Review - Kia Carnival
April 07, 2021
Some families are bigger than others, and keeping kids comfortable, happy and entertained during trips gives every family member peace of mind, no matter the journey. With the latest Carnival, Kia has proven that just because you have a big family to carry, doesn't mean you can't have a cool car as well.
With features normally in premium luxury sedans and a sporty V6 engine option, the Carnival might just be the best van on offer in today's market.
Vantastic family fun
Stylistically, the German design is taut and clean, making it potentially the nicest-looking MPV currently on sale in Australia. Chrome 19-inch alloys set off the Carnival Platinum's bold styling, giving it an unexpected presence.
You sit nice and high, overlooking a broad switchboard of neat controls that have a nicely damped press to them. Some things seem more attuned to left-hand drive, like the volume and tuning knobs being on the wrong side, but overall the main audio and stereo controls can be adjusted without looking down. In the instrument cluster there’s an array of trip computer functions including a handy digital speedometer.
The second and third row are treated to their own overhead vents with adjustable temperature in the second row. Access is via large power-operated sliding doors on both sides that can be controlled via the key fob or inside the car, giving the Carnival wide open entry for all.
The third row stows flush into the floor thanks to a clever hand fold mechanism, while the second row of seats slides against the front row with the pull of a lever. It’s all highly configurable with a sliding second row and reclining seats for every position. Cargo volume can open up from spacious to colossal.
The customer is king
As with all new Kias, the Carnival comes with capped-price servicing, free roadside assistance and a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty that makes every other carmaker super jealous. This is an ownership experience that focuses on keeping you happy.
Whether you go for the S, Si, SLi or Platinum, every Carnival is loaded to the rafters with standard equipment. It's the Platinum's electric sliding doors and tailgate, heated and cooled seats, heated steering wheel and delicious, high quality leather that really gives it the aroma of a VIP express on wheels.
All said, the Carnival is a dependable and highly versatile family cruiser that doesn’t feel cumbersome to drive. Add in the knock-out punch of a seven-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with roadside assist and you can see why so many have been snapped up by Aussies to make it the dominant player in its sector. There is no other MPV with this combination of attributes for this price at this size.
5 specs you need to know
- Engine: 3.3-litre V6
- Transmission and drive: Six-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
- ANCAP safety rating: Five stars
- Official fuel economy: 11L/100km (11.6L/100km tested)
- Tested time from 0-100km/h: 8.59 seconds
- High quality, well presented, spacious interior
- Easy to familiarise with buttons
- 5-star ANCAP safety
- 7-year unlimited km warranty
- Cheap servicing
- $2500 premium for diesel
- Long nose design isn’t the best packaging
- V6 lacks torque at low revs