The minivan still lives with Kia in the Carnival, but a potential problem with its power sliding doors (PSD) could have owners wishing for standard swing-out doors instead. The South Korean automaker is recalling 51,568 models from 2022 and 2023 because the auto-reversing function of the doors may not work as expected.
What does as expected mean exactly? According to recall number 23V-236 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), "Kia believes the cause of injuries may be associated with customers' unawareness that the PSD is closing." Documentation included with the recall mentions several injuries allegedly occurring because the door didn't detect an obstruction while closing and latched. Kia conducted an investigation into these reports, with the first dating back to the summer of 2021.
Gallery: 2022 Kia Carnival: First Drive
Third-party engineering firms were hired to perform tests. No problems relating to the design of the doors or the auto-reverse operation were found. However, numerous injuries involving the power doors have been reported. While Kia simply identifies a "small number of injuries" in the defect description of the recall notice, related documents list nine confirmed injuries to adults and children. Among the injuries are seven bruises/cuts/scrapes, one fractured thumb, and one broken arm.
Since Kia hasn't identified any problem, the automaker's conclusion right now is that people simply aren't aware the powered doors are closing. As such, the recall will include an update to software for the doors, adding two warning chimes that the doors are closing. The closing speed will also go slower as the doors near the latching point, presumably giving more time for adults and kids to get hands and arms out of the way.
The recall covers all 2022 model-year Carnivals, the first year for the current generation. It also applies to 2023 Carnivals manufactured through February 22, 2023. Vehicles built after that already have the update in place. The process will of course be free of charge; official owner notification will begin on April 28 and Kia advises any concerned Carnival owners to contact their local dealership.