KIA’S CARNIVAL IS NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL IDEA OF A PEOPLE-MOVER
The poor ol’ people-mover often cops flak for being a bit dull. The kids in the playground are impressed when told a mate’s mum or dad just bought a new sports car or convertible, but they’re a critical pack of so-and-sos if someone says their parents have bought a people-mover. It’s probably something they’d prefer to keep quiet about.
And to be fair, most people-movers are a bit ho-hum. But they perform a valuable duty, carting the kids to school and half the footy team to the game at the weekend. So their owners quite justifiably play the practicality card.
Kia’s new Carnival has the goods to change all that. Sure, it has practicality in spades, with seating for eight and 960 litres of luggage space with all the seats in use, 2220 litres with the third row folded down and a whopping 4022 litres with just the front seats in play. There’s 2000kg towing capacity too. So, no argument about practicality, but it has comfort, refinement and style in its armoury too.
Plenty of space inside the Kia Carnival. Picture/Supplied.
Another Kia to rise from ex-Audi man Peter Schreyer’s drawing board, the new third-generation Carnival is 15mm shorter than the model it replaces, but at 5.115mm in overall length, it’s no shrinking violet. A 40mm increase in wheelbase to 3060mm allows more passenger leg room and usable interior space.
The interior is genuinely classy and has been voted one of the world’s 10 best by US-based Ward’s Automotive magazine.
One of the most striking improvements is the vastly reduced noise level. With increased use of sound-deadening materials, high-tensile steels and less wind noise due to a drag coefficient of just 0.33Cd, major gains in torsional rigidity, noise vibration and hardness levels have been achieved, with noise down by 2.5dB.
For those who are content with seven seats, the centre second-row seat, which is only a littley, can be removed to give the remaining two occupants more elbow room. Both outer second-row seats and one in the third row have Isofix child seat anchor points.
The interior of the Kia Carnival Premium has been voted one of the world’s 10 best by a major US-based magazine.Picture:Supplied.
New Zealand buyers are offered the choice of a 147kW/440Nm 2.2 litre R Series diesel or a 206kw/336Nm 3.3 litre V6 GDI petrol engine, both driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission.
There are three grades of specification, starting with the EX diesel, priced at $49,990. Next step up is a V6 Limited which retails for $56,990 with the all-singing, dancing Premium V6 at $63,990. Add another $2,000 for the diesel engine on Limited and Premium models.
The EX and Limited come with 18-inch alloy wheels; silver on the EX and machine finish on the Limited, with the Premium model having chrome-finish 19s. Limited and Premium models have leather trim throughout, while the EX is trimmed in stain-resistant cloth.
Kia Carnival EX. Picture/Supplied.
All models have twin electric sliding rear doors, front and rear parking sensors, eight three-point seatbelts, six airbags and a reversing camera. Given that connectivity is a must these days, there are three USB ports and three 12V power sockets throughout the cabin to keep those phones, tablets and gaming consoles charged. And there are the all-important 14 cupholders. That’s a lot for eight people!
Tri-zone air-conditioning is standard throughout the range, as is a cooled lower glovebox to keep the drinks cool and the chocolate bars from melting. The Limited has an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, two-way lumbar support and heated front seats, while Premium buyers get electrically operated, heated and ventilated seats for both driver and front seat passenger.
Looks alone will ensure kids want to travel in the Kia Carnival. Picture/ Supplied.
EX and Limited models have a 4.3-inch display screen and the Premium model has an 8-inch touch screen with satellite navigation, which comes with SUNA real-time traffic alerts and free MapCare updates for three years.
There are active safety features aplenty, the Premium model in particular being loaded with electronic safety aids. However, the elephant in the room is the fact that the right-hand drive Carnival achieved only a 4-star ANCAP crash test score, despite left-hand drive models tested in the US scoring 5 stars.
Kia Carnival could alter people's perceptions of People-Movers. Picture/ Supplied.
Kia NZ boss Todd McDonald explained this was due to a steering rack brace on right-hand drive models impinging on the driver’s footwell.
A redesigned brace is being worked on but in the meantime, the Carnival goes to market with only 4 stars. It’s a shame, as it scores well in all other areas and the smart looks alone will have all the other kids in the playground keen for a ride in the Carnival.