2024 Kia Carnival

2024 Kia Carnival
2024 Kia Carnival Rear Angle View 1
2024 Kia Carnival Dashboard 2
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2024 Kia Carnival Review: A Sheep In Wolf's Clothing

The USA is SUV country, so Kia has imbued its Carnival minivan with SUV styling cues to banish the stuffy minivan image and appeal to traditional SUV buyers. It doesn't seem to be making much of a difference because, in the first half of 2023, its sales performance was not only worse than the top-selling Chrysler Pacifica, but also the other pretenders to the throne, namely the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. That might have something to do with its lack of powertrain options; with just a single naturally aspirated six-cylinder gas engine with 290 horsepower and front-wheel drive, the Carnival lacks the hybrid and all-wheel-drive options all its rivals except the Odyssey offer. In this respect, it's definitely more minivan than SUV. Its muscular styling, resolved ride and handling, and the refined performance of its powertrain make it one of the best minivans in this shrinking market segment, but clearly, American buyers need some more convincing. The virtually unchanged 2024 Carnival is unlikely to do the trick, then.

Summary

12 things to know before buying

New for 2024

The 2024 Carnival is a carry-over car, and the entire range stays the same in all respects except for two minor spec changes and the tiniest of price increases. The only trim that sees any changes is the EX, which loses the auto up-and-down feature for its passengers' power windows (the driver's window retains the feature) but gains a power liftgate to compensate. And that's the sum total of the changes. The starting price of the 2024 Kia Carnival increases by a mere $100.

2024 Kia Carnival Price: Which One to Buy

For MY2024, the starting price of a new Kia Carnival LX minivan increases from $33,100 to $33,200. The LX with the added Seat package is often seen as an additional trim; adding this package will cost you $2,000. The LX with Seat package is followed by the EX at $38,700, the SX at $41,900, and the SX Prestige at $46,300. These prices are MSRP and exclude Kia's $1,365 destination charge.

Last year, we preferred the EX for its decent feature count at a high-value price, and nothing has changed our minds since. Desirable features it gets over and above those fitted to the LX include 19-inch alloys, leatherette upholstery, a power driver's seat, heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, a larger touchscreen with navigation, an upgraded audio system, and adaptive cruise control. This year, it also gains a hands-free power liftgate, so it represents excellent value for money. We would add an auto-dimming rearview mirror for $350. It just breaches the $40k mark, destination included.

See All 2024 Kia Carnival Trims

Best Deals on 2024 Kia Carnival

Interior and Features

The upscale interior is a highlight and makes the Carnival’s cabin a pleasant place to spend time on road trips, with even the base car boasting a decent level of equipment.

The attractive cabin elevates itself from the mainstream and comes across as an upscale space built from top-quality materials. In fact, the overall execution and quality levels see it knock on the door of the luxury class, and it's very impressive for a humble minivan. The displays are crisp and clear, and even the base car makes a good impression when you get inside, despite its humble cloth upholstery, smaller touchscreen, and fewer features. The top trims are a clear step up and come with leather on the seats, a larger touchscreen, and a lot more features. The dashboard is laid out logically and the controls are easy to use, with lots of interior space for all passengers. Even the third row can accommodate adults. With a higher ground clearance (6.8 inches) and seat height than a car, ingress is easy through tall doors and electrically operated hands-free rear sliding doors. All-round visibility is very good, and you have rear parking sensors to supplement the backup camera when parking; a surround-view monitor is only fitted to the top trims.

2024 Kia Carnival Dashboard CarBuzz 2024 Kia Carnival Sunroof CarBuzz 2024 Kia Carnival Second-Row Seats KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Central Control Panel KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Backup Camera CarBuzz
2024 Kia Carnival Dashboard
2024 Kia Carnival Sunroof
2024 Kia Carnival Second-Row Seats
2024 Kia Carnival Central Control Panel
2024 Kia Carnival Backup Camera
The smart interior won’t make you feel like you’re piloting a minivan, with both style and substance aplenty, especially in the feature-laden top grades.

Space

The Carnival's 121.7-inch wheelbase is fractionally the longest in the class, but while cabin space is ample, it's not better than the rest. It's give and take all the way against its rivals in the first two rows, but the third row joins the Pacifica in providing less legroom but more headroom than either the Odyssey or Sienna. It's certainly competitive and accommodating of adults. The LX is a seven-seater, with a 2-2-3 seating layout and a second row comprising two outboard seats with a walk-through between them. The LX with the Seat package and all the other trims are eight-seaters with an additional center seat in the second row in a 2-3-3 layout, of which the backrest can fold down to double as a drink holder/table. The optional SX Prestige Seat package also fits two individual second-row chairs and also results in a seven-seat configuration like the LX, but these seats are luxuriously sculpted captain's chairs with their own armrests and leg extensions. They are heated and ventilated as well, can slide for and aft, and can be moved closer together.

Cargo

Trunk space is very competitive in this class, even with all seating rows in use. The 60/40-split third row folds flush with the floor into a deep hollow, and with the seats in use, this recessed space is available, making for a deep loading area with a volume of 40.2 cu-ft - a best-in-class figure. With the third row folded into this recess, the volume expands to 86.9 cu-ft, compared to the Pacifica's 87.5 cu-ft and Odyssey's maximum of 89.2 cu-ft. Similarly to the Odyssey and Sienna - and unlike the gas Pacifica with its fold-flat Stow N Go seating - the Carnival's second-row chairs don't fold into the floor, so its maximum trunk volume of 145.1 cu-ft is only available with these seats removed. This is still more practical than Sienna, whose second row cannot be removed at all, costing it over 40 cubes compared to its rivals. The most capacious is the Odyssey's 158 cu-ft with its second row removed.

In the cabin, passengers can store things in the glovebox, while there is a lidded center-console storage bin as well with a small uncovered storage receptacle ahead of it. Cupholders are provided for all three rows of seats as well. Those for the first row are adjacent to the shifter lever, while cupholders at the back of the front center console cater for second-row passengers. Where the second-row center Free Mode seat is fitted, its backrest flips forward when not in use to reveal two cupholders and a work surface. The third row's cupholders are in the side moldings. The front doors have pockets and bottle holders, and the rear sliding doors also have bottle holders. Front seatback pockets are standard on all trims. Overall a decent showing, but some way off the Sienna, which offers tons of smart hideyholes for oddments.

Kia CarnivalChrysler PacificaHonda Odyssey
Seating
7/8-seater7/8-seater8-seater
Headroom
40.9 in. front
39.5 in. 2nd row
38.6 in. 3rd row
38.4-40.1 in. front
38-39.6 in. 2nd row
38.7 in. 3rd row
38.7-40.7 in. front
39.2-39.5 in. 2nd row
38.3 in. 3rd row
Legroom
41.1 in. front
40.5 in. 2nd row
35.6 in. 3rd row
41.1 in. front
39 in. 2nd row
36.5 in. 3rd row
40.9 in. front
40.9 in. 2nd row
38.1 in. 3rd row
Trunk space
40.2-145.1 ft³32.3-140.5 ft³32.8-158 ft³
See Full Comparison

Materials and Colors

The LX comes with cloth upholstery in Off-Black with a black/gray interior color scheme and a urethane steering wheel and shifter knob. If the LX Seat package is added, the seat material is changed to SynTex leatherette in the same color, and both the steering wheel and shifter knob are trimmed in leather. The interior door handles have a metal finish, and the accent trim is in a metal finish with a 3D pattern. From the EX and up, the door handles are finished in Half Chrome. The EX gets access to more interior colors; it uses the same SynTex upholstery as the LX with the Seat package, but it's also available with a two-tone Saddle Brown/Off-Black interior (also offered on the LX with Seat package), besides the standard Off-Black. Like the SX, the EX gas hydro graphic wood grain garnish in the cabin. The SX's SynTex comes in Off-Black or eye-catching tan Tuscan Umber/Off-Black. Only the SX Prestige gets standard leather upholstery in the same two colors as the SX's SynTex. The SX Prestige's interior trim is rendered in 3D-embossed Satin Chrome.

2024 Kia Carnival Interior Overview KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Second-Row Seats 1 KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Third Row Seats KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Trunk Space CarBuzz 2024 Kia Carnival Trunk Space with Third Row Folded CarBuzz
2024 Kia Carnival Interior Overview
2024 Kia Carnival Second-Row Seats 1
2024 Kia Carnival Third Row Seats
2024 Kia Carnival Trunk Space
2024 Kia Carnival Trunk Space with Third Row Folded
The high-quality materials used in the Carnival’s cabin lead the minivan class, with genuine leather on the flagship trim’s seats.

Features and Infotainment

The LX is a fairly well-equipped minivan. You have to make do with seven seats and regular air-conditioning, though, and you don't get electric seat adjustment or seat heating either. However, what you do get are push-button start, hands-free power rear doors, ventilation outlets for the rear passengers, a 4.2-inch driver-information display, a manually tilting/telescoping steering column, and two 12-V power sockets. As you move up the ranks, heated power front seats, a passenger camera and intercom, tri-zone climate control, and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster are added, among other features. Few options and even fewer packages are available, so you have to select the trim that comes with your desired features.

The infotainment system in the LX has an eight-inch touchscreen and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, voice recognition, USB ports for all three seating rows, and a six-speaker audio system. From the EX, you get a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto revert to a wired connection. Additional features are navigation, HD Radio, SiriusXM, a Wi-Fi hotspot, rear-seat voice recognition, an in-cabin passenger camera and intercom, a wireless charging pad, and an eight-speaker audio system. The SX is the first trim to get the larger 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Only the SX Prestige comes with a premium 12-speaker Bose audio system. All trims have access to the optional dual-screen rear-seat entertainment system.

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2024 Kia Carnival Steering Wheel
2024 Kia Carnival Instrument Cluster
2024 Kia Carnival View from mirrors by the Instrument Cluster
2024 Kia Carnival Backrest screens
2024 Kia Carnival Dashboard 1
From EX level and up, the Carnival is very well-equipped with all the necessary features, which is why it's our favorite trim.
LXEXSX Prestige
Hands-free power sliding rear doors
Power driver's seat and heated front seats
Ventilated front seats
12.3" touchscreen with navigation
12-speaker Bose audio system
Compare Features Between All Trims

Performance

With a punchy, refined powertrain and well-sorted ride and handling, the Carnival’s driving experience is at the sharp end of the minivan segment.

All the gas minivans in this segment follow the same template, so the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter gas V6 engine in the Kia Carnival is very similar to the gas offerings from Honda and Chrysler. It develops 290 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and this combination is good enough to give the Kia Carnival a 0-60 time of seven seconds - not particularly quick, but on par with the competition. Nobody buys a minivan for its top speed, and the Carnival is sensibly limited to 118 mph. Where the Carnival falls short is in not offering the multiple powertrain and drivetrain configurations that its rivals offer. The Sienna can be had with a thrifty four-cylinder hybrid, and the Pacifica is available as a PHEV as well. Both offer you a choice of FWD or AWD as well, and the Sienna a more off-road-focused Woodland Edition.

In common with the Odyssey, the Carnival offers you one default gas powertrain only, and despite its deceptive SUV looks, its FWD-only setup is a bit of a disappointment and can justifiably be seen as a shortcoming, especially for drivers in snowy regions. Trailering is not up to SUV levels, but the rated towing capacity of 3,500 lbs is right on par with that of other minivans. The factory tow hitch is a $575 option. The 6.8-inch ground clearance will enable the Carnival to tackle rough roads, should you feel so inclined. It rides only 0.16 inches lower than the AWD Woodlands Edition Sienna, but the FWD will reach its limits when the roads turn soggy, quickly running out of answers when grip is at a premium.

Minivans aren't corner carvers, but the Carnival's ride and handling are a class act, with an expertly judged compromise that's neither too firm nor too wallowy. It strikes a perfect balance, and the levels of lean generated around corners are perfectly acceptable for a van, given the comfort provided by the suspension. It always feels firmly damped but comfortable, and even the other controls play ball - the brakes are far nicer to use and more progressive than the Sienna hybrid's, while the steering is nicely weighted and precise, even if it's a bit lifeless and short on feedback. It certainly doesn't take a back seat to any rival when the road turns twisty, lapsing into speed-scrubbing understeer when the limits are approached, and hanging on well. The powertrain is polished, with the muted engine emitting a sonorous wail when pushed and the smooth eight-speed auto grabbing the right gear almost without fail.

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2024 Kia Carnival Gauge Cluster
2024 Kia Carnival Driving Front Angle
2024 Kia Carnival Engine Bay
2024 Kia Carnival Central Console
The Carnival has the comfort and ground clearance to tackle rough roads, but it falls short of rivals by not offering an AWD or hybrid powertrain.

Fuel Efficiency

In terms of gas mileage, the Kia Carnival's mpg figures are about what you would expect. The EPA's estimates of 19/26/22 mpg for the city/highway/combined cycles match its gas-powered rivals; the FWD V6 Pacifica and Odyssey return the exact same 22 mpg combined. It loses out against the superb 36-mpg Sienna Hybrid, though, while the Pacifica is offered in a class-exclusive PHEV as well. With a fuel capacity of 19 gallons, expect a middling 418-mile range on the combined cycle.

3.5L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
FWD
Power
290 hp
Top speed
118 mph
MPG
19 / 26 / 22 mpg
0-60
7 seconds

Safety

Safety is generally of a high standard, with many driver assists fitted as standard, but rain-sensing wipers are an odd omission on all the trims.

There is no NHTSA safety review of the Kia Carnival, but the IIHS has tested it, giving the 2024 model mostly Good scores, except for a Marginal score for the updated moderate-overlap frontal crash, a Poor rating for the updated side test, and a Poor rating for the LED-reflector headlights fitted to all the trims except the SX Prestige.

The Carnival comes with nine airbags and the usual ABS, stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, and backup camera. The LX adds a comprehensive baseline driver-assist spec, with automatic LED-reflector headlights with auto high beams, front-collision alert with pedestrian detection and automatic braking, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane-departure alert, lane-keep and -following assist, driver-alertness monitoring, rear parking sensors, rear-occupant alert, and safe-exit assist. On the EX, front cyclist recognition and junction-turning assistance are added, in addition to navigation-based adaptive cruise control with stop & go, Highway Driving Assist, and front parking sensors. The SX trims get the full monty, gaining blind-spot and surround-view monitors and automatic reverse braking as well. An auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink transceiver and upgraded LED-projector headlights are standard on the SX Prestige only. The mirror can be added to any of the other trims for $350.

LXEXSX Prestige
Front-collision avoidance with braking
Blind-spot and rear-cross-traffic alert
Adaptive cruise control with stop and go
Highway Driving Assist
Surround- and blind-spot-view cameras

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Reliability

The Kia Carnival's reliability is average according to JD Power, which gave it a score of 80 out of 100 for its Quality & Reliability criteria. This is better than all of its rivals, though, with the Pacifica coming in at 71, the Odyssey at 78, and the Sienna at 77. Recalls have been few and far between, with none so far registered for the 2024 model year and only two for the 2023 Carnival - for a tow-hitch harness that may short circuit and catch fire while parked and for a power-sliding door that may trap a passenger when closing because it fails to auto-reverse when encountering an obstruction.

You'll have peace of mind thanks to the market-leading warranty the 2024 Kia Carnival comes with. The limited warranty is valid for an above-average five years/60,000 miles, with the powertrain covered for a full ten years/100,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

Design

The robust front-end design, pronounced wheel arches, and distinctive waistline crease help to make the Carnival look more like an SUV than a minivan, assisted by a faux skid-plate panel below the front bumper and a bold slash of a chromed L-shaped C-pillar to add some excitement to the side view. The baseline of this chrome strip extends right around the tail and above the full-width LED light bar on the SX Prestige, with the Kia logo in the middle of it. The other trims don't get the snazzy LED taillight treatment. All trims get rear privacy glass and LED headlights, though, but the LX looks a little spindly and self-conscious on its small 17-inch alloys. The other trims' 19-inchers fill out their arches much better; they have a machined finish in the mid-range trims and a black finish on the SX trims. The SX Prestige is also the only trim to get dual power sunroofs. Both SX trims have roof rails and a chrome-studded grille in lieu of the other trims' more basic black grille.

2024 Kia Carnival Front Angle View KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Rear Angle View KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Front View KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Rear View KIA 2024 Kia Carnival Side View KIA
2024 Kia Carnival Front Angle View
2024 Kia Carnival Rear Angle View
2024 Kia Carnival Front View
2024 Kia Carnival Rear View
2024 Kia Carnival Side View
The faux-SUV styling is attractive, but the beauty is only skin-deep because the Carnival lacks any SUV skills or AWD.

Verdict: Is The 2024 Kia Carnival A Good Minivan?

The Kia Carnival is a much better minivan than its sales figures suggest. It's not beaten by any rival in this class for general driving dynamics and for the quality and design of its upscale cabin. Passenger and luggage space are both very good, and the polished and refined powertrain offers class-competitive performance and economy. But all its good points may not be enough to sway buyers because the lack of any type of hybridized powertrain or AWD option counts against the Carnival and leaves it open to attack. If you're happy with the powertrain, there are few better minivans on the market. But if you need a hybrid or AWD, you'll be better off with a Pacifica or Sienna.

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