I am not shy about my affection for minivans. And so, regardless of having no youngsters and nonetheless being in the course of a pandemic that makes it harmful to spend time with different individuals in small enclosed areas, when Kia requested if I needed to spend a while with its new $32,100 Carnival minivan I stated sure. As a result of, as already famous, minivans are fantastic.

They’re good-looking, too, at the very least once we’re speaking concerning the Carnival. Kia’s designers went with a two-box form and embraced the boxiness. To my eye the proportions are spot-on, significantly in profile the place its form falls halfway between hatchback and station wagon, however scaled up by 20 p.c.

Distinguishing options embrace the model’s massive “tiger nostril” grille up entrance and, since our take a look at automotive was the Carnival SX (MSRP: $41,100), a textured chrome panel on the C pillar that provides you one thing fascinating to have a look at up shut. My pictures fail to do justice to the optionally available ($495) ceramic silver paint, which sparkled with pink and gold flecks within the daylight. Along with the SX’s black alloy wheels and the silver accents, all of it works reasonably effectively.

The within is voluminous in the way in which you need a individuals service to be, and it is even out there in both an eight-seat structure (as was the case for our take a look at Carnival) with a center row that slides and may be eliminated or as a seven-seater with a pair of reclining, heated, and ventilated captain’s chairs for the center row. In each instances, the third row can fold flat into the ground to extend cargo room from 40.2 cubic toes (1,138 L) to 86.9 cubic toes (2,460 L). The third row can be solely actually a three-seat row for young children.

As I’ve written earlier than, Kia’s UVO infotainment system is definitely fairly first rate, with a UI that at instances jogs my memory of the previous days of pre-OS X Macintoshes. Being an SX trim, our take a look at Carnival additionally had screens constructed into the seatbacks of each entrance seats. These have a youngsters mode, and the screens may also mirror a cellphone by way of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Every row has its personal USB-A ports, however cellphone casting additionally works wirelessly, and there’s a wi-fi charging pad constructed into the middle console.

Past that, there is a good suite of superior driver help methods as commonplace, together with automated emergency braking, blind spot screens, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane conserving (adaptive cruise management with stop-and-go is commonplace on EX and SX trims), and headlights that robotically dip for oncoming visitors.

It is an excellent minivan, however I’ve acquired one criticism

Behind the tiger’s nostril (or below the hood in case you desire), there is a 3.5 L V6, which generates 290 hp (216 kW) and 262 lb-ft (355 Nm), sending energy to the entrance wheels by way of Kia’s in-house eight pace automated transmission. It is rated at a mixed 22 mpg (10.69 L/100 km), which implies it is time for my one massive criticism concerning the Carnival: Why did not Kia at the very least make it a hybrid?

It is not like Kia (and company sibling Hyundai) would not know the way to electrify a automobile; its hybrids are among the finest within the trade, and its in all probability the mainstream OEM that is closest to Tesla by way of electrical powertrain effectivity. However for some purpose, identical to the extremely widespread Telluride and Pallisade SUVs, you haven’t any various right here however pure fossil energy. To make issues worse, the Carnival shares a platform with the Kia Sorento SUV, and that is an environment friendly hybrid!

The Carnival is level-pegged with the Honda Odyssey by way of effectivity, nevertheless it’s blown away by the 35 mpg (6.72 L/100 km) hybrid Toyota Sienna and plug-in hybrid Chrysler Pacifica (which is able to do about 28 miles on a full battery earlier than you even must trouble the engine and 30 mpg, 7.84 L/100 km, even when the battery is empty ).

Enlarge / Whereas I favored the Carnival, it will be improved considerably if it had an electrified powertrain.

Jonathan Gitlin

An electrical motor would additionally enhance the driving expertise. Not that it is missing—the decrease heart of gravity in a minivan in comparison with a three-row SUV offers the minivan an inherent benefit by way of dealing with, and the journey was easy and absorbed highway imperfections effectively. Kia says that the Carnival is stiffer than the previous Sedona it replaces, because of extra high-strength metal within the chassis. It is also acquired extra sound deadening and insulation to maintain the within calm and serene at freeway cruising speeds.

However as anybody who’s frolicked in an electrified automotive is aware of, the moment torque of an electrical motor is difficult to beat, significantly with larger, heavier automobiles. The automotive rumor mill does recommend {that a} hybrid and ultimately even a full battery electrical Carnival might seem as soon as Kia wraps up the Stinger manufacturing line, however I have to stress that Kia itself has stated nothing to that impact.

Itemizing picture by Jonathan Gitlin

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