Last month Kia coined a new, fourth-generation minivan and the term “Grand Utility Vehicle” to go with it. Known as the Carnival in its home market of South Korea, and as the Sedona here, Kia’s given us a look at the “comfortable and futuristic” interior we can expect when the model goes on sale. We like the current Sedona, but the imminent upgrade is immediately clear and comprehensive even in photos. The automaker calls the interior design theme “Spatial Talents,” which sounds like a superpower your home mover or the guy at U-haul has, but it refers to the how designers made the most of a slightly larger body and roomier interior. The minivan’s wheelbase grows 1.2 inches, overall length extends by 1.6 inches, 1.2 of that being rear overhang, and width gets an extra pip of 0.4 inches. Depending on market, seating arrangements for seven, nine or 11 people will provide more room for every occupant in every row.
The star draw is the instrument panel, where Kia placed the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen in a cohesive enclosure under a single pane of glass. A full-width horizontal band separates the upper and lower areas of the instrument panel, vents tucked discreetly into the contrasting divider. Below that, dedicated buttons and another screen offer radio and climate controls, a shift-by-wire rotary knob set atop the transmission tunnel where a bulkier shift lever currently sits. More upscale materials are laid throughout the cabin. Second-row passengers benefit from new USB outlets on the front seatbacks, nets to hold electronic devices, and a storage drawer at the base of the rear console.
The only engine available in our Sedona is a 3.3-liter V6 with 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. The next-gen Sedona will likely follow the powertrain lead of the new Sorento. That means a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder putting out around 277 horsepower and 310 pound-feet, and a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder hybrid with 227 hp and 259 lb-ft.
The Carnival goes on in South Korea in the third quarter of this year, with rollout to global market following that.