Mercedes-Maybach transformed the latest S-Class into a limousine by adding seven inches to the wheelbase. Kia wanted to make a limousine, too, but it started with a model that doesn’t need additional sheetmetal. One of the most luxurious cars in its 2021 lineup is the Hi Limousine, which is based on the humble Sedona minivan.
If space is the real luxury, few members of the Kia range offer as much of it as the Carnival, which was introduced in 2020 and is widely expected to become the next-generation Sedona. It’s a big, boxy van with a cavernous interior even in its cheapest and most basic configuration. Stylists added more bright trim to the exterior, running boards on both sides, and a luggage box-like extension to the roof, which presumably explains the Hi in its name. It’s 80 inches tall, meaning it’s five inches taller than a 2021 Chevrolet Suburban. It wears Kia’s new logo, too.
Kia explained the interior design was inspired by spaceships, but we don’t think astronauts have ever left the stratosphere in anything this lavish. It added a pair of business class-like seats for the second-row passengers, fabric side curtains, and a television-like 21.5-inch LCD monitor with HDMI and USB ports. Clearly, the middle of the Carnival is the place to be. You can direct passengers you like less to the Hi Limousine’s third-row bench.
Raising the roof allowed the company to install LED cabin lighting, LED reading lights for the second and third rows, plus vents for the climate control system. These additions make the Carnival a bright, airy place to travel in.
Kia made no mechanical modifications to the Hi Limousine. Motorists can choose a gasoline-powered 3.5-liter V6 rated at 294 horsepower and 261 pound-feet of torque, or a 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder tuned to provide 202 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are bolted to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Pricing information hasn’t been published, but it’s reasonable to assume that the Hi Limousine is significantly cheaper than any limousine delivered with a “made in Germany” label. If you want one, there’s a good chance you’re out of luck: nothing suggests the Hi Limousine will be offered in the United States.