The Honda Odyssey 2022 has plenty of passenger space in all three rows. It’s also versatile and, like minivans, fun to drive. There’s also the redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna, which has a new look and a standard hybrid powertrain that provides excellent fuel economy. Finally, there’s the updated 2021 Chrysler Pacifica. Revised styling and a new infotainment system add to the van’s exceptional ability to move quickly from school shuttle to freight hauler.
As a replacement for the previous Sedona, the Kia’s Carnival is better placed to create a sensation. For buyers who have wrestled with the Honda Odyssey vs. Toyota Sienna debate, or who are trying to decide whether to buy a Chrysler Pacifica or a Honda Odyssey, is it time to bring home a carnival? Read on to see which one stands out as the best minivan around.
Kia Carnival vs. Toyota Sienna
The redesigned Sienna largely follows in the footsteps of the previous Sienna. This is generally fine, but leaves it behind Carnival in a few areas.
The big advantage of the Sienna is its standard hybrid powertrain. It reports exceptional fuel economy to the tune of 36 mpg estimated by the EPA (36 city / 36 highway). We also found these numbers very easy to compare in actual driving. In comparison, the Carnival has a more typical EPA rating of 22 mpg combined (19 city / 26 highway).
Another advantage of the Sienna is the available all-wheel drive. The improved traction of all-wheel drive can be a real plus if you frequently drive on slippery roads. The Carnival only comes with front wheel drive. The Sienna is also easy to drive: it has smooth steering and behaves like a small car. Carnival seems heavier and stiffer in comparison.
When it comes to traditional minivan attributes, the Sienna shines. There is plenty of room for all passengers and excellent outward visibility from the driver’s seat. We’re also fans of advanced driver aids and cool optional features (such as a cabin intercom system) that can make driving safer and reduce distractions. Carnival here deserves similar praise.
There are a few downsides to the Sienna. First, the Sienna misuses its standard 9-inch screen, and glare from the sun can make it almost unusable. The Carnival has a smaller standard screen but it performs better. The Sienna also lags the class in terms of maximum cargo capacity. It has less maximum space because you can’t remove the Sienna’s second row of seats (they fold up against the first row). Its total maximum space of 101 cubic feet is much less than that of the Carnival at 145.1 cubic feet.
Toyota has produced an impressive minivan, and while the Carnival sometimes eclipses it, we still see the Sienna as a smart choice.