Kia Introduces Turbo Hybrid Carnival

Kia’s eight-passenger Carnival people mover receives an important option for 2025. Along with a naturally aspirated gas engine, customers will now have a choice of two powertrains. The new selection is a turbocharged hybrid model, a combination that enhances both power and fuel efficiency. Marketed as an MPV, the Carnival is one of only four minivans still available.

2025 Kia Carnival HEV
2025 Carnival HEV

Minivan or Not?

So, what exactly is the Kia Carnival? The Carnival is Kia’s minivan, although they call it a multi-purpose vehicle or MPV. The reason for that may not be clear, but it has a lot to do with the term “minivan” falling out of favor over the years.

First, because there isn’t much that is “mini” about these vans, which often share the same platform as a midsize, three-row crossover utility vehicle. In Kia’s case, the Carnival is roughly the same size as the Telluride crossover.

Second, because minivans are no longer the go-to family vehicle, coming up with a different name offsets that stigma, at least in Kia’s eyes. That “dishonor” is centered on what makes a minivan a minivan – dual side sliding doors that supply ease of access to the second and third rows. There is no shame in that design, even if “minivan” causes unease with some…such as dads.

As for Kia’s competitors, just three models remain: the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Sienna, and the Honda Odyssey. Competing brands offer three-row crossovers, but no minivans.

At a Glance: 2025 Kia Carnival Hybrid

For the Kia Carnival, sales are small, averaging about 3,500 per month or less than half that of the Telluride or the slightly smaller Sorento. Even so, there is likely enough demand to keep this model going, therefore adding a turbo hybrid to the mix should generate interest.

The standard choice remains a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 287 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This one sends power to the front wheels utilizing an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Turbo Hybrid

The turbo hybrid brings in a diminutive 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and combines that with turbocharging and a hybrid system to send power to the front wheels, utilizing a 6-speed automatic transmission. Right here, it appears that the gas engine is quite small for the job at hand. But Kia assures us that the turbo hybrid combination delivers a robust 242 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, nearly matching the performance capabilities of the V6.

What we don’t know is how much of a boost in fuel economy customers will see. The standard 2025 Carnival delivers 18 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for a combined 21 mpg. We’re guessing that a combined 30 mpg is within reach, but we won’t know until the EPA releases those figures later this year.

Model Upgrades

Besides adding a turbo hybrid option, the 2025 Carnival receives several noteworthy changes. These include a new grille, cube-like headlights, refreshed exterior lighting, and updated wheel design choices.

Inside, the cabin features standard fold-in-the-floor third-row seating and removable second-row seats. Seating remains standard for eight, although some grades feature middle-row lounge chairs that drop capacity to seven.

On the tech front, Kia introduces its next-generation Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNC) operating system, which supplies over-the-air updates. An optional Connected Car Rear Cockpit (ccRC) Rear Entertainment System offers dual 14.6-inch monitors and full HD resolution. Notably, it can stream from prevalent platforms, with the capacity to insert future content over-the-air.

Pricing and Availability

The following represents the Carnival’s pricing strategy for 2025. Add $1,395 for the delivery cost:

Carnival LX: $36,500
LXS: $38,500
EX: $40,700
SX: $45,600
SX Prestige: $50,600
Hybrid LXS: $40,500
Hybrid EX: $42,700
Hybrid SX: $47,600
Hybrid SX Prestige: $52,600

Thus, to entertain the turbo hybrid, this model costs $4,000 more than the base gas model. However, as you move up the trim range, the difference narrows to as little as $2,000.

Finally, there is no federal tax credit available when purchasing the Carnival Turbo Hybrid. That credit is reserved for select plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and full-electric (EV) models.

The new Carnival arrives in Kia showrooms this summer.

See AlsoIn Praise of the Lowly Minivan

Image courtesy of Kia Media.

Matt Keegan
Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan is a journalist, media professional, and owner of this website. He has an extensive writing background and has covered the automotive sector continuously since 2004. When not driving and evaluating new vehicles, Matt enjoys spending his time outdoors.

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