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Kia Gives a Preview of its Upcoming Next-Gen Sedona

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A first image of the next-generation 2022 Kia Sedona surfaces.

Minivans have lost much of their lustre with consumers in recent years in the face of the SUV onslaught, but there's still a market for them. Many are still attracted by the format, which continues to offer unmatched practicality for families.

Like everyone else, Kia sells far more SUVs than it does of its minivan, the Sedona (or Carnival, as it’s known elsewhere), but that doesn’t mean it’s not on the verge of throwing in the towel. In fact the Korean automaker just gave us a glimpse of the next generation of the model.

What’s more, the company is trying hard to seduce SUV buyers, mainly by forcing a change in the format’s unfortunate image. And so it is that Kia promises it has created a full-size minivan with a sleeker, more futuristic and more SUV-like design than previous. The company even uses the letters GUV to describe it, which stands for Grand Utility Vehicle.

We'll leave semantics aside and tip-toe past the marketing trap set for us. The new model might be a GUV in the eyes of Kia, but it’s still a minivan, period. Just one that borrows styling that's more a trademark of SUVs. How's that sound?

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2020 Kia Carnival
Photo: Kia
2020 Kia Carnival

The new Sedona inherits a taller, flatter hood and a larger vertically slatted grille with a chrome-look frame, as well as horizontal headlights accented with LED elements.

Its overall proportions don't change radically, but the blackened door pillars give the illusion of a floating roof. We don't know what the back end looks like – stay tuned for the next teaser for that, most likely. The alloy wheels are gigantic, but keep in mind that we're looking at a sketch here and proportions can change when the real thing comes along.

As for what's inside and under the hood, that’s for the future. Practicality is the keyword in the minivan segment, though, so we can expect a host of built-in features to make life easier for families. Mechanically, very possibly there could be electrified configurations; Kia won't want to leave that part of the segment pie to FCA with its Pacifica hybrid and Toyota with the new Sienna hybrid.

Kia will introduce the fourth-generation Carnival/Sedona this summer, and the model should hit dealerships in South Korea during the third quarter of 2020, before expanding to other global markets shortly thereafter. As for North America, Kia has not provided any details, and due to the coronavirus, we unfortunately don't have any more auto shows to keep us up to date on what's coming. The only one that hasn't been cancelled yet this year is the one in Los Angeles in November, but it's probably only a matter of time before it is affected as well.

A new-generation Sedona will be welcome for Kia, as the company remains a bit player in the segment. Last year, it sold 16,000 units in the U.S., while Honda and Chrysler each attracted close to 100,000 buyers for the Odyssey and Pacifica, respectively. Toyota reported 73,585 sales of its Sienna. The Dodge Grand Caravan finished the year in first place with 122,648 units sold, though that model is being retired after 2020.