In the U.S., minivans are looked at as appliances. They’re merely un-cool SUVs that practical-minded soccer parents use to taxi their kids from school to practice and back home again. But in other parts of the world, minivans aren’t so stigmatized and attract mainstream appreciation for their value, spaciousness, and flexibility. They also form the basis for luxury VIP-movers, as evidenced by the nicer takes on Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter, VW’s Transporter, and this, the Kia Carnival High Limousine. Sure, it’s a minivan—likely previewing the 2022 Sedona—but it’s also pretty darn snazzy.
It might look like the new Kia Sedona with a roof tent slapped on, but the Carnival High Limousine you see before you is much more than that. It’s a lounge, a mobile office, and your favorite living room armchair—all that just happens to be packaged in minivan form. Kia offers this to its South Korean customers who want a car that does everything.
The exterior has been massaged and, even though from a distance it might look mostly the same, it has been luxed-up with extra chrome brightwork, chrome side steps for easier ingress and egress, and a new roof that resembles a VW Westfalia–style pop-up camper top. In fact, it’s not a camper at all, but an expansion piece to extend headroom in the cabin and make the passenger area feel even larger.
Inside, the High Limousine gets curtains to add a little extra privacy, LED lighting literally everywhere (in the roof, on the pillars, and even in the cupholders), and some higher-end interior trimmings. There is also what Kia calls the “Smart Monitor,” which essentially is a 21-inch screen that hangs from the roof and can display all sorts of information to the passengers or play music or movies from a thumb drive. The middle row is also a lounge-style seating area with two captains chairs that feature all sorts of adjustment and two arm rests apiece.
As you might expect, the Carnival High Limousine also comes with Kia’s latest driver assist systems such as forward and rear collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring. Prices for the Carnival High Limousine start at around $55,000, but, sadly, there’s a very good chance Kia never sells it here in Sedona form.
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