Kia Carnival vs. Telluride

By

Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - January 23, 2023
2023 Kia Carnival

After dropping the Kia Sedona minivan in 2021, Kia returned with an all-new minivan called the Carnival in 2022. The Carnival represents a dramatic shift over the Sedona and is a standout choice in the class, because of its SUV-like styling, upscale cabin, and punchy V6 engine. For consumers that want a minivan that doesn’t look or feel like a minivan, the Carnival is an absolute knockout.

Ever since its arrival in 2020, the Kia Telluride has been a highly-rated option in the midsize segment. The Telluride is a stylish, comfortable, value-packed, and upscale midsize SUV. Kia’s incredibly popular midsize SUV received an update for 2023, arriving with a refreshed design and new tech features. Additionally, new rugged X-Line and X-Pro trims have joined the lineup.

Shoppers looking for a family-friendly vehicle may find themselves cross-shopping the Carnival against the Telluride. In this comparison, we’ll compare the Carnival against the Telluride when it comes to pricing, size, performance, and cargo capacity to name a winner.

Kia Carnival vs. Telluride Price

2023 Kia Carnival

The Kia Carnival is the more affordable option of the two. Pricing for the Kia Carnival starts at $34,465 for the cheapest LX trim, while the most affordable Kia Telluride LX has a starting price of $37,255. That’s a difference of $2,790 in the Carnival’s favor.

The two vehicles differ immensely when you compare range-topping trims to one another. The Kia Carnival SX Prestige costs $47,565 and the high-end Kia Telluride SX Prestige X-Pro carries a starting price tag of $54,350. Consumers looking to get a fully loaded model can save $6,785 by choosing the Carnival.

Consumers won’t find many Kia Telluride or Kia Carnival deals. Lease and rebate deals are scarce for these vehicles.

In the segment, the Carnival stands out as one of the more affordable options in the segment, undercutting the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna. The Telluride, on the other hand, is one of the pricier SUVs in the midsize segment.

Kia Carnival vs. Telluride Dimensions

2022 Kia Telluride Interior

Both the Kia Carnival and Telluride offer seating for up to eight people across three rows of seating but differ in how much room passengers get on the inside. The Carnival is 6.1 inches longer than the Telluride. Despite having a taller greenhouse and a design that makes it look wider, the Telluride and Carnival are within an inch of one another when it comes to width and height.

The Carnival’s extra length is apparent in the third row where the minivan has 4.2 more inches of legroom compared to the Telluride. Overall, the Carnival’s cabin offers more passenger space than the Telluride’s, as the minivan has 11.1 cubic feet more of passenger space.

While the Telluride can’t match the Carnival’s overall passenger space or third-row legroom figure, the SUV has more space in the second row. With 40.2 inches of second-row headroom and 42.4 inches of second-row legroom, the Telluride’s second row offers roughly 0.7 more inches of headroom and 2 more inches of legroom compared to the Carnival.

Kia Carnival vs. Telluride Performance

2023 Kia Telluride Gauge

Kia offers the Carnival and Telluride with a standard V6 engine. The 3.5-liter V6 engine in the Carnival is rated at up to 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The Telluride comes with a larger 3.8-liter V6 that produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque.

Despite coming with a larger engine, the Telluride basically has the same output as the Carnival. Unsurprisingly, both vehicles deliver strong performance off the line, but can be slightly underpowered for overtaking on the highway.

The Telluride has one major benefit over the Carnival: it’s available with all-wheel drive. While some minivans in the segment have gained AWD as an option, the Carnival is only available with front-wheel drive. For consumers that are looking for a vehicle for light off-roading or one that can handle inclement weather, the Telluride has a large advantage over the Carnival.

Kia Carnival vs. Telluride Cargo Space

2023 Kia Carnival Cargo

SUVs continue to grow in size, but they still can’t match minivans. Well, midsize SUVs can’t match minivans, yet.

The Telluride offers up to 21 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, 46 cubic feet of space behind the second row, and a total of 87 cubic feet of cargo space. These figures are above average for the midsize class, but they can’t match the Carnival.

The Carnival has 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, which is almost double what the Telluride has. Folding the third row down opens the cargo capacity by 86.9 cubic feet of space and, in total, the Carnival offers up to 145.1 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Kia Carnival vs. Telluride: Which Is Better?

Most people looking for a three-row vehicle with roomy seats will find the Kia Carnival to be a better option. It has a roomier interior, a lot more third-row legroom, and a massive cargo area. Despite being a minivan, the Carnival looks like an SUV, comes with a powerful V6 engine, and has features, like fancy second-row lounge seats, that will make passengers feel like millionaires.

Despite all of the Carnival’s strengths, most consumers will gravitate toward the Telluride. The Telluride has a few advantages with available AWD and its traditional SUV design being two main ones that will really sway shoppers.

Unlike the Carnival, the Telluride offers some light off-roading capability with the X-Pro trims and can tow up to 5,550 pounds or 2,000 pounds more than the Carnival. The Telluride is one of the best midsize SUVs on the sale today, so while it doesn’t win this comparison, it’s still a great choice.

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

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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