The Kia Carnival MPV is a three-row, multi-purpose vehicle (and now you know where “MPV” comes from) that’s made in four trim levels: LX, EX, SX, and SX Prestige. It’s configured to seat seven or eight passengers, depending on whether the middle row is a bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs. Its powertrain, which puts out a class-best 290 horsepower (and 262 lb.-ft. of torque) is made up of a 3.5-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All Carnival MPVs are front-wheel drive and can tow as much as 3,500 pounds. The EPA has estimated that all trims achieve 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
The LX is set up for seven-passenger seating with a middle-row configuration of a pair of captain’s chairs and easy access via power-sliding doors. This base trim also gets proximity keyless entry, remote start, automatic LED headlights and daytime running lights, exterior mirrors that are heated and power-adjustable, push-button ignition, a sound-absorbing windshield, rear privacy glass, plenty of USB ports (one data and six charging), two 12V power outlets, a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, illuminated vanity mirrors, and a 60/40-split third-row seat that can fold flat into the floor to maximize cargo space. For infotainment, the LX has an 8-inch touchscreen, smartphone connect (Android Auto and Apple CarPlay), Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio streaming, and a six-speaker sound system. This system also responds to voice recognition.
The optional LX Seat Package will enhance the seating situation with Kia’s Slide-Flex second-row bench (this consists of a sliding/folding middle seat and raises the occupant capacity to eight), simulated-leather upholstery, and heated front seats with a power-adjustable driver’s seat. A leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are also part of this elective equipment bundle.
The Kia Drive Wise advanced safety technology package comes standard to supply forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, lane following assist, driver attention warning with leading vehicle departure alert, rear parking sensors, safe exit assist, and rear occupant alert.
The EX is equipped the same as the LX with the Seat Package installed, but it also gets wireless device charging, a power liftgate, in-cabin camera and intercom systems (Passenger View and Passenger Talk), tri-zone automatic climate control, and sunshades for the second and third rows. Its safety tech suite is expanded with front parking sensors, an enhanced forward collision system with cyclist and junction turning detection, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, and highway driving assist, which provides steering, acceleration, deceleration, and traffic flow assistance). The infotainment upgrades include a 12.3-inch touchscreen, onboard navigation, HD radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, rear-seat voice recognition, and another pair of speakers for a total of eight.
The SX gets a jolt of sporty attitude with front and rear skid plates, gloss-black wheels, LED fog lights, roof rails, and satin chrome exterior accents. Its other merits are ventilated front seats, power-folding side mirrors, sound-absorbing front door glass, aero windshield wipers, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, two household-style 115V power outlets, power windows with one-touch auto-up/down, a power passenger seat, and position memory for the driver. A blind-spot view monitor, rear parking collision-avoidance assist, and a surround-view monitor join the safety technology array. If you take a lot of road trips with backseat passengers, note that a dual-screen rear entertainment system (one on each front seatback) with a USB charge port is optional.
The aptly named SX Prestige completes the range with leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, dual sunroofs, LED projector headlights, LED taillights, LED cabin lighting, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. A 12-speaker Bose audio system is standard, and the dual-screen entertainment system remains optional. Buyers can also order second-row VIP lounge seats with more comfortable headrests and leg extenders.