There’s a new Kia Carnival in town. The 2025 model year minivan is more SUV-like than ever thanks to a chunky new face. But there’s more going on for the updated Carnival than just looks. The same can be said for the K5 sedan, which also wears new clothes for the 2025 model year.
The 2025 Kia Carnival’s updates are extensive. It’s impossible to miss the squared-off face, now wearing Kia’s large rectangular grille flanked by cube headlights and the automaker’s “Star Map” LED running lights. It exudes a chiseled, upright design, giving the van a decidedly SUV appearance. New taillights and a slightly revised rear fascia add to the beefy flavor, especially when the optional skid plate is added to the Carnival’s backside. Only when your gaze centers on the side do you see the sliding side doors, reminding you this is really a front-wheel-drive minivan.
That’s not a bad thing, either. The interior offers a copious 145.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows removed. Keep them in place and passengers can enjoy luxurious second-row accommodations with reclining seats and footrests. All passengers can partake in the optional Connected Car Rear Cockpit entertainment suite, bringing multiple 14.6-inch HD monitors to the cabin.
Meanwhile in the front, there’s a new dash and center console that, while similar in design to the outgoing Carnival, contains more tech within. We glimpsed the layout back in December, showing fewer tactile buttons and a rotary shifter in place of the old-school stalk. Kia’s Connected Car Navigation Cockpit works with things like faster processing times, adding frequently used features to an easily accessible screen, Digital Key 2 which allows smart devices like phones to serve as keys, and over-the-air updates.
Moving under the hood, there’s a new hybrid powertrain option available. It pairs a turbocharged 1.6-liter engine with a 54kW motor, generating a combined 242 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. It connects to a six-speed automatic transmission, but it’s worth noting this isn’t a plug-in hybrid setup, so there’s no electric-only range. For those who prefer their Carnival without electrification, the familiar 3.5-liter V6 is still available. However, output drops ever-so-slightly to 287 hp and 260 lb-ft of twist.
Kia hasn’t abandoned the sedan crowd. Joining the Carnival is a refreshed 2025 K5, though the changes here aren’t as dramatic here. A new front fascia retains the familiar grille shape but adds larger corner vents. The headlights are updated too, incorporating the aforementioned “Star Map” LED signature which looks like lightning bolts on the K5’s fenders. New taillights continue the theme, along with a tweaked lower rear fascia and a new trunk that has a standard-issue integrated spoiler.
The K5’s interior gets a new cluster of controls below the climate vents in the center. Kia offers a bit more standard gear on some trims, notably the EX, which has the upgraded Bose stereo, a 10-way power driver seat, a heated steering wheel, and the Digital Key system. The biggest K5 news is what you can’t see, namely the 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine that replaces the 1.6-liter turbo in non-GT models. Power rises to 191 hp, a modest increase from the outgoing K5. The GT still is a bit raucous with the turbocharged 2.5-liter setup, making 290 hp.
Both vehicles make their debut at the 2024 Chicago Auto Show, which opens to the public on February 10. Pricing for the 2025 Carnival and K5 will be announced closer to their on-sale date, expected later this year.