Spacious and flexible, approachable and safe -- the minivan is a marvel of suburban utility. The problem is that most people don't actually want to be seen driving one, so many shoppers skew toward cooler-looking SUVs. To combat this, the major players in the class have pushed minivan design in a direction that's perhaps best described as "sci-fi bullet train" with mixed results.
Kia's solution to the problem of uncool perception is to dress its new 2022 Carnival "multipurpose vehicle" in SUV cosplay. The result is a minivan that boasts all of the advantages and amenities of its classmates, while standing aesthetically apart with sport utility style.
The Carnival wears an upright, boxy design with a front end shaped more like Kia's Telluride than the Sedona it replaces. Details like the L-shaped, chrome C-pillars break up the minivan's profile and, along with the sculpted wheel arches and dark lower sills, help pull the eye upward to create the appearance of a taller, more rugged ride. At first glance, the Carnival looks almost exactly like a full-size SUV from most angles, but then you notice the reversed handles and tracks for the sliding doors and, suddenly, the minivan-ness of the silhouette becomes apparent.
This recall affects the 2020 and 2021 models with the 2.0-liter engines, though one in a hundred will require a new powerplant.
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With SUV style, luxurious VIP seating and intelligent amenities, the Carnival is a van you might actually want to be seen in.
Minivans are cool, but buyers prefer SUVs. Kia's solution? Dress its new 2022 Carnival in sport-utility duds.
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