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2024 Kia Carnival Flunks Updated Side Crash Test, Other Problem Areas Noted by the IIHS

Previously marketed as the Sedona, the Carnival was redesigned from the ground up in 2020 for the 2022 model year. Be that as it may, Kia didn't put enough thought into making the family-oriented vehicle as safe as possible.
2024 Kia Carnival crash test 37 photos
Photo: IIHS / edited
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For 2022, the Carnival flunked the updated side crash test, prompting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to rate it poor. Slotted below marginal, acceptable, and good, this rating shows that you're better off with a different minivan. Both the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna, for example, received top honors in this particular scenario.

Come 2023, the Carnival was further downgraded by the non-profit organization with a marginal rating in the updated moderate overlap front crash test. Said ratings carry over to the 2024 model, which is the pre-facelift specification in the United States market. Overseas, the Carnival went through a mid-cycle refresh for 2024. The facelift is coming to America for the 2025 model year.

What else did the IIHS find unsatisfactory with the Carnival? Similar to 2023 and 2022, the 2024 model comes with two headlight variations. The LED projector-style headlights of the SX Prestige trim level are up to par, yet the LED reflector-type headlights of lesser grades are poor at best. According to the Virginia-based nonprofit organization, visibility isn't up to snuff on the left side of the road for both the low beams and high beams. What's more, visibility while cornering could be better as well.

We're not done yet, though. The IIHS also rates new vehicles for front crash prevention, and the Carnival didn't perform as expected in the nighttime vehicle-to-pedestrian scenario. Rather than superior or advanced, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety deemed the automatic emergency braking system basic. Can it get any worse?

2022 Kia Carnival MPV
Photo: Kia
Rather surprisingly, it sure can get worse for the Carnival! The seat belt reminders are acceptable, and this rating also carries over to the LATCH system. Even though we're dealing with a family vehicle, the Carnival features hard-to-find tether anchors. On the upside, Kia did correct a flaw that caused the second-row seat of the 2023 model to break loose during the IIHS' updated side impact test.

During initial testing, the second-row captain's chair on the left broke loose from the floor. Both the seat and crash test dummy tipped sideways and backward, eventually winding up on the floor of the third-row area. How did Kia fix this problem? As per the IIHS, the South Korean automaker strengthened the rails that attach the second-row seats to the floor. Otherwise said, Kia found out that aggressive cost-cutting measures have consequences.

After the paragraphs above, you might think that nobody in their right mind would buy a Carnival in the US of A. The truth of the matter is that Kia doesn't sell too many. From January 2023 through September 2023, deliveries totaled 33,173 units. The Sienna and Odyssey, by comparison, moved 47,753 and 56,359 units. The undisputed leader of the segment is Chrysler with 112,198 units of the Pacifica.

At press time, you can get a brand-new Carnival for $33,200 plus destination charge. Aforementioned competitors are slightly pricier, with the Sienna and Odyssey coming in at $37,185 and $37,840 right off the bat. As for the Pacifica, make that $38,020 at the least.

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About the author: Mircea Panait
Mircea Panait profile photo

After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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