2024 Kia Carnival SX Prestige, a van worth your consideration


"Life is a carnival
Believe it or not
Life is a carnival
Two bits a shot"

The 2024 Kia Carnival cost more than two bits, a whole lot more. I just like that song. 

Kia calls the Carnival a Multi-Purpose-Vehicle, and that to me means it is cross between a van and a SUV. In its base form the Carnival is a nice family vehicle; the upscale SX Prestige, the top of the line Carnival is more of a luxury vehicle.

Let's take a look inside.

Front seats

Second row seats

Third row seats

The front and second row seats are very comfortable and trimmed in leather. As you can see there is seating for four in those rows. The third row will fit three, and you could put adults back there but children would be more comfortable. I don't really see the SX Prestige version as a family vehicle though, something this nice, the luxurious should not be subjected to lost French fries, spilled drinks, etc. But hey, that's just me.

Maybe I'd get used to all the controls over time but then again maybe not. I do like this instrument cluster - just the facts. The controls on the steering wheel though are just two much in my opinion.

I do appreciate knobs for the sound system, and the climate control system controls are straightforward - nice. I don't mind the 12.5" screen although it is a pain to scroll through all the pages trying to find what you need. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more.

How big is the Carnival? It is 203" long, 89.2" wide mirror-to-mirror, and 69.9" high. The SX Prestige weighs 4,727 lbs.

One thing you need in a vehicle like the Carnival is storage right? There is a minimum cargo area of 40.2 cubic feet, and a maximum with the third and second rows folded down of 145.1 cu. ft. You could live back there! Carrying capacity is around 1,300 lbs. so with two people you still could carry about 1,000 lbs. of whatever. You can tow up to 3,500 lbs. 

Kia builds some really nice engines including the 3.5-liter, DOHC engine in the Carnival. It produces 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm, and 262 lb-ft of torque; it is coupled to an eight speed automatic transmission. The Carnival is front-wheel-drive.

Sometimes I wonder why auto makers have choices for drive modes on vehicles like the Carnival. It is going to revert to the default setting (ECO) every time you start it. I used the Sport setting once just to see what it was like; I wasn't impressed.

If you tested the acceleration you would put it in Sport and you'd find that the Carnival is capable of 0-60 mph times of about 7.0 seconds. I didn't put a stopwatch to it but I can say that acceleration is more than adequate, and that the engine sounds sweet over 3,000 rpm. 

Most important, at least to me, is the fuel economy. The 2024 Carnival, every model, is rated at 19-mpg in the city, and 26-mpg on the highway. 

I have to admit I did not put that many miles on the Carnival. A couple of years ago I drove one to SoCal and back and found it to be a pleasant vehicle for a trip. 

Now we get to pricing. A base Carnival LX starts at $33,600, and the SX Prestige starts at $46,700. The test Carnival SX Prestige added $1,815 in options, and there is a charge of $1,365 for freight and handling. The prices are from kia.com and are more than competitive. 

If you are in the market for a MPV (van) you should check out the Kia Carnival.


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