Caraganza First Drive Review 2021 Kia Carnival: You kids get off my lawn

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I never thought I’d become one of “them.” Those people who, in my youth, were those of the older generation who said things that made me cringe like “When I was your age” or “Back in my day.”

The transition didn’t happen overnight. It was in fact gradual. I had kids, started to think khakis were an okay fashion statement; wine coolers were just fine, dad jokes are funny.

Suddenly, one day it seemed, there I was, one of them.

I think it all began with the second new vehicle I ever bought: A minivan. It’s not that I did so willingly. My daughter was two, and my wife was extraordinarily hot; like cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue hot and had me wrapped tightly around her hot little pinky. That was 1991, and the minivan was still a relatively new thing. My wife used words like “practical” and such to sell me on it. And so, we had a new minivan. That minivan, however, didn’t have things such as “dual zone” AC which meant my daughter sweated while firmly strapped in her car seat; unless I cranked the AC up front to full blast resulting in front seats that felt like a meat locker and back seats that felt like an aging refrigerator on its last gasps.

Truth was I hated that minivan. I really did. I only tolerated because of my wife’s hotness but eventually even that wasn’t enough. I finally killed it by towing a 3400-pound racecar from North Carolina to Florida (“Oh, you mean we needed a transmission cooler?”). I was never so glad to see a vehicle with burned out transmission in all my life.

My wife ended up selling that minivan to a local car lot for $1000 which is another story considering they bought it, and thanks to my wife’s hotness, didn’t even drive it and notice it wouldn’t shift out of first gear. But that’s a story for another day.

All those memories came flooding back recently when Kia sent me its latest offering, the 2022 Carnival. This new for 2022 model replaces the Sedona which was Kia’s entry into the minivan market; though as I learned they aren’t called “minivans” anymore they’re called “multi-purpose vehicles” or MPVs for short. Yet, I thought, a minivan by another name is still…

Now I’ve always generally liked all things Kia, and despite the “minivan” heritage I figured I would give it a try. That and it was better than walking everywhere for a full week.

The 2022 Kia Carnival is offered in four main trims: LX, EX, SX and SX Prestige. Depending on the trim and configuration, the Carnival can seat seven or eight people.

The base LX has LED headlights, dual power-sliding rear doors, seven passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs, an 8-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker stereo. There’s a lot of standard safety features: safe exit assist (so the kids can’t open the door in traffic), rear occupant alert (so you won’t forget the kids are actually there), blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, driver attention warning and forward collision mitigation.

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You can option in the LX Seat Package which adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power adjustable driver’s seat and a second-row bench seat (upping the passenger count to eight).

Moving up to the EX adds 19-inch wheels (up from 17), a hands-free power tailgate, a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, an eight-speaker stereo, three-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging station a rear cabin intercom (projects voice of front occupants to rear speakers so you can yell at the kids to hush without having to turn around), a rear camera monitoring system (shows camera view of rear seating on the center touchscreen), adaptive cruise control and an upgraded forward collision mitigation system.

The SX, which was my tester for the week, adds LED fog lights, 19-inch black painted wheels, ventilated front seats, roof rails, power-adjustable front passenger seat, a rear entertainment system and a surround-view monitor.

The top-of-the-line SX Prestige adds a heated steering wheel, 12.3-inch driver information display, 12-speaker premium stereo system, LED interior lighting, leather upholstery, second row reclining lounge-style captain’s chairs with heating and ventilation, and dual sunroofs.

All the Carnivals are powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine (290 horsepower, 262 lb-ft of torque) and an eight-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive.

The first thing I noticed when I first saw my LX tester was the styling. The Carnival certainly doesn’t look like a minivan, sorry, an MPV, or whatever the heck they are called nowadays. It’s not like the boxy minivan of my youth. It resembles more of a high-profile SUV. And the 19-inch black painted wheels were a nice touch.

Inside, well inside, the Carnival looks nothing short of pretty awesome. Lots of room, comfortable seating and did I mention lots of room?

On the road the Carnival has a nice smooth ride, the tech is easy to use, and the honestly the sound system is one of the better ones I listened to (no doubt helped by the acoustic glass for the windshield and the front side windows that come on the LX trims).

By the way, back seat passengers have their own AC controls, nice cushy seating, USB ports, and an entertainment system. Seriously? I mean my daughter, who is now over 30, will no doubt be able to say to her kids one day “Back in my day, we didn’t have nothing more than a coloring book and our imagination….and we sweated!”

So yeah, she’s getting there.

Now you kids get off my damn lawn…

The 2022 Kia Carnival LX
MSRP: $41,595
MSRP (as tested): $42,770
Engine: 3.5 Liter V6, 290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm, 262 ft.-lb. pounds @ 5000 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Milage (EPA): 19 city, 26 highway, 22 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 27 mpg
Curb Weight: 4601 lbs.

Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Wheelbase: 121.7
Length: 203
Width, without mirrors: 78.5
Height: 69.9
Ground Clearance, Front: 6.8

Interior Dimensions
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 8
Front Head Room (inches): 40.9
Front Leg Room (inches): 41.1
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 64.2
Front Hip Room (inches): 59.8
Second Row Head Room (inches): 39.5
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 40.5
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 63.2
Second Row Hip Room (inches): 66.4
Third Row Head Room (inches): 38.6
Third Row Leg Room (inches): 35.6
Third Row Shoulder Room (inches): 59.5
Third Row Hip Room (inches): 50.4
Cargo Space/Area Behind Front Row (cubic feet): 145.1
Cargo Space/Area Behind Second Row (cubic feet): 86.9
Cargo Space/Area Behind Third Row (cubic feet): 40.2

Warranty
Warranty – Basic (mths/miles)     60/60,000
Warranty – Powertrain (mths/miles)     120/100,000
Warranty – Corrosion perforation (mths/miles)     60/100,000
Warranty – Roadside assistance (mths/miles)     60/60,000

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.

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