• Engine: 3.5 Liter V6
  • Horsepower: 290
  • Torque: 262 lb-ft
  • MSRP: $47,850

Long Term Updates

Date: August 2022Mileage: 2,000

Time to get the party started, with a year-long test of this 2022 Kia Carnival.

Our Carnival’s SX Prestige trim has just about every available convenience feature to help keep complaints from occupants of all ages to a minimum.

Including 2nd row captain’s chairs with lots of adjustment; just know you have to move them inboard before you can get your max relax on.

“While the second row passengers get to chillax in the back of this Carnival, I’m not necessarily roughing it up here in the driver’s seat. In addition to the blind spot monitoring system, the digital gauge cluster offers a blind spot view on either side whenever you hit the turn signal. That may seem excessive, but it’s one of those features you don’t know you want until you have it.”

The 290–horsepower V6 has powered us to 22.9 miles-per-gallon through the 2,000-miles of our first month.

Date: October 2022Mileage: 5,000

It’s always Carnival season at MotorWeek, as we’re 3-months and 5,000-miles into a long-term test of this 2022 Kia Carnival.

Now Kia may refer to the Carnival as a multi-purpose vehicle, but we have no problem calling it a minivan, as there’s no shame in this rig’s game. Ask anyone that owns one, minivans are still the most practical and flexible vehicles out there.

So far, this Carnival has proved to be not just a weekend family hauler, but a comfortable daily driver. There’s plenty of pep coming from this V6 engine and maybe a bit too much at times. As even with a conservative right foot, the front tires like to spin when pulling away from a stop. Naturally that garners some looks from other motorists, but hey, that’s okay. They get to see the most stylish minivan on the market.

The 3.5-liter V6 is rated at 290 horsepower and with proper grip it gets things moving in a hurry. Partnered with an 8-speed automatic transmission, it’s delivered a good 23.9 miles-per-gallon so far.

Timing is everything, and the Carnival showed up just in time for summer vacations; so this family hauler has been put to use early and often. While it is a smooth highway cruiser, the seats are a little on the firm side, keeping it from being the ultimate long-distance getaway machine.

Date: November 2023Mileage: 7,200

We’re only 4-months into our year-long test of this 2022 Kia Carnival, and it still looks great; accomplishing Kia’s mission, as people seem to have a hard time believing it’s a minivan… until they see those wide sliding doors open to reveal lounge like seating, dual entertainment screens, and cavernous space.

This second row is the place to be here in this Carnival. I mean these are literally called VIP lounge seats and they’re aptly named. They move every way which you could possibly want…except outside the vehicle. So you can’t go full on max cargo like you can in some other minivans, but hey, that’s the price you gotta pay if you want to live the Kia VIP lifestyle.

Just returning from a recent fall getaway that included lots of curvy roads and spectacular autumn scenery has put our tally at 7,200-miles; with fuel economy at 23.6 miles-per-gallon.

It was a real joy to drive, and even not drive occasionally, as Kia’s Highway Driving Assist and Lane Following Assist keep you in your lane and at the proper speed, but does require you to stay engaged in the process.

Date: December 2022Mileage: 10,900

This past month was a busy one for our long-term 2022 Kia Carnival, adding more than 3,600-miles to its odometer; bringing our 5-month tally to a hefty 10,900 miles.

And while doing all of that driving, we had time to play with the Carnival’s drive modes. Along with the usual Eco and Sport modes, there’s also a Smart mode, which monitors the driver’s braking and steering inputs, and adjusts throttle response and transmission shift patterns accordingly. Basically, Sport when you want it, Eco when you’re lazily cruising, and Normal for the rest of the time.

If you’re the set it and forget it type, Smart is the mode you want. For the most part, it does a pretty good job of understanding how you’re driving and then responding accordingly in real time. It can be a little slow to interpret inputs from time to time, so if you’re the “I want what I want when I want it type” like me, it’s best just to select the drive mode manually.

Mileage has stayed very consistent, currently sitting at 23.2 miles-per-gallon of regular. That’s not bad for a 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6.

Date: February 2023Mileage: 15,000

We’re 7-months into our long-term test of this 2022 Kia Carnival, and between holiday travel and our annual road trip south to Savannah, Georgia for track testing at Roebling Road Raceway, we’ve racked up close to 5,000-miles since our last report.

That brings our total to 15,000, though surprisingly, all those highway miles didn’t raise fuel economy, as our average actually saw a tiny dip from 23.2 to a still good 22.9. While highway comfort and willing power from its 290-horsepower V6 remain highlights, the sheer roominess, SUV-like ride, cavernous storage space, and great flexibility make it a winner to us.

When most people buy a minivan it’s usually because of its family-friendly features while its driving dynamics are secondary, if that. We, on the other hand, have paid very close attention to how this Carnival drives and we continue to be impressed with its refined road manners. Not just on smooth highway trips, but on our back roads adventures where it handles better than its proportions would suggest.

Kia’s current infotainment system remains one of the best out there. Except for the stitching on the steering wheel that is showing some wear, everything else inside is holding up to our accelerated testing very well.

The Carnival is in high demand at our office, serving double-duty as an easy to load crew hauler by day, and ultra-comfortable kid hauler by night and weekend.

Date: March 2023Mileage: n/a

We’re 9-months into our yearlong parade of practicality with this 2022 Kia Carnival, and it’s been everyone’s first choice for road trips regardless of family size; thanks to its great comfort, flexibility, and even style.

It’s not the first minivan to attempt bringing SUV design elements to the segment, but easily the most successful.

And it feels powerful like an SUV too, thanks to the torquey nature of the 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that has us chirping the tires off the line often.

The Carnival is a thoroughly modern minivan, but its naturally aspirated V6 is a bit of a throwback in this era of turbo 4-cylinders. We suspect Kia kept it to give the Carnival its 3,500-pound tow rating and that’s fine by us.

Cruising on the highway in 8th gear does put the engine speed quite a bit below peak torque range, so passing can require a few downshifts. Luckily, they’re quick and smooth.

Fuel economy is holding steady at 22.8 miles-per-gallon, and we’re looking forward to getting in a few more road trips this spring before our time with the Carnival comes to an end.

Date: May 2023Mileage: 21,000

10-months have passed since this 2022 Kia Carnival became a member of our long-term fleet, and this “multi-purpose vehicle” has truly delivered.

In addition to being incredibly spacious for hauling the cargo needed for our road test crews; the comfortable seats, refined nature, and all-inclusive safety systems make it one of the best family haulers on the road today.

I will concede the Carnival doesn’t look like a traditional minivan, but after 10 months of vigorous family testing, we can confirm it is, in fact, a minivan. And that’s by no means a dig, because we are well-documented van fans. As a father of two small kids, the Carnival has made my weekends easier in more ways than one, although I will say the second row lounge chairs, while comfortable, are lost on kids in car seats. But being able to move them fore and aft as well as inboard and outboard is nice.

There are plenty of creature comforts in place, too; in fact, with so many of them, it almost seems odd to have to manually deploy the rear sunshades.

With our odometer now over 21,000-miles, we’re averaging a good 22.6 miles-per-gallon from the Carnival’s smooth and steady 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6.