Our long-termhas been busy the past few months, particularly with a very important task: Bringing home my family's new dog, Connor. I can't speak to his thoughts on the Carnival, but I'm sure glad I had this capacious minivan to make the very long trek to bring him home.
The drive to pick up Connor was a long one, about two hours each way. And it wasn't one of those straight-shot-on-the-freeway sort of ordeals -- I'm talking small town America at its finest, with winding roads and two-lane highways. Regardless of the road type, the Carnival continued to do what it does best: Soak up imperfections in order to provide a comfy, drama-free trip. That's especially important given the 9-week-old puppy that'd be coming with me on the way back.
The Carnival delivered that sort of comfort effortlessly. On top of that, Kia's Highway Driving Assist remains, in my opinion, the best system short of a true hands-free highway driving assistant. It got a lot of use on those local highways and always returned natural behavior when following a lead car.
On the way home, my new pup was a very good boy with zero fuss -- just like the Carnival. Connor took a nice long nap; easy to do given the Carnival's smooth ride and quiet cabin. I am sure the Carnival is kid- and parent-approved with all sorts of comforts and tech to keep backseat riders from asking, "Are we there yet?" But without human children, all I can say is this minivan is certainly dog-approved.
The Carnival is now back in the hands of our Detroit-based editors, and immediately following my stint with our minivan, I spent a month with our long-term Volvo XC60 T8. I bring this up because having the XC60 underscored just how nice the Carnival is inside. The Kia absolutely punches above its weight in terms of materials, fit and finish. Frankly, I'd rather spend time in the Kia than I would in our nicely equipped Volvo -- even with all that piano black trim that's starting to look seriously grubby.
Do I miss having the long-term Carnival in my driveway? You bet. Does Connor miss it? I can't ask him, but I'm willing to bet there's no other car in our fleet as nicely equipped for dog duty.