The fourth-gen Kia Carnival will receive a facelift in 2023, and with the mid-life update, the minivan’s range will reportedly see the addition of a Hybrid variant. The Kia Carnival Hybrid has a fair chance of sailing to the U.S., where competitors are already available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.
S.Korean websites uncover the Kia Carnival Hybrid
According to a post on Naver cafe allfm01, the Kia Carnival Hybrid will enter production at the Kia Autoland Gwangmyeong plant (formerly the Kia Sohari plant) on November 15, 2023. The post mentions the hybrid minivan as a derivative of ‘KA4 PE,’ which is the codename of the Carnival, with ‘PE’ the abbreviation of ‘Product Enhancement.’
It’s not the first time a Carnival Hybrid has made the news. On September 13, 2022, Asia Times reported that Kia would begin producing the Carnival Hybrid in 2023. The rollout would begin earlier, in June 2023, according to this article. The company was already preparing for production of the hybrid minivan at the Gwangmyeong factory, the local publication said.
Despite no consensus on the production date in the media, a Carnival Hybrid is expected to debut and reach dealers in 2023. Note that Kia has not confirmed the variant, and the timelines mentioned in the reports are for the S. Korean market. What’s more, road-testing of the new Carnival has commenced. An image (via YouTube/우파푸른하늘Woopa TV) shows a camouflaged test mule of the minivan in a South Korean parking lot. However, we are yet to know whether this particular prototype was a hybrid.
Kia may use a combination of a 1.6-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and an electric motor in the Carnival Hybrid, identical to the new Sportage Hybrid and Sorento Hybrid. However, instead of the 6-speed automatic transmission, it is likely to employ an 8-speed AT in the electrified minivan.
We expect that the Kia Carnival Hybrid will be significantly more efficient than the gas-powered Carnival 3.5L V6, which returns an EPA-est. fuel economy of 22 MPG (combined). We expect the EPA est. fuel economy rating to be around 35 MPG. While the gas-powered Carnival 3.5L V6 has an EPA-est. range 418 miles, the Carnival Hybrid’s EPA-est. range could be well over 550 miles. That would mean fewer stops at gas stations. Note that we have no confirmation from the company that the hybrid model is sailing to the U.S.
Furthermore, there are rumors in the media that a Kia Carnival EV and a Kia Carnival FCEV derivatives are also in development. However, these inclusions are unlikely to arrive at dealerships, neither in South Korea nor in the U.S., before 2024.
The Kia Carnival Hybrid can be a great value-for-money minivan with significantly lower fuel consumption and a notably higher range than the V6-powered vehicle. As far as fuel economy goes, it should be able to match Toyota’s Sienna Hybrid, or at least come close to it.
Featured image: Kia