It’s a popular refrain to say minivans are a dead segment because of SUVs. But as I spent a week in the exceptional Kia carnival and families would seem to disagree. In a local park during softball practice, I saw several different models of minivans. Parents brought their kids to a baseball game.

I also saw them giving their kids some exercise by walking around in the park. The carnivals stood out beyond their exceptional looks. With a striking front end, its silhouette resembles more of an SUV than a Minivan.

It had a wide range of technology available. It also had a lot of comforts including a VIP lounge seat and arrangement on premium models. The carnival SX model I drove featured a 3.5-liter direct injection v6 underneath the hood.  It makes 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

It gets an EPA-rated 26 miles per gallon on the highway. It’s matted to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It has some of the most advanced driver-assist systems. It includes; highway driver assist, lane departure warning, parking distance warning, and brake assist. There’s cross-traffic assist and a bunch of other options.

I loved the rear-seat entertainment system. You’re able to watch content via streaming, USB, and HDMI where you can actually plug in a gaming system.

I enjoyed playing some of our music from the Carnegie Mellon project on the USB. I also used the entertainment system to watch some of our videos. The wireless charging also came in handy. There is a 12.3-inch touch screen navigation system, that’s exceptional. It also features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capabilities. I spent my time driving on I-95 North and all the way West to West Virginia on I-270.

I also drove around the DC metropolitan area on I-495 and beyond. The fit and finish were more reminiscent of a luxury vehicle.

Everything is tightly woven with very few gaps. The Carnival is built at the Sohari factory that I visited outside Seoul, South Korea. The base price on the Kia Carnival SX is $41,100. The delivered price was $42,770. The only option was the ceramic silver paint that had a great striking contrast with the all-black wheels.

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