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Progressive Young Families Beware! Next-generation Kia Sedona Looms

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What a year 2020’s turned out to be! Sure, there’s stuff happening in the background, but look at all the minivan news. Chrysler’s coming out with an all-wheel drive Pacifica, Toyota’s turning the Sienna into a dedicated hybrid, and Kia — well, Kia’s not giving up.

As the least popular minivan in a shrinking segment, Kia’s Sedona will not fade from the U.S. market. Not when there’s a fourth-generation model about to debut in Kia’s South Korean home base. 

Called the Carnival in that market, the name calls to mind a large, spacious conveyance filled with tourists or family members eager to stretch their travel dollars. In other words, perfect for applying to the exterior of a minivan.

Kia Motors released this sketch of the fourth-gen Carnival/Sedona Thursday, exciting those few minivan intenders who like bucking trends and going their own way. The company claims the model “will appeal to progressive young families with its combination of innovation, flexibility, and style.”

Apparently, its designers dubbed it a “Grand Utility vehicle.”

Given what’s just been unveiled by the competition, Kia will have to really put some muscle behind the innovation angle. It’s worth noting that, powertrains aside, the model’s existing available second-row lounging chairs have now been replicated by Toyota.

Kia’s certainly being a tease here, not offering up any secret we can’t already see in the rendering. There’s talk of “futuristic new details” and little else, aside from the supposedly SUV-inspired designs many minivan makers seem to be gravitating towards. Hell, look at the massive console in the upcoming Sienna.

The design isn’t busy. Niger-nose grille up front, and a ruler-straight character line joining headlamp to taillight. There’ll be no body-color B- or C-pillar, and the roof edge droops lower aft of the second row, lending the vehicle a more crossover-esque appearance. The hood line is flatter, too. If the rendering tells us anything, it’s that Kia might even opt for wheel arch cladding, though this could be a trick of the light.

While the Sedona will likely adopt a new platform borrowed from the brand’s largest vehicle, the Telluride, it’s presumed the standard V6 powerplant will carry over. In this segment, with volumes that pale in comparison to the Honda Odyssey and its rivals, spending development dollars on hybrid and AWD hardware would likely prove a wasted investment.

All that to say we’ll have to wait for more details on what sets this ride apart from its contemporaries. The new Carnival debuts this summer before going on sale in Korea in the fourth quarter of 2020; global markets follow at a later date.

In the U.S., Sedona sale are a roller coaster with fewer ascents than descents. Sales came in just a hair under 16,000 units last year, but as recently as 2016 Kia moved more than 44,000 of them. The model’s best sales year was 2004, when Kia unloaded 61,149 Sedonas in a market much friendlier (and crowded) than it is today.

[Images: Kia]

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