The 2022 Kia Carnival Gets Trick VIP Seating And Packs A Solid 290 Horsepower

New styling, more power and more tech?

The 2022 Kia Carnival has arrived in the U.S., replacing the Sedona in both name and appearance. The changes going on here are more than just skin deep, however. This model rides on a new platform, gets a modest power bump, and packs more tech than we’ve seen in the previous generation. Technically, Kia’s been especially careful not to call this a minivan (they did that with the Sedona too), but nevertheless this MPV competes head-on with the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey.

In chasing those SUV-like qualities, Kia made the new Carnival more assertive (I don’t know if I can really use the word “aggressive” for a van) than the outgoing Sedona. On top of that, this is the first model to sport Kia’s new simplified logo, rather than the black oval we’ve been accustomed to over the past couple decades. 17-inch wheels come standard, but the optional 19-inch wheels give the Carnival a better stance, as shown in these photos. Other highlights include the uniquely-shaped LED headlights and taillights, along with a thoroughly revamped interior with up to 8-passenger seating and a beefier V6 engine.

The updated 2022 Kia Carnival actually shoves its way to the front of the horsepower back, if only just. The 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated mill puts out 290 horsepower, or 3 more than the Chrysler Pacifica. Torque stands at 262 lb-ft, which matches the Honda Odyssey and the Pacifica. Unlike the Chrysler, though, Kia’s MPV still routes its power strictly to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Still, even with that restriction the Carnival can still tow up to 3,500 pounds, which is a respectable figure.

The interior

New styling is great, but where the rubber meets the road in minivan land is with the interior. Power-sliding rear doors are standard, as you may expect, and they open to reveal a luxuriously-trimmed environment on the upper-end models. An 8-seat layout is one option if you’re looking for the most practical family hauler. However, you might want to check out the 7-seat option instead, if you want the VIP Lounge Seating shown above. On the top-end SX-Prestige trim, the heated and ventilated seats recline and come with their own footrests. You may not get the swanky VIP seats on lower trims, but bear in mind the “lesser” seats are removable. The third-row seats fold into the floor as well, creating best-in-class passenger and cargo volume (168.2 and 145.1 cubic feet, respectively).

Up front, you can get two 12.3-inch displays — one for the digital instrument cluster and the other for the infotainment system. Standard, the Carnival comes with an 8-inch display. Kia also incorporates other minivan-hallmark features like an intercom system and in-car monitoring system with a night vision camera. On 8-passenger models, the center seat slides forward so the front passengers can more easily reach a baby seat. Safe Exit Assist, rear occupant alert and every current driver aid in the book pretty much ticks every box when it comes to safety.

At this point, Kia has not announced pricing for the Carnival just yet. However, we should know more about that as it’s set to go on sale this spring.