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2023 Kia Carnival: Choosing the Right Trim

The Kia Carnival replaced the Sedona for the 2022 model year as the minivan in the Kia lineup. Kia calls it an “MPV,” but make no mistake. This is a minivan with roomy 3-row seating and convenient sliding rear side doors. It’s the ultimate family hauler at the Kia dealer.

2023 Kia Carnival 7 Passenger 3 Row

The Carnival is available in four distinct trims using the same engine. It’s got a 3.5-liter V6 powering the front wheels, which is par for the course for a minivan. However, there are some hybrid options like the plug-in hybrid variant of the Chrysler Pacifica and the hybrid-only Toyota Sienna. The Honda Odyssey is another excellent minivan worth considering, which also comes exclusively with a regular gas-powered V6.

As of this writing, Kia hasn’t announced official pricing for the 2023 Carnival. When looking at the pricing figures below, keep in mind that these are our estimates based on the pricing of the 2022 model. Since the Carnival was all-new for 2022, we expect few — if any — significant changes for 2023.

Let’s dig into the Kia Carnival model range and find the perfect minivan for your family.

2023 Kia Carnival LX (starting at $32,600)

The LX trim is well-equipped for a base model, making it a good value in minivans. Standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, power sliding rear doors, 3-row seating with second-row captain’s chairs, an 8-inch infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, USB ports in all three rows, and push-button start.

A long list of standard safety features in the Carnival includes blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, driver attention warning, lane-keep assist with lane-following assist, rear occupant alert, safe exit assist, a backup camera, rear parking sensors, and automatic emergency braking.

There’s an LX Seat Package available that adds a middle seat in the second row. This brings the total seating capacity to eight rather than seven.

With a starting price of $32,600 and a destination fee of $1,335, the Kia Carnival LX totals $33,935. Financing that amount for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down equates to a monthly payment of around $586. See 2023 Kia Carnival LX models for sale.

2023 Kia Carnival LX includes:

Power sliding doors — These will make you glad you went with a minivan instead of an SUV.

Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay — Enjoy your maps, music, and more without taking your phone out of your purse or pocket.

Safety tech — Standard safety tech features include automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and more.

2023 Kia Carnival EX (starting at $38,100)

The EX trim adds many desirable features while keeping the price reasonable, making it the best value in the Carnival lineup for most drivers. Like the LX with the Seat Package, the EX trim has seating for up to eight.

Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, sunshades for the second and third-row windows, SynTex faux leather seats, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, tri-zone automatic climate control, a wireless charging pad, power second-row windows, and a hands-free power liftgate.

The EX trim and up have an upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment system that adds navigation, HD Radio, and SiriusXM. The EX trim also has an 8-speaker audio system, while LX only has six speakers. Other cool tech features include an in-cabin camera and intercom system and Quiet Mode, which lets you turn off the rear speakers if your passengers are asleep.

Extra driver assistance tech features in the Kia Carnival EX model include a more advanced forward collision avoidance system with cyclist detection, front parking sensors, navigation-based adaptive cruise control, and the Highway Driving Assist semi-autonomous driving system.

With a starting price of $38,100 and a destination fee of $1,335, the Kia Carnival EX totals $39,435. Financing that amount for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down equates to a monthly payment of around $709. See 2023 Kia Carnival EX models for sale.

2023 Kia Carnival EX includes:

Highway Driving Assist — This semi-autonomous driving system makes highway cruising safer and easier.

Upgraded infotainment system — You get extra features like navigation, HD Radio, and SiriusXM as well as a bigger screen.

In-cabin camera and intercom — These family-friendly tech features let you keep an eye on what your passengers are up to and discipline them without losing your voice.

2023 Kia Carnival SX (starting at $41,300)

The SX trim is where the Carnival starts to get into luxury territory. You get some excellent premium features, but it is debatable whether it’s worth the extra cost over the EX trim.

Standard features on the upscale Carnival SX include stylish satin chrome exterior and interior trim, roof rails, power-folding mirrors, LED fog lights, a 115V power outlet, a power front passenger seat, a memory driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, a dual-screen rear entertainment system, reverse automatic emergency braking, and a 360-degree camera.

With a starting price of $41,300 and a destination fee of $1,335, the Kia Carnival SX totals $42,635. Financing that amount for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down equates to a monthly payment of around $766. See 2023 Kia Carnival SX models for sale.

2023 Kia Carnival SX includes:

Satin Chrome trim — Satin chrome trim inside and out adds a more premium vibe to this minivan.

Rear entertainment system — The dual-screen rear entertainment system is the big selling point of the SX trim.

More safety tech — Reverse automatic emergency braking and a surround-view camera are added to the long list of safety tech features.

2023 Kia Carnival SX Prestige (starting at $45,700)

The SX Prestige trim sits at the top of the Carnival model range. If you want a minivan that feels like a luxury SUV, this is the family hauler for you.

Standard features include dual LED headlights, LED rear combination lamps, a dual-pane sunroof, leather seats, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, an auto-dimming mirror with a universal garage door opener, LED interior lighting, second-row heated and ventilated VIP lounge seats with leg extension, a heated steering wheel, Bose 12-speaker premium audio, and a blind spot view monitor.

With a starting price of $45,700 and a destination fee of $1,335, the Kia Carnival SX Prestige totals $47,035. Financing that amount for 60 months at 3% interest with no money down equates to a monthly payment of around $845. See 2023 Kia Carnival SX Prestige models for sale.

2023 Kia Carnival SX Prestige includes:

Leather seats — This is the only trim level of the Carnival that comes with genuine leather seats.

VIP lounge seats — The second-row seats slide, recline, and come with a leg extension. They’re also heated and ventilated.

Digital gauge cluster — This cool tech feature makes you feel like you’re piloting a luxury vehicle.


What is the best 2023 Kia Carnival trim?

For most drivers, the well-equipped and reasonably priced Carnival EX is the best value. It offers many desirable features at a reasonable price.

How many mpg does the 2023 Kia Carnival get?

The Kia Carnival is rated at 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined.

Which 2023 Kia Carnival trim level offers the most safety?

The top 2023 Kia Carnival, the SX Prestige, is the safest version because it has LED projector headlights. All Kia Carnivals, though, are considered an IHS Top Safety Pick.

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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