2025 Kia Carnival Gets Sharper Styling, Adds a 242-HP Hybrid Model

2025 kia carnival hev
2025 Kia Carnival Adds New 242-HP Hybrid ModelKia

Kia first revealed the refreshed 2025 Carnival for the Korean market back in October, with new front and rear designs that mirror the 2025 Kia Sorento. Now at the 2024 Chicago auto show, Kia has unveiled the facelifted version of the minivan that will reach the United States this summer. Along with sharper looks and bigger screens, the major news is the addition of a new hybrid variant that will be offered on four of the Carnival's five trims.

2025 kia carnival hev rear

The second-level LXS trim will be the cheapest way to get the hybrid powertrain, which will also be offered in the EX, SX, and top-tier SX Prestige. The Carnival HEV pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder with a 72-hp electric motor, good for a combined 242 ponies and 271 pound-feet of torque and sent through a six-speed automatic transmission. Kia will continue to offer the 3.5-liter V-6 on every trim, although the automaker quotes it at 287 horsepower and 260 pound-feet, down by 3 horsepower and 2 pound-feet versus the published figures for the 2024 model. Both setups power the front wheels.

The hybrid model also receives exclusive 17-inch wheels, features three levels of regenerative braking, and includes Kia's E-Handling system, which purports to improve handling by accelerating or decelerating the electric motor. There is also a system called "E-Ride," which uses specially tuned shocks and also accelerates or decelerates the e-motor to alleviate the impact of bumps. These systems also contribute to the evasive assist system, which helps control the vehicle during emergency maneuvers.

2025 kia carnival hev interior

As we'd previously seen on the Korea-spec model, the Carnival wears a new design sporting upside-down-L-shaped lights. The grille is larger than before, and the front and rear bumpers have been revised. The license plate housing was also shifted lower, and a series of wheels between 17 and 19 inches in diameter are available. Kia is offering a Dark Edition in limited quantities that renders the exterior trim, such as the roof rails, skid plates, C-pillar, grille, and wheels, in a darkened hue.

On the Inside

The cabin has also been reconfigured, with the climate controls now sitting separate from the central console, which, at least in the hybrid, now has a rotary gear selector instead of a traditional lever. While the optional 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen are still present—albeit in a revised housing—the standard 8.0-inch touchscreen has been replaced by a 12.0-inch screen. There is also an optional full-color head-up display that shows navigation and an available digital rearview mirror.

2025 kia carnival hev

Kia says the cabin is dotted with seven USB-C ports, along with two power outlets. At night, lights within the seatbelt buckle turn on to help you locate the connection point. A new voice recognition system can differentiate if the voice is coming from the first or second row and can perform functions like opening windows or changing the climate control. The voice command can also put the rear seats into "relaxation mode" in Carnivals with the VIP Lounge Seat package.

The Carnival utilizes Kia's newest operating system, dubbed Connected Car Navigation Cockpit. Kia promises a faster system, and regularly used controls are now easily accessible via a swipe on the screen. Rear passengers also have access to a new optional rear entertainment system, consisting of two 14.6-inch screens that can stream video, connect to Bluetooth headphones, and mirror from devices using an HDMI port.

Kia also offers a digital key that allows drivers to use their smartphone as a virtual key, even without taking it out of their pocket. Drivers can also share the key with others over text message. The Carnival also receives an expanded safety suite for 2025, including a feature called Highway Driving Assist 2 that, on certain highways, keeps the vehicle a predetermined distance behind the car in front and within the lane. In certain conditions, it will also assist in lane changes.

The 2025 Carnival will go on sale this summer. Pricing should be announced in the coming months, but we wouldn't expect a major jump over the 2024 model's $34,995 base price. We think the hybrid will cost roughly $2000 more than the gas-only version.

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