row is heavy and difficult to remove, which gives the Pacifica the edge in cargo versatility.

No Bad Choice

Truth be told, neither of these minivans is a bad buy. The Carnival fixes most of our complaints about the outgoing Sedona, and it offers strong value. The Pacifica’s powertrain options and flexible seating arrangements are equally hard to turn down.

One deciding factor may be styling, where the two take different approaches. The Pacifica offers an elegant take on a classic minivan shape, while the Carnival takes cues from the Kia Telluride for a boxier SUV profile. We find both attractive, but they may appeal to different buyers.

Our Verdict: Chrysler Pacifica

The Kia Carnival is a formidable competitor, but the Pacifica keeps its crown. It fulfills family duties with admirable panache, and its plug-in powertrain pushes it just ahead of the Carnival. Both are worth a long look for shoppers — along with the new hybrid-only Toyota Sienna, these are some of the best vans on the market.

Take a closer look at the Kia Carnival »

Take a closer look at the Chrysler Pacifica »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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