Kia Wants You To Believe The Carnival Isn’t A Minivan In First Ad

Once upon a time in America, minivans ruled the roadways as the family vehicle of choice. Similarly, there was once a very American-sounding minivan from Kia called the Sedona. That’s all changed, as SUVs now rule with families far and wide and the Sedona is no more. That is, in name anyway. Kia’s minivan now endures under its global moniker Carnival, though Kia really doesn’t want you to call it a minivan.

That’s the gist from Kia’s new ad campaign for the Carnival, which includes the above commercial laced with rough-and-tumble footage of dirt bikes, dusty campsites, and various trailers being towed. There’s nary a mention of minivan, because Kia calls the Carnival a multi-purpose vehicle. The campaign is further pressed by the automaker in a press release about the marketing endeavor, while also emphasizing the Carnival’s versatile capabilities.

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“The Carnival MPV defines a new vehicle segment – the multi-purpose vehicle: versatile, capable, and comfortable, and provides owners what they need, when they need it,” said Russell Wager, Kia’s vice president of marketing for North America. “From daily commuting and long-haul road trips to camping adventures, family vacations, and moving duty, the Carnival MPV easily transforms from a stylish and sophisticated adventurer to a cavernous cargo hauler. And everything in between.”

If the first sentence in that quote doesn’t sit well with you, no worries. Kia apparently doesn’t realize the plethora of traditional MPVs that have existed in Europe for decades, never mind vehicles like the Ford C-Max in the States. Heck, Mazda even sold a vehicle that was actually called MPV, though we acknowledge that specific definitions for MPV, SUV, and minivan are seriously blended at this point. Still, it’s not a new segment by any means.

That said, we’re not anti-Carnival. We get what Kia is trying to sell – its straighter lines, slabbed sides, and sizeable nose give the Carnival a distinct SUV look, and it’s a good look. Those sliding side doors, however, are pure minivan and you know what? There’s not a damn thing wrong with that. So come on Kia, just own it already.

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