Kia is back to reclaim its place as the best-selling brand in big people-movers, launching the new eight-seat Carnival in Australia this week.
Honda’s new Odyssey has enjoyed a comfortable run at the top of the charts over the past year, leading the segment at the end of 2014 with 2552 sales against 2137 for the Hyundai iMax and 1592 for Kia’s now retired Grand Carnival range.
Now there’s an all-new Carnival in town, and Kia is aiming to retake the top spot.
But, with prices starting from $41,490 - $3880 more than the cost of entry into a new Honda Odyssey - it could be a hard-fought battle.
The level of standard equipment in the new four-model Carnival range has jumped significantly however, and both of the Carnival’s powertrains are more powerful than the Odyssey’s single petrol option.
All four models in the new Carnival range can be had with either a 206kW/336Nm 3.3 litre petrol engine or a torquey 147kW/440Nm 2.2 litre diesel.
Both are matched to a front-wheel-drive configuration and a six-speed automatic transmission exclusively.
Fuel consumption with the 3.3 litre engine is listed at 11.6 l/100km, dropping to 7.7 l/100km with the powerful 2.2 diesel - the latter matching the Odyssey’s four-cylinder petrol unit, but bettering its 135kW/240Nm outputs.
The new Carnival also gets hydraulic steering for Australia, compared to an electric setup in left-hand-drive markets.
Suspension is by MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. This is a carryover setup from the previous model, however there's a hydraulic rebound spring at the front axle, along with stiffer suspension bars and cross-member bush mountings at the rear.
Kia Australia has also put the new Carnival through its local tuning program, optimising ride and handling for our roads.
Some three quarters of Carnival sales are expected to go to the petrol model, with the S and Si model grades accounting for about 65 percent of all sales.
FEATURES & DIMENSIONS
- Active Eco
- 17-inch steel wheels w/ temporary spare tyre
- Poly-urethane steering wheel and shift knob
- Tilt & telescopic steering wheel
- six airbags (front dual, front side and curtain)
- ESC with TCS, ABS, EBD, BAS, CBC, ROM, HAC
- Speed Sensing door locks
- Impact Sensing Door Unlocks
- Rear-view camera with in-audio display
- Rear parking sensors
- MFR type headlamps with LED light guide position lamps (4 LEDs)
- Electric adjustable and heated outside mirrors
- Roof Rails
- Rear spoiler w/ high mount stop light
- Front and rear mudguards
- Tinted glass
- Power windows (front & rear)
- Driver’s window auto up-down w/ safety
- Cloth seats (Yes Essential)
- 2nd row 40:20:40 split sliding seats (outer: stand-up, centre: removable)
- 2nd row 60:40 split fold-flat sinking seats
- Driver’s height adjuster (pump device)
- Child anchor points (4 x top tether, 3 x ISO Fix)
- Keyless entry with folding keys
- Cruise control
- Rheostat (cluster dimmer)
- Sunvisor with vanity mirror and extension
- Steering wheel mounted audio, Bluetooth and cruise controls
- Auto light control
- 3 x 12V power outlets (Fr + Rr + Luggage Area)
- Internal grip handles and entry/exit handle
- Front floor console with armrest and cup holders
- Sunglass holder and conversation mirror
- Front seat back pockets
- 10 cup holders + 4 bottle holders
- Illuminated glove box
- Luggage net hooks
- Cargo lamp
- CD player with MP3/USB/AUX
- 6 speaker stereo
- AUX input and USB charging
- Shark fin type antenna
- Manual air conditioning (front and rear)
Carnival Si (in addition to S features)
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel & shift knob
- Front fog lamps
- Solar glass (windshield, front windows)
- Privacy glass (2nd/3rd windows, tailgate)
- Front passenger & 2nd row windows auto up-down w/ safety
- LED rear combination lamps
- LED positioning lamps (20 LEDs)
- OLED type instrument cluster
- Chrome interior door handles
- Hydro-graphics door inserts
- Electric folding outside mirror
- Vanity mirror illumination
- Ignition illumination
- Satellite navigation with 8-inch colour LCD touch screen
- DVD player (playable while stationary)
- Tri-zone climate control air conditioning with auto defog & Clean Air module
Carnival SLi (in addition to Si features)
- 18-inch alloy wheels (machine finish)
- Front parking sensors
- Chrome window surround
- Black high-gloss + white chrome bar type grille
- Cooling glove box
- Driver’s power lumbar support (2-way)
- Leather trim seats
- Power sliding doors
- Hands-free smart power tailgate
- Power driver’s seat (8-way)
- Smart key with button start
- Electrochromic rear view mirror
- Aeroblade type front wipers
Carnival Platinum (in addition to SLi features)
- 19-inch alloy wheels (chrome finish)
- Front cup holder cover
- Black high-gloss + mesh type grille
- Sunshade blinds (manual pull-type, 2nd/3rd rows)
- HID headlamps with washer & auto leveling
- High Beam Assist (HBA)
- Driver’s memory seat (2 positions)
- Driver’s power lumbar support (4-way)
- Front passenger power seat (8-way)
- Wood+leather type steering wheel with heating
- LED portable lamp (luggage area)
- Front ventilated/heated + 2nd row heated seats
- 7-inch colour TFT Supervision cluster
- Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
- Smart Cruise Control (SCC)
- Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
- Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS)
- Projection type front fog lamps
- Alloy door scuff panels and luggage area transverse trim
The new Carnival rides on a 3060mm wheelbase - 40mm longer than its predecessor and 160mm longer than the Honda Odyssey’s - yet sits 55mm lower and 15mm shorter overall than the outgoing model.
Rear storage capacity (SAE figures) has grown 77 litres to 960 litres with the third row of seating up, growing to 2220 litres when folded flat. Dropping the third and second rows together sees storage expand to a huge 4022 litres.
Kia adds that, despite the lower roofline, the shape of the new Carnival’s tailgate allows for a taller cargo opening height than with the previous model.
The new Carnival carries a 4-Star ANCAP safety rating, a disappointing result that revolves around the absence of a crucial seatbelt reminder in the second row.
"We were disappointed with what occurred. If we had have brought the car in on December 31, 2014, it would be a five-star car," Kia Motors Australia communications chief Kevin Hepworth told media this week.
"The goals changed and we’ve just got to live with that. We’re making production changes now, and hopefully by the third quarter we’ll have the car right." Get the full story here.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
Carnival - 3.3 V6 petrol
- S - $41,490
- Si - $45,490
- SLi - $49,990
- Platinum - $57,490
Carnival - 2.2 4cyl diesel
- S - $43,990
- Si - $47,990
- SLi - $52,490
- Platinum - $59,990