What a year 2020 turned out to be! Sure, there is something going on in the background, but check out all the minivans news. Chrysler is releasing an all-wheel-drive Pacifica, Toyota is turning the Sienna into a dedicated hybrid, and Kia – well, Kia isn’t giving up.
As the least popular minivan in a declining segment, Kia’s Sedona will not fade from the US market. Not when there’s a fourth-gen model about to debut at Kia’s original South Korean base.
Called Carnival in this market, the name is reminiscent of a large and spacious form of transportation filled with tourists or family members eager to spend their travel money. In other words, perfect for applying to the exterior of a van.
Kia Motors released this sketch of the fourth-gen Carnival / Sedona on Thursday, exciting the few minivan adventurers who like to push trends and go their own way. The company says the model “will appeal to young progressive families with its combination of innovation, flexibility and style.”
Apparently, its designers have dubbed it a “large utility vehicle”.
Considering what has just been unveiled by the competition, Kia will have to really put some muscle behind the angle of innovation. It should be noted that, apart from the powertrains, the available second row lounge chairs on the model have now been replicated by Toyota.
Kia is certainly a tease here, offering no secrets we can’t already see in the render. It’s about “futuristic new details” and nothing else other than the supposedly SUV-inspired designs that many minivan manufacturers seem to be turning to. Hell, check out the massive console in the upcoming Sienna.
Design is not busy. Front grille in the shape of a tiger nose and a straight character line connecting the headlight to the taillight. There will be no body-colored B or C-pillars, and the roof edge sags lower at the rear of the second row, giving the vehicle a more crossover appearance. The hood line is also flatter. If the rendering tells us anything, it’s that Kia could even go for a wheel arch liner, although that could be a play of light.
While the Sedona will likely adopt a new platform borrowed from the brand’s larger vehicle, the Telluride, it is assumed that the standard V6 powertrain will be retained. In this segment, with pale volumes compared to the Honda Odyssey and its rivals, spending development dollars on hybrid and AWD hardware would likely prove to be a wasted investment.
All that to say that we will have to wait for more details on what distinguishes this merry-go-round from its contemporaries. The new Carnival debuts this summer before going on sale in Korea in Q4 2020; global markets will follow at a later date.
In the United States, Sedona sales are a roller coaster with fewer climbs than descents. Sales hit a hair’s breadth of under 16,000 units last year, but as recently as 2016, Kia moved over 44,000. The model’s best selling year was 2004, when Kia unloaded 61,149 Sedonas in a much friendlier (and crowded) market than it is today.