FOR more than two decades and three generations, Kia’s eight-seat Carnival has been the go-to vehicle for anyone needing to move a tribe, in both the private and commercial world. It’s been an affordable choice when it comes to people movers.
The new fourth generation model, based on Kia’s new mid-size platform which is shared with the 2021 Sorento, adds style and sophistication to rival even its most aggressive SUV challengers.
For 2021, the Carnival offers more value, space, refinement and capability than its predecessors, and 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, with its design moving closer to a stylish SUV-like profile, particularly in the side and front profiles from the C-Pillar forward.
A key design highlight is its new ‘island roof’, 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.
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.
The new Carnival 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.
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 its roominess, combined with a sense of modernity and style.
The interior represents an increase in quality 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.
For Australian buyers, the fourth-generation Carnival will be available in four specification levels; the S, Si, SLi and Platinum, in petrol and diesel engines.
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.
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.
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 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, and manual temperature control.
It also sports drive mode select with Normal/Eco/Sport/Smart and 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.
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 and a one-touch power doors and tailgate.
But it doesn’t stop there, an eight-way power driver’s seat is also fitted, along with auto up/down windows, electrochromic mirror, safe exit alert and rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist.
At the top of the range, the Platinum adds electronic shift-by-wire, 19-inch black alloy wheels, 12-speaker Bose sound system, rear occupant alert, heated steering wheel, wireless charger, paddle shifters, and a dual tilting and sliding sunroof.
You also gain eight-way integrated memory front seats with heating and ventilation, and 4-way lumbar support, heated rear seats, LED interior lamps and second and third row sunshade blinds.
In terms of safety, Kia has you covered. 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 and lane keep assist.
There’s also blind-spot collision-avoidance assist and intelligent speed limit assist, driver attention warning (with leading vehicle departure alert), high beam assist, smart cruise control, lane following assist and a surround view monitor on the SLi and Platinum.
Safe exit assist is an important new addition to the suite of safety technologies (again, on the SLi and Platinum), and prevents the power-sliding rear doors from opening and young passengers exiting, if the system detects a car approaching from behind on either side.
Pricing will start at $46,880 (plus on roads) for the S petrol and rise to $64,680 (plus on roads) for the Platinum version of the same engine. The diesel starts at $48,880 (plus on roads) for the S trim and tops out at $66,680 (plus on roads) for the Platinum.
Further information and availability will be announced closer to launch.
2021 Kia Carnival Platinum