Kia's minivan is getting a complete makeover with a new name in the United States — and perhaps Canada, too. And Kia won't be calling the new vehicles a minivan, officially.
Billed as a multi-purpose vehicle, the 2022 model is a replacement for the Sedona. Kia will call the new vehicle the Carnival in the United States, but Kia Canada would neither confirm or deny a name change is coming to Canada, too.
The new name aligns the United States with the rest of the world, where Kia's minivan has been sold as the Carnival. In 2020, Kia's midsize sedan, the Optima, was rebranded the K5 to match the name marketed elsewhere.
The Carnival will be unveiled Feb. 23 and will be the first vehicle in the United States to feature Kia's new logo and badging. Kia Canada confirmed the vehicle “will be launching in North America” and that “a Canadian-specific launch” will happen at 2 p.m. ET on Feb. 23.
Kia said the Carnival MPV in the United States will push "the boundaries of design and innovation to become a multifaceted and unexpected companion."
Based on a preview image released by Kia, it will offer three rows of seating, room for seven or eight passengers and "bold and boxy" styling that resembles the brand's recent latest utility vehicles such as the Telluride, Sorento, and Seltos.
The changes are designed to remain viable in a market shifting away from traditional minivans and embracing crossovers and SUVs. While the minivan segment continues to shrink, it remains a key entry point to some brands for buyers, notably families, that want more functionality (think multiple cupholders and storage bins), more flexible seating and easier entry and exit in a vehicle.
U.S. sales of the Sedona tallied 13,190 in 2020, down 17 per cent, placing it fifth among all minivans, behind the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna and Dodge Grand Caravan. Sales were off 26.8 per cent to 3,653 in Canada,where it trailed all but the Pacifica.
The U.S. Carnival will be equipped with best-in-class cargo volume, a 290 hp V-6 engine, and advance driver assistance and safety gear, Kia said, including what it says is a segment-exclusive blind-spot view monitor.