Kia Carnival

The front-wheel-drive Carnival aims to be best again in the minivan segment. The minivan features a wide stance and cab-forward look, with a front end that integrates the Kia corporate grille.

A direct injected 3.5L V6 powers the Carnival. With variable induction and continuously variable valve timing, the engine produces 290 horsepower and 262 lb-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and delivers enough get up and go for your everyday traffic on or off any highway.

Three trims are offered: LX, LXS, EX, SX and SX Prestige. Standard features on the LX include 17-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, LED headlights, variable intermittent windshield wipers, dual power proximity sliding doors, and integrated LED turn signals in the mirrors. Inside, there's a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, a sonar-based backup warning system, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, 12-volt outlets, power accessories, air conditioning and three rows of seating with stain-resistant fabric upholstery, Kia's innovative Slide-n-Stow second-row seats and a 60-40 split-folding third row. Rounding out the base features are an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, cloth upholstery.

The EX comes standard with 19-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and a power liftgate. Inside there are 7 USB chargers for portable electronic devices, front and rear one-touch power windows, tri-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, keyless entry, push-button start, also with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and leatherette seating with second-row seating for three passengers.

The top-of-the-line Carnival SX Prestige adds to the already stacked equipment with machine-finished 19-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, a garage door transmitter, voice command navigation with a 12.3-inch display, an entertainment system with DVD and digital media capabilities, heated and ventilated front leather seats and heated second-row seats with reclining lounge and footrests.

Safety has not been overlooked in the Carnival, and standard on all trims are a host of airbags, electronic stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, rollover mitigation, brake assist, active lane departure warning, front and rear collision mitigation, a pedestrian warning system, and a driver attention alert.

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Editors' First Take

I tell friends that they should never get serious about a new relationship unless they've traveled together. And I'm not talking about a romantic weekend at a nearby bed and breakfast. I'm talking serious travel with a bit of challenge or potential hardship baked in. Long days. Time zone changes. Unfamiliar locations and atypical foods. You can tell a lot about someone from the way they travel, and even more so, you can tell a lot about interpersonal compatibility. Long-distance travel is a make-or-break forge for new relationships. Not to put too fine a point on it, that same notion applies when establishing connections with new vehicles, too. After logging 2,300-plus miles over six days of driving to permanently relocate my family across the country, I'm excited to say that CNET remains in a happy long-term relationship with our 2022 Kia Carnival.

Moving is inherently stressful. Even more so when it's not a small move, but a major one after a long-term house sale. Add in a transcontinental relocation that involves serious downsizing, transporting multiple senior pets and so on, and you have a recipe for pressure and tension. With all the stress of packing, saying goodbye to friends and neighbors, all I really wanted was a spacious, quiet and comfortable cocoon to shepherd my family from Detroit to Los Angeles. This minivan more than delivered. In fact, it aced the test.

I actually did this exact epic schlep more than once in the last year. My family previously took our long-term Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV on a monthlong dry run to see how we liked SoCal life, and that drive didn't go nearly as smoothly for any number of reasons. Even if both cars have three rows, a crossover and a minivan don't exactly make for an apples-to-apples comparison, so I won't belabor the point. Suffice it to say, the Carnival was not only far roomier and easier to get in and out of, it delivered a better ride, superior seat comfort and far better cabin technology.

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