I’ll apologize firstly for the length. But we thought that this review might be interesting for current owners and useful for potential owners.
My wife and I have been owners of a Ceramic Gray SXP for about a month and 1000 miles now. We needed a minivan with 2 growing kids (5 and 2), an aging grandpa, and an aging lab. We’re also fairly active (camping, snowboarding, fishing, etc) and our current suite of cars (Macan , GLC300, Civic) just was not cutting it.
We really did not consider any other minivan even though we could have gotten an Odyssey Elite for around $40k minus taxes. To us, the Ody just looked past it’s prime despite it being the most athletic. The Sienna, while attractive for its new style , reliability, AWD, and efficiency, we were turned off by its price and poor driving manners. In the end, the Kia won us over for its value, features, warranty, and style.
After a month and 1000 miles, we feel we made the right decision. It’s what we expected and then some. Here are some of the pleasant surprises we encountered:
- The ride reminds us of a Lexus from early 2000s—it’s suspension is dialed to be ultra soft and the cabin is well isolated from outside noise. It really is a luxurious ride.
- The sheer amount of tech was surprising and all of them are well executed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Carnival has among the most standard safety features of any car, regardless of price. One of our favorites: when it tells you that the car in front of you is pulling away in case you were, ahem, texting.
- Getting to the 3rd row in the SXP is not as difficult as we thought it’d be. 1 minute before arriving to our destination, we ask the second row to pull up their seats to their proper positions (like on a plane). Then second row passengers gets out and pulls the seats outward to allow the 3rd row passengers out through the middle row. While access to the 3rd row is definitely not as elegant as other cars, it isn’t as bad as others make it out to be. It does help to have skinny family members. For larger people, the SXP seats may pose more of a problem.
- The first row design is near luxury car levels. The long metal trim, the bi-level dash, the knurled knobs and metal buttons, flushed slim vents, and the Benz like digital display just oozes high design and craftsmanship.
- We were surprised that the second row seats had theater seating where you sit higher than the front row passengers. Combined with the near infinite adjustability of the 2nd row seats, the second row seats is an extremely pleasant place to be.
- The exterior—one of those cars that look good in pictures and better in person. We are constantly getting thumbs up and compliments wherever we go. The Ceramic Silver is also an interesting color that subtly changes under different lighting conditions. And it’s great at hiding dirt.
- This is, by far, the biggest: there are some obvious (and pretty bad) cost cutting measures. While the first row exudes high levels of luxury, the second and third row simply don’t. For example, why are the plasticky 90s style 2nd row climate controls on the ceiling in the passenger side and not on the back of the center console as in most cars? The drivers side passenger has no way of controlling the temperature. And whats up with the cheap 90s cargo van style vents on the roof lining? Finally, the sheer amount of econo box grade plastic in the 2nd and 3rd row in the SXP trim is borderline offensive when you compare them to the first row design.
- The amount of storage compartments is average at best—no more than a typical mid-size SUV but unlike most minivans.
- The black wheels—yea, they should not be on a minivan.
- Yes, I can see how the RES jutting out of the rear seat being a problem one day.
So far, that’s all the quibbles we have. All minor except for the first.
Just one final comment—we were debating between the SX vs SXP. In hindsight, we’re not 100% sure the $6k premium worth it. It might if we use the blind sight feature more but we still tend to use mirrors and our necks. The fully adjustable 2nd row seats are nice to have but it does take away some of the practicality of the car. The front and rear lights are admittedly gorgeous but they’re only cosmetic features. Having leather is nice but the synthetic leather actually looks better and is probably more practical. In the end, I’d say the SXP would be worth it if it was $4k above the SX but $6k is a bit of a stretch.