There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of minivans, but those in the know are aware that there is no better way to transport around a lot of people in comfort than a van. Even though they aren’t regarded as stylish, two of the most popular minivans have injected a lot more flare in this regard: the 2024 Kia Carnival vs. 2024 Toyota Sienna. But if you’re looking for the ultimate family machine in 2024, which one should you pick? Well, let’s go ahead and find out!

Pricing and Equipment

Now like always, let’s quickly establish the pricing and trim levels right from the start. 

This time we are going to show off all the features with the top trims of both, which is the Platinum for the Toyota Sienna. It’s quite pricey at this point, $56,193 to be exact after adding a few options.

Sienna Hybrid Platinum AWD: $52,345 | Options: +$2,513 | Destination: $1,350 | Total: $56,193

Now moving on to the Carnival, its top model is called SX Prestige. This trim comes in quite a bit less expensive than the Sienna with all the features. The total price is just under $49,000.

Carnival SX Prestige: $46,300 | Options: +$995 | Destination: $1,365 | Total: $48,620

Obviously, that makes for a price difference that we will revisit later in the value, but until then, I want to go ahead and mention that if you’re in the market for either of these two, it’s a good idea to head our New Car Quote tool here. This tool gives you access to the best price in your local area and invoice pricing data, so check that out in the description if you’re interested. 

Exterior Design

While minivans get a bad rap for not being very stylish, the Sienna has always made way more of an attempt than the rivals, which earned it the swagger wagon nickname. One thing it doesn’t do is attempt to look like an SUV, which is exactly what the Carnival is going for. It has a large and upright grille in the front, as well as a cool multi part LED headlight arrangement. Both also have LED fog lamps at the bottom.  

Moving to the side, you’ll see that there really isn’t anything mini about modern minivans. At over 203 inches, they are both larger than the SUV equivalents in their respective brand lineups. You will see later just how much interior space this translates to.

Length: 203.5-inches (Sienna) | 203.0-inches (Carnival)

Design-wise we have 19-inch alloy wheels on Grand Highlander, but on the Sienna, if you choose AWD, your wheels are automatically downgraded to 18-inchers. Not only are they smaller, but they’re covered with chrome hubcaps. 

Heading out back, again, you’ll see that the Carnival is trying to go for that boxy SUV-like appearance. Differences include a hidden rear wiper on the Kia and more LED elements in the taillight cluster. Otherwise, both have hidden exhaust outlets.

Additional Features

Now checking out some of the individual features, both of their mirrors have heating, blind spot monitoring, and power-folding, but only Sienna has auto-dimming.

Safety goes beyond BSM, of course, so I’m happy to report that all active safety features are included on all trims of both vans.

One thing that’s not the same between them are the warranty coverages. As you probably know, Kia has the longest warranty in the business, but it’s also worth noting that Toyota is the only one here including free maintenance for 2 years.

Lastly, with optional towing equipment, both can handle up to 3,500 lbs. 

Towing (max): Carnival: 3,500 lbs | Sienna: 3,500 lbs

Toyota: Warranties: Basic Warranty: 3yr/36k mi | Powertrain: 5yr/60k mi | Complimentary Maintenance: 2yr/24k mi

But we all know that its what’s on the inside that matters most, and that is especially true of minivans so let’s get into that.

Carnival Interior
Sienna Interior

Interior Design

Now, approaching both vans, you will find smart entry key fob with some extra buttons on them for remote control of the doors. Kia also includes remote start on the fob, while the Toyota considers it part of their subscription services after the trial period runs out.

The Sienna has unlocking sensors built into the handle and once you open up the doors, you’ll probably be surprised by how nice they look. 

Let’s start with the seats. Both, in their highest end trim levels, rock real leather seats. On the Toyota, you’re locked exclusively into a Noble brown color option and the Kia lets you pick between brown or gray. As far as adjustment, the Kia has an advantage coming in at 12-way power vs. the 8-way on the Sienna.

Besides that, both are heated, ventilated and have memory.

Once we fully climb inside, we can get into the overall material quality. These two are similar with a mixture of leatherette, soft and hard touch plastic. The Toyota does include quite a bit more faux wood décor and leatherette padding where your knees rest, so it has a more premium feel.

After startup, you’ll see a fully digital gauge cluster on the Carnival, compared to a 7-inch MFD on Sienna.

In addition, the Carnival has their blind view camera system, but Sienna fights back with a large Head up Display, not available on Carnival.

Only the Sienna will have rain sensing wipers, but both have heated, leather-wrapped steering wheels. Sienna also goes the extra mile and includes power adjusting.

Storage and Technology

But these are minivans after all, so let’s talk about the oh-so-important category of interior storage. Here, the two minivans have taken quite different approaches. The Carnival has attempted to make the interior feel more SUV-like and therefore has a traditional console area. That means that while the Carnival’s storage isn’t bad, it is left behind by the Sienna. Sienna has a massive and versatile center console, floating center pass through, in addition to a passenger storage shelf. That’s a big advantage for parents wanting to store a snack or diaper bag up front.

Moving to the shifters, even despite the floating console, both still have traditional style shifters. When in reverse, both have 360-degree backup cameras and electronic parking brakes with brake hold are also on board. 

Now as we come to the climate controls, we have 3-zone and 4-zone climate on the Kia and Toyota, respectively. Both have large physical controls.

And speaking of knobs, let’s get an audio sample. Both have 12 speaker upgraded audio systems which have pretty solid audio quality for most families.

Sienna: 12-speaker JBL Premium sound system

Carnival: 12-speaker, Bose Premium Sound System

Now it’s time to look at the screens, where the Kia Carnival starts to pull ahead. It has a 12.3-inch display vs. the 9-inch one in the Sienna. Both have integrated navigation, and for smartphone connectivity, unfortunately neither model has upgraded to wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You won’t have to raise your voice to speak to the family, as both have built-in intercoms systems. However, only the Kia lets you watch them with a built-in camera.

Moving on, both models have auto-dimming rearview mirrors and HomeLink remotes, but if you want a dual panel moonroof you will have to choose the Carnival.

Carnival Rear
Sienna Rear

Rear Seats and Cargo

The features in the front may be nice, but it’s the rear seats that truly matter in this comparison. Before even getting in, you’ll notice both have power opening with kick ability rear doors.

Beginning with legroom and headroom, we have nearly identical figures for both. All measurements are less than the 5% difference required to score a point, but the Toyota has a secret trick up its sleeve. It has Super Long Slide seats, which can travel up to 25 inches, for nearly unlimited second row legroom. While the Kia does also slide a good distance, this feature is very cool for redistributing second and third row space as you see fit.

  • Carnival: Legroom: 40.5-inches | Headroom: 39.5-inches
  • Sienna: Legroom: 39.9-inches | Headroom: 39.3-inches

The other thing I want to address are the executive style seats that both models can elect to have. The Sienna Platinum usually has a pop out recliners, but when selecting the optional spare tire, you delete them. In a similar fashion, for zero dollars extra you can get VIP Lounge seating package in the Kia. That gives you rear seat ventilation, power adjustment and reclining abilities. For whatever reason, our tester is not equipped with that option, but since only the Kia has available ventilation and power adjustment, we will award it a half point.

Rant over, we still have a wide range of creature comforts for both models. They have rear climate controls, vents, USB ports, household power outlets, sunshades, and heated seats. Rear seat entertainment is available on both models, but only the Sienna has it in today’s comparison.

Let’s head to the next row of seats. Access to the third rows is very easy, thanks to folding and sliding mechanisms, and once back there we have tons of space. The Sienna goes to the next level with as much third row space as many vehicles second rows. It’s 8.4% larger than the Carnival.

The level of space and comfort are pretty much unrivalled, and as far as other features, both include are rear vents, reclining seats and third row sunshades.

  • Carnival: Legroom: 35.6-in | Headroom: 38.6-in
  • Sienna: Legroom: 38.7-in | Headroom: 37.4-in

Moving out back, both have hands-free power tailgates, and once they open up, you will find the same scenario play out here as the third rows. They have copious amounts of space, but the Kia pulls ahead significantly here. It has over 10% more space in each seating configuration, so keep in mind that the Sienna does have one of the smallest cargo capacity figures in the minivan segment. Folding the third rows is manual on both but can be done with one hand.

Carnival: Behind 3rd row: 40.2 cu.ft | Behind 2nd row: 86.9 cu.ft | MAX: 145.1 cu.ft

Sienna: Behind 3rd row: 33.5 cu.ft | Behind 2nd row: 75.2 cu.ft | MAX: 101 cu.ft

That’s it for the interiors, so now let’s take this close fight to the streets!

Carnival Front
Sienna Front


These minivans have been fighting it out tit for tat, and when it comes to the powertrain section, they take a very different approach. The Kia goes the tried-and-true way with a 3.5L naturally aspirated V-6 making 290 horsepower. Toyota, on the other hand, has made the Sienna hybrid exclusive meaning it has a 2.5L 4-cylinder with significantly less power at 245hp. That difference can definitely be felt during accelerations.

  • Carnival: 3.5L V-6: 290 hp | 262 lb.ft
  • Sienna: 2.5L I-4 + Electric: 245 hp

The differences continue when it comes to the transmissions. The Sienna has an eCVT to maximize efficiency and the Carnival goes with a traditional 8-speed automatic. Most people prefer this because it helps avoid any drone when accelerating.

One thing I do want to mention here is that the Carnival is FWD exclusive, meanwhile our Sienna is equipped with AWD for additional peace of mind.

Test Drive and Fuel Economy

The Sienna sounds pretty strained at times when accelerating, but once you get up to speed, you probably want to know how quiet they are. Taking a sound level reading at 55 MPH on equivalent roads, both deliver great results in the mid-50’s. The Sienna is 1 dB quieter, and the typical adult can hear a difference that large.

Carnival: 55.6 dB @ 55 MPH

Sienna: 54.4 dB @ 55 MPH

Next up, let’s discuss the ride qualities. They absorb all but the largest road imperfections, and certainly there is enough comfort for the family to catch some sleep on long road trips.

But now it’s time to talk about the big benefit of the Sienna’s hybrid setup. Despite having AWD, it still gets an impressive 13 MPG combined better than the V6 Carnival. That will save you a lot of money at the pump over thousands of miles.

  • Carnival FWD: 19/26/22 MPG
  • Sienna AWD: 35/36/35 MPG

2024 Kia Carnival vs. Toyota Sienna winner!


Finally, there you have it; these two fought it out until the very end!


  • More affordable up front
  • Larger cargo capacity in all metrics
  • Traditional powertrain experience


  • Hybrid powertrain with exceptional fuel economy
  • Toyota reliability and resale value
  • More versatile storage solutions in front

Now we want to know your opinions, so make sure to head to the comment section and let us know which one you would pick!

Anyway, thanks for joining us for another Car Confections Comparison, and be sure to subscribe for more Comparisons, Full Reviews, and coverage of all the latest automotive delicacies.