Kia has launched the latest generation of the all conquering Carnival which has been the people mover of choice for fleets, car rental companies and novated lease buyers with large families. There is a difference with this model – it’s a GUV.
Grand Utility Vehicle (GUV) is how Kia is marketing the new Carnival. The ads featuring the Carnival are filmed on a race track while it’s spinning around backwards with the Seltos and Sorento like synchronised swimmers.
After driving the new model for several days, FAN can report it doesn’t drive like a novated lease people mover; or a large SUV. It’s a big car and feels more like a large front wheel drive sedan. When you select SPORTS mode it stiffens the steering and changes the feel of the ride. So without an appropriate way to describe it, we’ll go with Kia and call it a GUV.
Since its arrival in 1998 as the affordable choice for those who most needed a purpose-designed people mover in a novated lease, through to the new fourth generation model with style and sophistication to rival even its most aggressive SUV challengers, Carnival remains the most sensible and desirable choice for anyone prioritising space, comfort and safety.
“The Kia Carnival has always provided practicality, comfort, space and power, which has seen it consistently hold an unchallenged segment share of up to 51 per cent.” Kia Motors Australia Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said.
“The all new Carnival still provides these essentials but adds on class leading features, with an outstanding design and driving features similar to a SUV. The appeal has increased; possibly to shoppers looking at the Upper Large SUV <$100,000 segment.”Based on Kia’s new mid-size platform which is shared with the impressive new Sorento, the Carnival offers more value, space, refinement and capability than its predecessors and any current challengers.
“The Carnival has been well-regarded by buyers for a long time and has become Kia’s flagship family-friendly vehicle,” Thomas Schemera, Head of Product Division at Hyundai Motor Group said. “The fourth-generation Carnival is a significant new vehicle for us, as it demonstrates every strength that makes Kia so popular around the world.
“It improves the quality, versatility and usability of its predecessors, while making travel far more relaxing and more enjoyable for families. With a sophisticated design and cutting-edge technologies to provide owners greater value in their daily lives, the new model solidifies Kia’s role in its segment. It sets a new standard for MPVs.”
For Australian novated lease and fleet buyers the fourth-generation Carnival will be available in four specification levels _ S, Si, SLi and Platinum _ in both petrol and diesel engines. Both the Smartstream 3.5-litre GDI V6 petrol (216kW and 355Nm) and Smartstream R2.2-litre CRDI diesel (148kW and 440Nm) drive the front wheels through a Kia-developed 8-speed automatic.
As usual with Kia, the Carnival comes stacked with features right across the range.
The entry-level S specification comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rack, solar glass windshield, 8-inch AV unit with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 4.2-inch TFT LCD cluster, 6-speaker sound system, manual temperature control, drive mode select with normal/eco/sport/smart, keyless entry, cloth seats, rear parking sensors, rear view monitor with dynamic guidelines, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and a full safety suite including class-first technology (see separate safety section).
In addition the Si adds 18-inch alloys, 12.3-inch AVN unit, 8-speaker sound system, dual zone automatic temperature control front and single zone rear, premium steering wheel and shifting knob, and front parking sensors.
Stepping up to the SLi brings privacy rear glass, smart key with push button start, artificial leather seats, surround view monitor, power tailgate with auto close, smart power sliding doors, one-touch power doors and tailgate, eight-way power driver’s seat, auto up/down windows, electrochromic mirror, Safe Exit Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist.
At the top of the range the Platinum leaves little to be desired, adding electronic shift by wire, 19-inch black alloy wheels, 12-speaker Bose sound system, rear occupant alert, heated steering wheel, wireless charger, paddle shifters, dual tilting and sliding sunroof, eight-way integrated memory seats with 4-way lumbar support and rear heated seats, ventilated front seats, LED interior lamps and second and third row sunshade blind.
Pricing (RRP) will start at $46,880 for the S petrol and rise to $64,680 for the Platinum version of the same engine. The diesel starts at $48,880 for the S trim and tops out at $66,680 for the Platinum. Premium paint is a $695 option.
A character evolution
The new Carnival represents a design evolution with a sense of solidity, futuristic details, and SUV-inspired forms and surfaces. It brings a stronger, more stylish presence to the segment as a result.
Compared to the outgoing novated lease car, it features a shorter front overhang, with the base of the A-pillar moved backwards to create a longer hood. Its increased wheelbase contributes to greater space throughout the cabin, and the extended side profile hints at the new Carnival’s more refined dynamics. A single bold character line runs the length of the car, with distinctive wheel arches and sharp lines giving a more modern, sculpted appearance. The character line ties the front and rear lamps into a cohesive design language to capture the eye and the imagination, aided by the striking floating roof rails treatment.
The design journey of the new Carnival has moved closer to a stylish SUV-like profile, reflecting the all-new Sorento, particularly in the side and front profiles from the C-Pillar forward. The distinctive people mover styling becomes more evident from the rear.
A key design highlight is its new “island roof” design with blacked-out A- and B-pillars beneath a body-coloured roof. A new C-pillar signature design also stands out, with a chrome fin bearing a subtle diamond pattern.
The latest iteration of the classic ‘tiger-nose’ design spans the width of the vehicle, integrating LED daytime running lights (DRLs), headlamps and grille to give the new Carnival a confident, futuristic look and a unique light signature.
For the S, Si and SLi models the headlamps are LED for high and low beam with a bulb-type turning signal lamp. The Platinum model adds projection-style LED low and high beam lamps with an LED turn signal.
The sculpted bumpers and lower air intake at the front are matched with metallic trim and a black lower bumper – a treatment drawn from the brand’s SUV range.
At the rear, the Carnival is robust in stature and boasts a wide, distinctive new look accentuated by a full-width light bar.
Another element of its SUV-inspired design is the metallic lower skid plate, further underscoring the overall robust appearance.
For the first time the Carnival’s rear wiper will be integrated into the design to remain hidden until actually in use, giving a cleaner and more distinguished look to the rear glass.
“The design of the new Carnival presents a concept focusing on two essential points. First, as a people mover with a great exterior design that feels like a premium SUV; second, maximised interior space satisfying our customers’ needs, and maybe even surprising them with more intuitive and positive experiences,” said Karim Habib, Senior Vice-President and Head of Kia Global Design.
“The new Carnival’s design has a great sense of solidity with a stable stance and powerful proportions. Detailed and futuristic elements further amplify its confident presence.”
The new Carnival as a novated lease offers customers a choice of seven exterior paint colours; Ceramic Silver, Astra Blue, Silky Silver, Deep Chroma Blue, Panthera Metal, Snow White Pearl and Aurora Black Pearl. All colours are metallic or mica-metallic, with Ceramic Silver designated as the “standard” colour at no additional charge.
Dependant on specification level, there is a range of distinctive aluminium alloy wheel designs, 17- (S), 18- (Si and SLi) or 19-inches (Platinum).
Inside, the cabin of the new Kia Carnival is based on the concept of ‘Spatial Talents’, providing a relaxing, high-tech and stylish environment ideal for relaxed family travel.
This manifests in the Carnival’s roominess, combined with a sense of modernity and style. The interior represents an increase in quality and design over its predecessor, with the high-tech ambiance most obvious in its wide, panoramic-screen dashboard design.
A compact shift-by-wire dial for the transmission is located at the base of the centre console, freeing up space and falling easily to hand.
Platform and packaging
Utility in abundance, with more space and smart interior packaging
Thanks to its new platform and larger body, the fourth-generation Carnival boasts unrivalled space for up to eight passengers. The car is also more versatile and spacious, offering intelligent and flexible interior packaging and an abundance of cabin storage areas.
The Carnival benefits from a 30 mm longer wheelbase (up to 3090 mm) and 10 mm wider body (up to 1995 mm), enhancing utility for families. The overall length of the new Carnival grows by 40 mm to 5155 mm, with a 30 mm longer rear overhang (up to 1130 mm), creating more space for third-row passengers and best-in-class luggage space with it.
With only the first row of seats in use, the Carnival offers best-in-class boot space of up to 2785 litres (VDA, third row folded down), with 627 litres available to use behind the third-row seats (to the upper edge of the seat backs).
Furthermore, the lift-over height for the boot is 26 mm lower than its predecessor at 640 mm, making it even easier to load. The power tailgate and smart power-sliding rear passenger doors also facilitate access to the boot and cabin.
Connectivity and technology
New technology features connect, protect and entertain occupants
The user experience of the Carnival is defined by the role of technology and connectivity, with a range of high-tech features designed to make life as easy and convenient as possible. These new technologies assist drivers, while connecting, protecting and entertaining occupants.
The hub of the car’s connectivity features is the high-tech digital display. In Si, SLi and Platinum trims this links Kia’s latest 4.2-inch digital driver instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system under a single seamless piece of glass. The S level trim has an 8-inch Audio Visual Unit and a 4.2-inch TFT information cluster for the driver.
This screen display creates a panoramic, widescreen user experience, with many infotainment functions controlled via touch-sensitive buttons below the screen. There is a control panel further down the centre console for climate control.
The system offers a crystal-clear display, as well as seamlessly integrated wireless Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay™ (Only S variants with the 8-inch Audio Visual unit will be available with wireless connection) and voice recognition. The Carnival retains the built-in SatNav with 10 years Mapcare and SUNA live traffic updates.
The infotainment system also enables users to connect two smartphones via Bluetooth at the same time, enabling separate phones to be used for phone calls or media. It will also allow for personalised profiles for various drivers to download individual preferences for AVN and cluster settings.
The ambience in the cabin can also be enhanced by a selection of soothing “Sounds Of Nature” settings playing in the background.
Other technologies are designed to make the Carnival even more practical – an essential element of any good people mover. These include one-button smart open-and-close for the rear power-sliding doors and tailgate. The smart power-sliding rear doors and tailgate (SLi and Platinum) can also be opened and closed automatically when the key fob is held nearby for three seconds – the perfect measure for parents loading younger passengers into the car.
The Carnival provides Platinum models with puddle lighting which lights up automatically whenever the power sliding door is operated in low light environments, making it safer and easier to get in and out.
New ‘Smartstream’ powertrain technologies enhance efficiency and performance
The new Carnival adopts Kia’s latest ‘Smartstream’ powertrain technologies to enhance efficiency and performance. The new Carnival is available with the choice of petrol or diesel engine.
The most powerful engine in the line-up is a 3.5-litre GDi (gasoline direct injection) V6 producing 216kW and 355Nm torque. This engine features an advanced GDi and multi-point injection (MPI) system, which optimises the combustion cycle depending on conditions to maximise power and efficiency.
A new cooled exhaust gas recirculation system delivers efficiency benefits, helping lower the engine’s combustion temperature for greater fuel economy. A new integrated thermal management and cross-flow system further helps manage the engine’s operating temperature to maximise efficiency at all times, producing a combined cycle consumption of 9.6 l/100km, an improvement of more than 10 per cent on the previous engine.
A new 2.2-litre ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine, one of the cleanest diesel units that Kia has ever made, produces 148kW and 440Nm of useable torque over a broad range of engine speeds, the new engine replaces its predecessor’s cast iron block with a lighter aluminium block.
Furthermore, it features a range of measures that reduce friction, aid cooling, enhance efficiency and reduce emissions. These include new high-pressure injectors, new balancer shafts, a thermal management system and selective catalytic reduction to regulate emissions. The end result is a combined cycle fuel consumption reading of 6.5 l/100km, down from 7.6 l/100km in the old engine.
Both engines also produce significantly less CO2 emissions, with the diesel claiming a class leading 170 g/km.
All engines are paired as standard with eight-speed automatic transmissions, offering smooth and swift progress to match the car’s unruffled dynamic character.
Ride and handling
An easy-going, comfortable and assured ride
The new Carnival builds on the driving character of its predecessors, prioritising comfort and surefootedness above all. The development of the new model has focused on delivering an easy-going, comfortable and assured ride, with stable handling in all conditions.
The new fully independent suspension system and a range of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measures are engineered to deliver reassuring and relaxing on-road behaviour, maximising stability and occupant comfort.
The suspension system has been dramatically altered compared to the outgoing third-generation Carnival. At the front, Kia’s engineers have applied a new multi-skeletal cross-member and new geometry, better distributing lateral loads on the front suspension from cornering to stabilise handling. The body is also mounted to the rear section of the cross member with new hydro bushes, with liquid inside the rubber bushes reducing the level of suspension and engine vibrations transmitted to the body. This also mitigates the effect of sharp impacts on the front suspension, subtly enhancing ride comfort even over broken surfaces.
The rear suspension has also been revised, with longer lower suspension arms and revised spring layout working to better manage changes in the road surface. Meanwhile the angle of the rear shock absorbers has been adjusted to better absorb shocks from the road.
A new column-mounted motor-driven power steering set-up replaces the outgoing model’s hydraulic power steering system, resulting in a slightly more direct response to steering inputs, with a 5.6 per cent quicker steering ratio. The new system also enables many of the Carnival’s new driver-assist technologies, which rely on an electric power steering motor.
Kia Motors Australia’s local tuning team have embraced the newly engineered platform and finessed the ride and handling characteristics to be in harmony with Australia’s unique road conditions and driver preferences.
The extensive work has produced a large, eight-seat MPV that drives like a much smaller and nimble model making it safer and less taxing on the driver.
Rolling refinement is something that no MPV driver wants to sacrifice, and the Carnival excels in this area too thanks to a range of new NVH features that go beyond what many of its key rivals offer.
A comprehensive array of sound-deadening and insulating measures ensure the new model is one of the quietest and most refined on the road. These include new insulation materials around all four wheel-arches, a full underbody cover to reduce wind and road noise, and dense insulation between the engine bay and passenger compartment.
The air intake has also been reshaped to reduce engine noise at high speeds, while new crossmembers in the floor of the cabin reduce vibration noise through the body.
Safety and Convenience
Active safety and ADAS technologies to protect families on every journey
The new Carnival boasts an extensive range of both passive and active safety and driver assistance systems, protecting the driver and their passengers on every journey.
Kia’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) help to reduce many of the inherent hazards and stresses of driving, making the Carnival relaxing, safe and confidence-inspiring to drive.
For Australian drivers, Kia has prioritised safety across the range with a range of segment first and class leading technologies lifting the safety bar from the entry-level S grade right through to Platinum models.
Topping the new technology is the Speed Limit Information Function which reads and displays road-side speed signs and displays that speed on the information cluster. It is supplemented by Intelligent Speed Assist which will use the speed information to alert the driver to a change in speed limit and then alerts the driver to adjust the speed limiter and smart cruise control accordingly.
Additional first in class technology includes Multi Collision Braking, AEB Junction Assist for warnings and automatic braking when turning across traffic if a collision is detected, Driver Attention Warning, Safe Exit Alert (SLi and Platinum) and Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (SLi and Platinum).
The full ADAS range in the new Carnival is one of the most comprehensive found on any new car today. Available technologies include full-function AEB with car, pedestrian and cyclist detection; Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA); Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA); Driver Attention Warning+ (DAW+ with Leading Vehicle Departure Alert); High Beam Assist (HBA); Smart Cruise Control (SCC); Lane Following Assist (LFA); and Surround View Monitor (SVM on SLi and Platinum) .
Safe Exit Assist (SEA) is an important new addition to the suite of safety technologies. SEA, available on SLi and Platinum, prevents the power-sliding rear doors from opening – and young passengers exiting the vehicle – if the system detects a car approaching from behind on either side.
Kia’s “Level 2” autonomous driving technology, Smart Cruise Control, controls acceleration and braking depending on the vehicles in front. Using front view camera and front radar, it helps maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead while Lane Follow Assist helps centre the vehicle in its lane while driving. In addition, it features a Rear View Monitor (RVM) and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).
The RCCA system helps to avoid collisions with vehicles crossing behind from the left and right sides of the Carnival while reversing. This assists the driver by braking the car automatically if it detects an obstacle crossing behind it.
The new Carnival is also offered with Kia’s innovative Multi-Collision Brake system, which enables the car to mitigate the severity of secondary collisions. It automatically applies the vehicle’s brakes when the airbags have been deployed after an initial collision, further protecting occupants from secondary frontal or side impacts.
The Carnival is fitted with seven airbags, as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems. All models are equipped as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control, helping drivers maintain control under braking and cornering.
The bodyshell is comprised of different grades of high-strength steel, maximizing torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low. The shell of the new model features newly reinforced pillars, and features a higher proportion of Advanced High-Strength Steel and hot-stamped steel than its predecessor, increasing torsional rigidity and adding strength. The more rigid bodyshell reduces road vibrations and enhances occupant safety in the event of a collision.
Premium Paint $695
|S Petrol Auto||$46,880||$50,390|
|Si Petrol Auto||$52,380||$55,790|
|SLi Petrol Auto||$56,880||$60,290|
|Platinum Petrol Auto||$64,680||$67,990|
|S Diesel Auto||$48,880||$52,390|
|Si Diesel Auto||$54,380||$57,790|
|SLi Diesel Auto||$58,880||$62,290|
|Platinum Diesel Auto||$66,680||$69,990|