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It’s a beautiful thing to have so many options when shopping for a new automobile in today’s vast landscape of offerings that come in a plethora of sizes, one of them being the few selections of minivans. I had a chance to do an extensive review on Kia’s all-new Carnival, which slightly departs from the traditional look of what is appealing for a minivan. Now, having experienced a couple of different trim levels, it’s easier for me to elaborate on the specific differences of the SX trim versus the top-level SX Prestige trim that I reviewed several months ago.
As a minivan somewhat resembles a crossover utility vehicle, the Kia Carnival naturally attracts a larger audience for those who may cross-shop minivans and crossovers. When looking at the new Kia Carnival, it’s mindful to beware of the subtle differences in the SX and SX Prestige trims where the Carnival SX will grant you access to an 8-passenger setup while the Carnival SX Prestige is a 7-passenger setup. With the seating arrangement in the second row being the major difference, there are also some feature list differences where the SX has a little less equipment but remains to be a good buy for those who don’t want the extra bells and whistles. All new Kia Carnival trims feature a healthy 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque 3.5-liter V6 mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission to power the front wheels only.
First off, to chart the differences, the 2022 Kia Carnival SX does away with the reclining and trick VIP captain’s chairs with ottomans for the second row and uses a more conventional bench seat setup to fit three passengers relatively comfortable. The second-row bench has a 40/20/40 split where each portion of the seat can be adjusted forward or back. The outboard seats have their own outer armrest while the center seat is more on the narrow side and can be cumbersome and uncomfortable for the middle passenger if it is not positioned in line with the other two seats. One last thing to note, the middle/second-row seats are removable to open up additional cargo space in having the third-row folded flat into the floor. On the Carnival SX Prestige, the VIP captain’s chairs cannot be removed from the vehicle. Moreover, the second row seats can be reversed to face rearward towards the third-row – after removing them and reinstalling them in the opposite direction.
There’s access to a single rear zone climate control in the second row mounted above the passenger-side second-row seat in both trims.
Other features missing from the new Carnival SX that are found on the SX Prestige are as follows: A heated steering wheel, LED interior lighting in place of incandescent bulbs, leather upholstery, sunroof (dual sunroofs/one is power slide and tilt with a power sunshade), heated and ventilated second-row captain’s chairs, an upgraded 12-speaker audio system, and the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster that also displays a live video feed of a blind-spot monitor when you activate your turn signal.
Apart from the list of add-ons on the Kia Carnival SX Prestige trim, the Carnival SX is mostly the same where you still get a myriad of features and amenities, such as the highlights of power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, lane departure and lane keep assist, parking collision avoidance, 3-zone automatic climate control, power-folding side mirrors, surround-view 360-degree camera system, LED headlights and foglights, and a rear-seat entertainment system via dual 11.6-inch touchscreens with several video-source inputs.
Finally, the price difference in the new Kia Carnival SX and SX Prestige is approximately $5,000 more where the Carnival SX tests out at $42,770 and the SX Prestige is $47,770 out the door.
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