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2022 Carnival EX
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Maximum number of sheets of (1/2" or 3/4" thick) 4' x 8' plywood that will fit in the cargo area at one time?
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I think the limiting factor for your question will be more of a weight restriction than a height limitation. However, I can say this from experience, you will need to move the front seats uncomfortably close to the dash to be able to shut the hatch and the 48" width barely fits so you run a high risk of majorly scratching the interior. It is so tight that you can't fit a sheet of MDF in the back (as MDF is 49"x97"). If you are going to haul sheets of plywood, just get a trailer.
 

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2022 Kia Carnival LX in Silky Silver
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It’s strange that this is no longer a concern for people who like to do DIY projects. It seems in the past that hauling 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood was the standard for being able to haul things in vans and minivans. Now you’re lucky if you can even remove the seats.

I’d love to have a vehicle capable of comfortably hauling sheets of plywood while being able to close the hatch and not scratch any interior panels. Maybe it’s something people would still like but no manufacturers are currently offering this option.
 

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I did it. Took out 2nd row. I only had 2 sheets and it was snug. But I think you can fit a big stack maybe 10? Scratching wasn't an issue as I was careful and put tarp on the carpet.
You can also haul plywood and sheetrock without removing the middle row of seats. I just folded down the middle row, put a tarp over the seats, and slid my plywood/sheetrock sheets in the back and up onto the folded backs of the middle row chairs. I actually had a small audience of skeptical onlookers in the hardware store parking lot. They were quite surprised that it worked. I actually, was quite relieved that it worked, because I was also slightly skeptical. Probably on room for 2 sheets without really putting out an effort because, with the angle, the top sheet sticks out further than the bottom sheet and each progressive sheet sticks out more. That means the sheets on top will rub and press against the interior of the back truck door. You will want something to protect the door.
 

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You can also haul plywood and sheetrock without removing the middle row of seats. I just folded down the middle row, put a tarp over the seats, and slid my plywood/sheetrock sheets in the back and up onto the folded backs of the middle row chairs. I actually had a small audience of skeptical onlookers in the hardware store parking lot. They were quite surprised that it worked. I actually, was quite relieved that it worked, because I was also slightly skeptical. Probably on room for 2 sheets without really putting out an effort because, with the angle, the top sheet sticks out further than the bottom sheet and each progressive sheet sticks out more. That means the sheets on top will rub and press against the interior of the back truck door. You will want something to protect the door.
I have also done the same thing. I loaded 12 sheets of 8' drywall on top the the 2nd and 3rd rows seats folded down. The only problem is it is really tight on the sides at the hatch so you need to be careful not to scratch the plastic trim. The other issue is you have to move the both front seat REALLY far forward inorder to get the hatch to close. I mean really uncomfortably squished on the drive home. The last 3' or so of the drywall is also not supported so it bounces up and down and will rub the hatch or trim if you are not careful.
 
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