Three Rows, Two Ways: 2022 Kia Carnival Minivan vs. 2022 Honda Pilot SUV

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The Kia Carnival and Honda Pilot are two great choices in family vehicles. The Carnival is a spacious minivan with sliding doors and a roomy interior, while the Honda Pilot is one of the most family-friendly options in midsize SUVs and is available with all-wheel drive.

Stumped on what to choose? Let’s take a closer look at these family haulers and find the right one for you.

2022 Kia Carnival

The Kia Carnival is the new minivan offering in the Korean brand’s lineup, replacing the outgoing Sedona. It’s a competitive and value-conscious choice in minivans with desirable features and affordable pricing. The starting price is $32,300, and it climbs to about $47,000 in the top trim.

The Carnival is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It makes 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and returns up to 19 city/26 highway mpg.

Kia Carnival Highlights

Value pricing: The Kia Carnival is one of the most affordable options available for minivans. Some rivals’ fully loaded top trims can cross the $50,000 mark, but not the Carnival. It also has a low starting price of $32,300. By comparison, the Honda Pilot has a higher starting price for its class: $38,080.

Minivan practicality: Some SUVs like the Honda Pilot can get quite close to being as practical as a minivan. However, no SUV can match a true minivan as a family-friendly utility. Sliding rear doors, roomy 3-row seating, and a spacious cargo hold make the Carnival great for families, as does its IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

Advanced tech features: The Carnival comes with a lengthy list of standard features, with even more desirable features available in the higher trims. Standard features include second-row captain’s chairs, power sliding rear doors, LED headlights, remote start, and much more. As for the standard tech features, you get an 8-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, many safety tech features, and seven USB ports.

2022 Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is an appealing choice if you want minivan-like practicality in the form of an SUV. This midsize SUV has standard 3-row seating with decent room in the third row, which is a claim not all of its rivals can make. It’s not as roomy as the Carnival, but it’s spacious for a midsize SUV. Pricing starts at $38,080 and goes up to about $52,000.

Every Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission. It produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and returns up to 20 city/27 highway mpg with FWD and 19 city/26 highway mpg with AWD.

Honda Pilot Highlights

Available AWD: Unlike the Kia Carnival, the Honda Pilot is available with all-wheel drive (AWD). AWD gives the Pilot confidence-inspiring traction on snowy roads and a modicum of off-road capability. If AWD is a must for you, then this is the better choice between the two.

Many standard features: The starting price of the Pilot is a little high for its class, but its generous list of standard features helps justify the price tag. Every Pilot comes with the Honda Sensing safety tech suite, LED headlights and fog lights, Intelligent Traction Management, tri-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and more.

Rugged TrailSport model: The TrailSport model is a new addition to the Pilot lineup for 2022. This adds some tough attitude to this practical SUV with extra ground clearance and an exclusive appearance package with 18-inch wheels wrapped in rugged-style tires. Other features include navigation, a power liftgate, and leather seats with contrast stitching.


On top of its minivan practicality, the Carnival has more affordable pricing, better IIHS safety scores, and a longer powertrain warranty. The Pilot has the advantages of available all-wheel drive and a more rugged aesthetic, especially in the new TrailSport trim. Depending on your needs and lifestyle, either of these vehicles may just be the answer you’re looking for.

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