Compared: 2023 Kia Carnival vs. 2023 Honda Odyssey
Except for their exteriors, these two minivans differ in subtle ways.
If you’re in the market for a vehicle with loads of features, a comfortable ride, a great deal of space, and decent fuel economy, there are few vehicles better than a minivan. The Honda Odyssey certainly looks the part, with its truncated nose and curved edges, whereas the Kia Carnival tries really hard to pass as an SUV. Given how similar the two are in price, content, and fuel economy, your purchase decision may very well come down to appearance.
2023 Kia Carnival vs. 2023 Honda Odyssey: Price
The Carnival opens at around $34,000, or almost $5,000 less than the nearly $38,700 base Odyssey. That’s a sizable price gap, considering both vans make do with front-wheel drive and a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6. In fact, the Kia’s engine has a slight power advantage, 290 ponies to the Honda’s 280. But then the Carnival—which replaced the Sedona for 2022—has little name recognition and may need a low price to lure buyers away from Honda’s showroom. Moreover, the gap shrinks at the top of the lineup, where buyers can spec either model with every factory-offered bell and whistle starting around $50,000.
2023 Kia Carnival vs. 2023 Honda Odyssey: Features
True to their utility mission, these vans come with loads of desirable standard equipment, including an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, proximity key entry, and comprehensive safety suites with lane keeping, blind spot monitoring, and automatic high-beams.
The good news is that both offer most of the same amenities (e.g. ventilated front seats, wireless phone charging, and a back-seat monitor and intercom) somewhere in their lineups. That said, each manufacturer packages this stuff differently. For instance, every Odyssey comes with eight seats, but you can easily remove the middle spot in the second row to make captain’s chairs. The Carnival, meanwhile, offers different seating arrangements based on the trim level.
You can get a rear-seat entertainment system in either van. Kia’s is optional on the top Carnival models and consists of two seat-mounted screens; Honda’s system features just one display, but it comes standard on the top Odyssey trims.
While every model has a backup camera, Kia equips the top two Carnival trims with a surround-view monitor providing a bird’s-eye view of the van during parking maneuvers. You won’t find that in the Odyssey. Nor will you find a 12.3-inch infotainment screen, which Kia provides in the mid-level model and above.
All Odysseys have heated front seats and adaptive cruise control—two things that Kia reserves for trim levels above base. Want leather upholstery? You’ll need to choose the top Carnival or any but the lowliest Odyssey.
As for interior space, the Carnival comes out ahead, if only by a hair: It has 167 cu. ft. of passenger volume and 40 cubes of cargo capacity behind the third row, whereas the Odyssey provides 164 and 33 cubes, respectively.
2023 Kia Carnival vs. 2023 Honda Odyssey: Fuel Economy
This category is mostly a wash, with both the Honda and the Kia returning 22 mpg on the Environmental Protection Agency’s combined cycle. The Odyssey performs a little better on the highway (28 mpg) than the Carnival (26 mpg), possibly because it embraces the rounded body of the minivan archetype rather than the squared-off sheetmetal of an SUV. Both models take regular unleaded, but the Odyssey’s 19.5-gallon gas tank can hold a half-gallon more than the Kia’s, which amounts to more miles of range between fill-ups.