The recall includes the Forte, Soul, and Carnival MPV.
The Kia Carnival is a superb family hauler. Not only does it offer decent performance courtesy of its V6 engine, but offers plenty of space and comfort for large families and their belongings. Despite this, 2,956 examples of the MPV were recalled following the potential malfunction of the passenger-side power sliding door's remote controller assembly. This could prevent the door from securely latching; a big risk when driving around with young kids.
But now the manufacturer faces another potentially life-threatening situation. Several of the brand's older models are being recalled for a damaged circuit board component that could prevent the airbags from deploying in the event of a collision. In total, 410,610 vehicles are affected, but Kia estimates it may just be 1% of the vehicles that may suffer from the dangerous defect.
253,281 2017-2019 model year Kia Souls are affected, while just 953 2017-2019 model year Soul EVs may have the issue. 2017-2018 Kia Fortes are also similarly afflicted, with 108,693 examples part of the recall. Lastly, the previous-generation Kia Sedona (2017-2019) is affected, with 47,690 examples identified. Interestingly, just two Kia Forte Koups are part of the recall.
"Due to variances in the manufacturing of the Airbag Control Unit (ACU), contact between the ACU cover and the Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) chip on the ACU's Printed Circuit Board (PCB) may occur and cause damage to the EEPROM's soldering joints resulting in an open circuit. If this condition occurs, the Airbag Warning Light will illuminate with diagnostic trouble code B1620 and the vehicle's airbags will not deploy in crashes where deployment is necessary, thereby increasing the risk of injury," writes the NHTSA.
Owners of the affected Kia models will be mailed by March 21, 2022, with instructions to bring their cars in for an inspection. Dealers will examine the Airbag Control Unit and, if necessary, either update the software or fully replace the unit. This will be of no charge to the customer.
The aforementioned model years are the only vehicles affected. The NHTSA reports that 2019 Sedona MPVs were fitted with an improved ACU, while Soul and Forte models received a different unit for 2020 models onwards. At this stage, the Soul EV was no longer offered on local soil and the Forte Koup had already been discontinued.
At this stage, no crashes have been reported implicating affected models, says the carmaker and NHTSA. Over 410,000 vehicles is plenty, but it's nowhere near as severe as the deadly Takata airbag scandal, which affected millions of vehicles and claimed the lives of numerous motorists, injuring many more.