With their bright lights and amusing diversions, carnivals scream fun, and while the Kia Carnival doesn’t actually scream, it does confidently announce that this SUV is tons of fun to drive.
Even the layout of this midsize SUV is a dramatic departure from the usual, amounting to a cross between the look of a traditional sport-utility vehicle and the functional details of a minivan.
While uncommon, the design works brilliantly. The more rugged profile dilutes any soccer-mom stigma, while sliding side doors make it an ideal way to get the family to the fair.
The seven- or eight-passenger interior has adult-size legroom throughout. There’s also a generous 40.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 86.9 cubic feet behind the second row. Remove the second-row seats, and it can haul more freight than a Chevrolet Suburban.
Figure in excellent power and handling and a long list of standard tech and safety features, and Kia Carnival becomes one of the most entertaining rides in town.
— Long list of standard tech/convenience features
— Top model’s heated/cooled second-row seats with recliner-like footrest
— Ride quality suffers a bit on rough pavement.
— Vexing touch-screen HVAC/infotainment controls
The best of both worlds: SUV looks with minivan practicality
Base Price: $32,100
As Tested: $41,595
NHTSA/Overall: Not yet rated
19/26 (3.5L V6)