2022 Kia Carnival Minivan Earns IIHS Top Safety Pick Honor

Carnival is the latest addition to Kia’s growing fleet of sturdy, customer-friendly, and value-for-money automobiles. The aging Sedona minivan was retired and the 2022 Carnival stepped in its shoes to dominate the minivan segment. For the average passer-by, this minivan’s dominating presence and styling easily fools one into thinking that it is a Range Rover. And we don’t blame them for that. Its massive wheels, sleek crossover-like proportions, and a daunting grille with signature daytime running lights make it a sight to behold, just like a Range Rover.

Carnival’s boxy design takes inspiration from the raging success of its sibling- Telluride. And Kia’s love for experimenting with new things pays off dividends this time as well; for the minivan received stellar ratings from critics all around. That is quite a remarkable feat for a minivan that was just introduced. And to add to its trophy cabinet, the 2022 Kia Carnival Minivan wins the Safety Pick Award, a prestigious recognition bestowed by the reputed American road safety agency IIHS. However, there is a slight catch which we will discuss in the later parts of the review.

2022 Kia Carnival IIHS Safety Ratings

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a private, non-profit agency that rates consumer cars for safety. This way the customer can make an informed decision before narrowing down on their purchase. 2022 Kia Carnival is a brand new face in the minivan segment and as expected it received “Good” ratings in all six crashworthiness tests.

Small overlap front driver side Good
Small overlap front passenger side Good
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Good
Head restraints &seats Good
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle Superior
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian(day) Superior
Headlights Good (SX Prestige trim)

Poor (LX/EX/SX trims)

Seat belt reminders Acceptable
LATCH ease of use Acceptable

Judging from the table above, the 2022 Kia Carnival did perform well in terms of structural integrity and passenger protection in the event of a crash. Moreover, it also received “Superior” rating in terms of Front crash prevention (Both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian systems alike). And as a result, it qualified for the “Top Safety Pick” award. But it misses out on the “Top Safety Pick+” title.

For a vehicle to be assigned the most prestigious IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, it needs to fulfill certain criteria. The criteria include getting the highest rating of ‘Good’ in all six crashworthiness tests. The vehicle should also have an advanced driver assistance system and decent headlights to make a strong statement in terms of safety. And the Kia Carnival certainly gets the first part right.

So where do things begin to fall apart for the 2022 Kia Carnival minivan? We owe the debacle to its headlights. Only the Carnival’s top-rated trim, the SX Prestige receives a ‘Good’ rating for its headlights. This is because it comes standard with LED Projector headlamps while the rest of trims come standard with LED reflector headlamps. In contrast, the rest of the trim lineup is rated ‘Poor’. Moreover, the seat belt reminder system and the LATCH system on the Carnival received an ‘Acceptable’ rating.

2022 Kia Carnival Standout Safety Features

Kia’s Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) takes center stage inside the Carnival minivan, providing a bunch of safety and assist features. Standard safety gizmo onboard includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning with avoidance assist, rear cross-traffic warning with braking active parking assist, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high beams

Optional safety gizmo includes a Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C) system. As fancy as the abbreviation sounds, this system controls the navigation system to lower the vehicle’s speed proactively as it detects any curves in the road ahead of you. Kia also has integrated a Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist-Cyclist Detection and Junction Turning, a system that detects pedestrians as well as cyclists on the road, and mitigates an impact by utilizing the automatic emergency braking feature. You also get Highway Driving Assist as optional, a system that continuously adjusts vehicle speed on interstate highways. This system gets its info from the navigation system.

2022 Kia Carnival Vs Its Competitors In Terms Of Safety

2022 Kia Carnival faces tough competition from the likes of the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, and Chrysler Pacifica, all of which are already daunting names in the minivan segment. The bad news for Kia is that all these three minivans make it to the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list. The Odyssey excels in the safety tests with a ‘Good’ rating in every aspect. The same can be said for the Toyota Sienna, which comes standard with advanced driver assistance system and good headlights like its Honda rival. Pacifica boasts of an advanced driver assistance system like Kia but comes with acceptable headlights. Still, the Pacifica makes the cut for the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

Should You Buy The 2022 Kia Carnival?

2022 Kia Carnival minivan excels in the IIHS crash tests. Its superb crashworthiness scores earn it the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. Still, even this award isn’t enough, as all its rival minivans get the cream-of-the-crop award in terms of safety. But the Carnival is still new to the minivan scene, as it aims to fully replace the old Sedona minivan and make a name for itself. And we expect that its safety scores will only improve over time.