The Kia Carnival debuted in 2022 and includes only minor packaging changes for the 2024 model year.
Choosing Your Kia Carnival
The Kia Carnival is offered in four trim levels: LX, EX, SX, and SX Prestige. Base prices for the van range from $40,065 to $47,665.
The Carnival is powered solely by a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque and routes power to the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is not offered.
Towing capacity is impressive for the class at 3,500 pounds.
Given the powertrain performance and the size of the Carnival, EPA estimates of 19 miles per gallon city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 combined are in line with what is to be expected.
Passenger and Cargo Capacity
The Carnival’s length of 203 inches and width of 78.5 inches are nearly identical to the dimensions of its minivan competitors, the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Inside, the eight-passenger Kia offers 40.5 inches of second-row legroom and 39.5 inches of headroom for the second row and 35.6 inches of legroom and 38.6 inches of headroom for the third row. Cargo room is equally as generous with 40.2 cubic feet of space behind the rearmost bench and 86.9 cubic feet with it folded. Fold both rows to open up 145 cubic feet, about equal to that of the cavernous Honda. Captains chairs are offered on the SX Prestige trim as a no-cost option.
The Carnival’s 6.8 inches of ground clearance matches the SUV theme of the exterior styling and is only matched by the Sienna’s more adventurous Woodland Edition trim.
The base Carnival includes core active safety features such as automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot detection, rear parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and safe exit assist. The EX trim gains full-speed adaptive cruise control, cyclist detection, front parking sensors, an interior camera that can display the second and third-row occupants, and a driver-to-third-row intercom. The SX trim additionally features low-speed automatic braking, a surround-view camera, and a blind-spot camera display that appears in the digital gauge cluster.
The Carnival has not been rated by NHTSA and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick winner although its poor standard headlight performance keeps it from earning top honors. Only the SX Prestige gains the upgraded beams.
An eight-inch display is standard on the LX trim along with six speakers, seven(!) USB ports, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It’s a mixed bag. The EX and SX, however, include a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen along with SiriusXM, HD Radio, navigation, wi-fi, remote connectivity, wireless charging, and two additional speakers. An AC outlet and a premium Bose sound system with 12 speakers and an amplifier are included in the SX Prestige.
The SX and SX Prestige offer a Rear Seat Entertainment Package for $1,000 that includes two rear-facing screens with mirroring capability.
The base trim is relatively well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and daytime running lights, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, tinted windows, silver exterior trim, body-color door handles with chrome trim, black window surround, and a black exhaust outlet. Proximity entry with hands-free power sliding doors open to an interior with cloth seats, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, a 4.2-inch multi-information display, second-row sliding (and removable) seats, and manual front and rear air conditioning.
The LX Seat Package is offered for $2,000 and adds room for eight, leatherette seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a 10-way power driver seat, and heated front seats.
The EX trim gains 19-inch alloy wheels, a hands-free power tailgate with auto-close, synthetic-leather heated seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a tri-zone climate control system, and second and third-row sunshades.
The SX trim adds unique 19-inch wheels with a black finish, LED fog lights, acoustic front side glass, power-folding mirrors, matte chrome trim on the grille, bumper molding, lower door trim, c-pillar garnish, tailgate garnish, skid plates, and roof rails, a large 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, ventilated front seats, memory driver’s seat positioning with passenger seat control, and auto up/down front and second-row windows.
The top-tier SX Prestige loads on premium details such as upgraded LED headlights, LED tail lights, a dual-panel sunroof, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, LED interior lighting, and unique satin chrome 3D embossed interior trim.
The no-cost SX Prestige Seat Package adds heated and ventilated second-row lounge seats with padded headrests and leg extensions.
The SX Prestige trim is tempting for its length of creature comforts, it is the EX trim that gets the nod from us for its added safety and infotainment features and reasonable price.