The latest Kia Carnival range is proof that buyers don’t have to make any sacrifices when it comes to family-friendly vans that can comfortably transport eight people in safety, comfort and style.
While SUVs remain one of the leading options for those looking to move their family, people movers like the Kia Carnival, Hyundai Staria and the Honda Odyssey are hoping to win over buyers with their spacious platforms, added features and competitive pricing over their SUV competitors.
To make things more appealing for buyers, the Carnival has received a major overhaul from the previous generation, bringing a refreshed styling package, clever safety and entertainment features, as well as added practicality from a platform designed specifically with families in mind.
So, just how good is the latest 2022 Kia Carnival, how well does it accommodate a family-load of people and luggage, and is it just as easy to drive as an SUV? Let’s find out.
Starting Price: $46,880
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Kia Carnival (Si) Specifications
|Fuel type||UNLEADED PETROL|
|Transmission||8 SP AUTOMATIC|
|Engine configuration||VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 24 valves|
|Engine RPM||6400 / 5000|
|Fuel tank size||72.0|
|Fuel usage specs||9.6 / 0.0|
|ANCAP security rating||5|
For more details and other variants, check Kia Carnival car page.
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How Much Does It Cost?
The Kia Carnival range kicks off from $46,880 for the entry-level Carnival S, while the Carnival S Diesel is priced at $48,880.
Moving to the Carnival Si brings the price to $52,380, while the Carnival Si Diesel is priced at $54,380. Opting for the Carnival SLi comes at a cost of $56,880, while the Carnival SLi Diesel is priced at $58,880.
Finally, the range-topping Carnival Platinum is priced at $64,680, while the Carnival Platinum DIesel receives a price tag of $66,680.
Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs.
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Using OnlineAuto’s car buying service, you could save by sourcing one of our car specialists to help you find the best value model for you.
What Features Does the Kia Carnival Have?
The entry-level Kia Carnival S comes riding on a set of 17-inch alloy wheels, and receives automatic LED headlights with daytime running lamps, air conditioning, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera with rear parking sensors, seating for eight people, an adjustable steering wheel, 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch infotainment system fitted with wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, paired with a six-speaker sound system.
Opting for the Carnival Si adds features like a set of 18-inch alloys, LED tail lights, front-mounted parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, as well as an upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment system and eight-speaker sound system.
Stepping up to the Carnival SLi adds a set of LED fog lights, surround-view camera system, power sliding doors and powered boot lift, keyless entry & start, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rear privacy glass and a 10-way adjustable driver’s seat.
Finally, Kia’s range-topping Carnival Platinum comes packed to the brim with features, including 19-inch alloy wheels, two panoramic sunroofs, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, wireless smartphone charging, chrome exterior highlights, ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel.
Eight seat platform
17-inch alloy wheels
Automatic LED headlights with daytime running lamps
Adaptive cruise control
Reversing camera with rear-mounted parking sensors
8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
18-inch alloy wheels (Carnival Si)
Front parking sensors (Carnival Si)
12.3-inch infotainment system with satellite navigation (Carnival Si)
Eight-speaker sound system (Carnival Si)
LED tail lights (Carnival Si)
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever (Carnival Si)
Power sliding doors (Carnival SLi)
Powered boot lift (Carnival SLi)
Surround-view camera (Carnival SLi)
Keyless entry & start (Carnival SLi)
19-inch alloy wheels (Carnival Platinum)
Two panoramic sunroofs (Carnival Platinum)
Heated & ventilated front seats (Carnival Platinum)
Heated rear seats (Carnival Platinum)
Heated steering wheel (Carnival Platinum)
Ambient lighting (Carnival Platinum)
Kia Carnival Colours
The Kia Carnival is available in a range of colours, including Astra Blue, Deep Chroma Blue, Aurora Black, Panthera Metal, Ceramic Silver, Silky Silver, Snow White Pearl and Flare Red.
Is it Comfortable to Drive?
While you’d be forgiven for assuming that something as large and heavy as the Kia Carnival might drive like a boat, Kia has actually done a remarkable job at making it comfortable, user-friendly and surprisingly simple to drive around town and on long distance road trips.
Petrol-powered Carnivals receive a 3.5-litre V6 pushing out 216kW/355Nm, while the 2.2-litre diesel unit produces 148kW and 440Nm of torque. Translated to English, these figures mean that even with a family-load of people, the Carnival has enough torque to push you off the line and up to speed in an impressively smooth manner.
Power is put to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission that offers quick and refined gear shits that the driver will barely notice. To match, the Carnival has received a progressive steering system that remains remarkably lightweight at low speeds and while parking, increasing the amount of feedback as you pick up speed.
These factors combined mean that while the Carnival’s size may be imposing, it remains every bit as simple to drive as a large SUV. It feels and drives far more like a passenger car than you’d think, which has been heavily influenced by the Carnival’s suspension system.
Kia is known for testing its road cars specifically for Australian roads, and this has given the Carnival an improved driving dynamic that is perfectly suited to our rough and tumble road surfaces.
The company has fitted the Carnival with an extremely comfortable suspension system that irons out small and medium bumps you’ll find on the city streets, while somehow minimising body roll to an impressive degree. You’ll still notice the roll when pushing too hard, but overall, the Kia is much more refined to drive than you’d expect a people mover to be.
As a result, the latest Carnival is an impressive vehicle to drive, offering a comfortable and confidence-inspiring platform that feels reminiscent of a large SUV, rather than a small bus.
Is it Practical and Spacious?
As you can probably imagine, space and practicality is one of the strongest selling-points of the Kia Carnival, which is more than ready for the task of handling eight bodies and their belongings for a school run, sports carnival or holiday road trip.
Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a heap of space in the cockpit, with more than enough headroom and shoulder space for the tallest of drivers to get comfortable. The seating position is relatively high off the ground, offering the driver a great view out of the front windscreen.
Kia’s recent revisions have given the Carnival a significantly more modern and sleek interior design, headlined by the infotainment system that sits atop a steep dashboard, with a heap of storage options throughout the cabin.
Up front, you’ll find a set of cup holders, storage and charging ports behind the gear lever, a massive folding arm rest with storage inside and a small storage tray that sits in front of the unit, as well as a sunglasses holder and a set of large door bins either side.
In the second row of the cabin, there’s surprisingly even more space than the front, with a huge amount of leg and headroom that can comfortably accommodate even the tallest of adults without a problem.
Better still, the second row can recline and slide back and forth, with the added bonus of an individual arm rest. Each seat in the second row can be adjusted individually, giving the cabin a huge amount of flexibility that can be tailored to your needs, with the option of removing the middle seat entirely to open up access to the third row.
For the parents out there, the Carnival comes packaged with three ISOFIX anchor points in the second row of the cabin, as well as two in the third row of the cabin, with easily-accessible top tether mounts for child seats.
In terms of that third row, there’s actually enough room to accommodate an adult, which means you’ll hear absolutely no complaints from kids in the rearmost of the cabin, which offers a huge amount of space and headroom for the segment.
Finally, the Carnival has a boot rated at a massive 627L thanks to the clever folding design of the third row seats, which offers a deep storage area for weekends away and holiday road trips. Boot space increases to a massive 2,785 with the third row folded, making the Carnival an absolutely outstanding option when it comes to cabin space and practicality for large families.
Is it Safe?
The Kia Carnival has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five star safety rating, scoring 90% for adult protection, 88% for child protection, 68% for vulnerable road user protection and 82% for safety assist technologies.
As standard, all Carnival variants come packaged with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-keep and departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, safe exit warnings and curtain airbags for all three rows of seating.
Is it Fuel Efficient?
The Kia Carnival, powered by a V6 petrol engine is rated at 9.6L per 100km on a combined cycle, which is unsurprising for a vehicle of this size.
Opting for the Carnival diesel brings this figure down to a much more manageable 6.5L per 100km, which is an extremely competitive fuel economy score for a people mover of its stature.
If fuel economy is a priority for your vehicle, we’d recommend spending the extra money for the Carnival diesel variant, which offers more torque while significantly improving fuel economy.
Our Verdict: Is the Kia Carnival Worth it?
If you have a large or growing family and you don’t feel the urge to go for an SUV body shape, or have no interest in heading off-road, there’s a huge raft of benefits opting for the Carnival’s increasingly refined and class-leading practical package.
The Carnival offers buyers a compelling value for money proposition. With a heap of entertainment and safety features included even on the base model, you don’t have to go too high up the range to find your perfect match.
For the buyers that are willing to make the switch, the Carnival offers near-unparalleled levels of space and comfort inside the cabin for you and your family, completely outclassing what’s on offer in even the biggest SUVs.
For that reason, as well as Kia’s attractive seven-year ownership program, we highly recommend adding the Carnival to your shortlist of family-movers and even consider how it might serve your needs better than an SUV. On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925.
Five Specs You Need to Know
Seven-year, unlimited KM warranty with capped-price servicing available
Five star ANCAP safety rating
Petrol engine rated at 9.5L/100km; diesel 6.5L/100km
627L boot expands to 2,785L with rear seats folded
Power sliding doors and boot fitted to SLi and above
Insane amounts of space, practicality and flexibility for large families
Comprehensive safety equipment fitted to base model
Sleek looks with modern interior design
Outperforms SUVs in almost every family use-case
Pricey top-spec variant compared to base model’s price
Quite a wide vehicle to navigate tight spots and carparks
Solely front-wheel drive platform could benefit from AWD flagship
OnlineAuto Rating: 9.5/10
Kia Carnival Competition