Kia Carnival vs. Kia Sedona

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

If you’re hauling the whole family, the Kia of choice has historically been the Sedona. For 2022, there’s a new kid on the block — the sharp Kia Carnival. Both vehicles offer three-row seating, maximum comfort, and a surplus of cargo space. So what’s separates the two minivans? Here’s a comparison of key specs and features to help you make an informed decision as a minivan buyer.

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

What The Carnival Gets Right

The 2022 Kia Carnival is the replacement for the outgoing Sedona. Much of the world has known Kia’s minivan as the Carnival since its release, but North America is only now catching up. The 2022 Carnival is a full redesign, complete with a new powertrain.

To go with the new name, the Carnival gets a revised exterior. It borrows heavily from the popular Kia Telluride, with a boxy SUV-like silhouette. We like it — it’s a refreshing change from the typical silhouettes that are common in the minivan segment.

Inside, the Carnival squeezes out a few extra feet of cargo space. With the third row folded, the Carnival has a capacity of nearly 87 cubic feet, about 8.5 more than the 2021 Sedona. Another bonus: the Carnival’s second-row seats are removable, which gives it an advantage over the Sedona on hardware-store runs.

While the Carnival’s starting price is higher than the Sedona’s, it comes with more features. Compared to a base Sedona, the Carnival LX has a larger infotainment touchscreen, wireless smartphone compatibility, and additional active safety features.

Finally, the new Sedona gets a power bump. The V-6 engine displaces 3.5 liters (versus 3.3 in the outgoing model) and makes 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. That gives the Carnival an advantage of 14 hp over the Sedona.

What The Sedona Gets Right

The Sedona’s main draw is its price. In most trims, the Sedona is several thousand dollars cheaper than an equivalent Carnival.

That means that buyers could step into a mid-range Sedona LX for not much more than a base Carnival. The LX brings extra creature comforts like leather upholstery, heated front seats, wireless charging, and keyless entry.

Although the Sedona’s powertrain is slightly less powerful than the Carnival’s, both vehicles share the same towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Passenger space is also close to identical, and both can seat eight in relative comfort.

Out With The Old, In With The New

The choice between the Sedona and Carnival is typical for model changeovers. The new generation has more features and space, while the outgoing model is cheaper.

If functionality is the most important priority, the Sedona gets the job done for less. The two models are mechanically similar in most respects.

On day-to-day usability, however, the Carnival pulls ahead. It’s more stylish, more spacious, and more versatile.

Our Verdict: Kia Carnival

The 2021 Sedona offers good value, especially if you can find a discount. As a people-hauler, however, the Carnival is our choice. Its extra features, upgraded powertrain, and sharp design are worth the price premium.

Take a closer look at the Kia Carnival »

Take a closer look at the Kia Sedona »

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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