Review - 2024 Kia Carnival

By Alexi Falson on 20 May 2024
image for Review - 2024 Kia Carnival
OnlineAuto Rating
out of 10
  • Smooth, user-friendly nature on the road
  • Outstanding practicality with huge boot & flexible seating
  • Healthy safety equipment list for base model
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto in base form
  • Thirsty V6 petrol engine
  • Some safety tech reserved for higher-ranking variants
  • Underwhelming infotainment display in base spec
  • Front-wheel drive variants can feel overwhelmed by power
Kia Carnival S Specs
    • 72L
    • 170
    • 3800 / 1750
    • 5 star
    • Automatic
The Kia Carnival has been the king of the family people-mover segment for some time now, asserting itself as one of the leading options for large families.

The Carnival gives buyers acres of interior space, seats for up to eight people - including five ISOFIX anchors for child seats - and a super attractive value proposition for family buyers.

With an updated Carnival on the horizon for the middle of the year, headlined by the addition of a hybrid engine option for the first time, the question remains if you’re better off waiting for the update.

Let’s take a closer look at the pre-update 2024 Carnival lineup to see what’s your best plan of attack.

    Kia Carnival Competition

    Kia Carnival

    Hyundai Staria
    LDV Mifa
    Toyota Granvia
    Volkswagen Multivan
    Mercedes-Benz V-Class
    LDV Mifa 9

    How Much Does It Cost?

    Prices for the Kia Carnival range kick off from $50,150 for the entry-level Carnival S Petrol, with the Carnival S Diesel priced at $52,380.

    Stepping up to the Carnival Sport Petrol brings the price to $56,050 while the Carnival Sport Diesel is priced at $58,280.

    Opting for the Carnival Sport+ Petrol brings the price to $62,380 while the Sport+ Diesel is priced at $64,610.

    The more premium Carnival GT-Line Lite Petrol is priced at $66,350 while the Carnival GT-Line Lite Diesel receives a $68,580 price tag.

    Finally, the Carnival GT-Line Petrol is priced at $70,680 while the flagship Carnival GT-Line Diesel is priced at $71,890.

    How Much Can OnlineAuto Save You?

    You could save money by getting one of OnlineAuto’s car buying agents to assist you in finding the greatest value model for you.

    Kia Carnival (S) Specifications

    Model Date 2024
    Make KIA
    Model CARNIVAL
    Series KA4 MY23
    Variant S
    Body 4D WAGON
    Fuel type DIESEL
    Transmission 8 SP AUTOMATIC
    Drive FWD
    Engine TCDI
    Engine capacity 2151
    Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
    Engine RPM 3800 / 1750
    Cylinders DT4
    Torque 440
    KW 148
    Fuel tank size 72.0
    Fuel usage specs 6.5 / 0
    CO2 170
    ANCAP security rating 5

    What Features & Specs Does the Kia Carnival Have?

    Kia is yet to confirm the full rundown of specs for the updated 2024 Carnival range, so we’ll be using the existing specifications to give you an idea of features.

    The entry-level Kia Carnival S comes riding on a set of 17-inch alloys and receives LED headlights & daytime running lamps, adaptive cruise control, a rear-view camera with parking sensors, an eight-seat layout, Kia’s safety equipment suite, and a 4.2-inch driver’s display.

    Stepping up to the Carnival Si adds a set of 18-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, LED tail lights, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, front parking sensors and an eight-speaker sound system.

    The Carnival SLi gains a set of powered sliding side doors and a powered boot lift, LED fog lights, leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats, a surround-view camera, a smart key with push-button start, and a few added safety features that we’ll cover later in this review.

    Finally, the range-topping Carnival Platinum picks up 19-inch alloys, upgraded LED headlights, dual sunroofs, heated and ventilated front seats with heated second-row seats, wireless smartphone charging, and a set of puddle lamps.

    We’ll be sure to provide updated features lists we’ve had confirmation of the updated Carnival’s features lists.

    Kia Carnival Connectivity & Infotainment Features

    For the moment, Kia’s entry-level Carnival S range picks up an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is paired with a six-speaker sound system.

    While it’s not the biggest display on the market, the base 8.0-inch infotainment system is remarkably easy to use and is bright enough to be visible in the middle of the day.

    Upgrading to the Carnival Si or above means you’ll receive an upgraded 12.3-inch infotainment system atop the dashboard, as well as the addition of satellite navigation, while the range-topping Platinum receives a 12-speaker sound system courtesy of Bose.

    The upgraded display is much more fitting of a vehicle of this size and helps to make the Carnival’s interior look like a more modern affair while adding DAB+ digital radio and satellite navigation.

    Does the Kia Carnival Have Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto?

    Interestingly, the entry-level Kia Carnival S, with its 8.0-inch infotainment system, is the only member of the range to offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

    Stepping up higher into the range with the 12.3-inch infotainment system means you’ll need to connect your phone via a USB cable to access Apple CarPlay & Android Auto on the move, though it’s a worthwhile tradeoff considering the added screen real estate.

    Kia will more than likely address this in its mid-cycle update for the Carnival range later in the year.

    Is the Kia Carnival Comfortable to Drive?

    More size means more interior space, though a larger platform often means a more difficult package to drive, especially in tight quarters around town.

    With the Carnival, though, Kia has done an outstanding job a making its family space shuttle smooth on the road and remarkably easy to drive.

    Kia offers the Carnival with two engines, the base being a 3.5-litre V6 petrol with a FWD layout, while a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with its all-wheel drive system comes at a slight price premium.

    The petrol engine has a healthy amount of power to get you off the line with the family loaded, while the diesel’s added torque and AWD stability prove itself as the engine pick of the pair.

    Around town, the Carnival isn’t what you’d call light on its feet, but it does offer some decent agility when needed and remains easy to park thanks to its lightweight steering rack that is easy to throw around.

    On the road, the Carnival feels more like a large member of the company’s SUV range rather than a van, which is one of the biggest compliments you can give a family van.

    The suspension package keeps things nice and comfortable when hitting bumps and potholes around town while helping to keep the body stable in the corners.

    Pick up the pace and the Carnival feels very much at home at highway speeds and even country roads, asserting itself as one of the most versatile family-friendly packages currently on the market.

    Is it Fuel Efficient?

    If you’re a fuel-conscious buyer, you may want to steer clear of the base 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine due to its thirst, with official combined cycle figures of 9.6L/100km.

    In this respect, the Carnival Diesel proves its worth thanks to much more economical fuel consumption figures of 6.5L/100km on a combined cycle.

    Keep in mind that one of the major upgrades coming for the Carnival later in 2024 is the addition of a hybrid engine which will offer significant fuel savings over the standard petrol unit.

    How Much Fuel does the Kia Carnival use Around Town?

    • Carnival Petrol City Fuel Consumption: 13.2L/100km

    • Carnival Diesel City Fuel Consumption: 7.8L/100km

    How Much Fuel Does the Kia Carnival Use on the Highway?

    • Carnival Petrol Highway Fuel Consumption: 7.6L/100km

    • Carnival Diesel Highway Fuel Consumption: 5.7L/100km

    Is it Practical and Spacious?

    While it might not be the most modern interior on the market, the Kia Carnival is without a doubt the segment benchmark when it comes to space, practicality and family-friendly touches.

    Aside from the sheer volume of the cabin, Kia’s attention to detail and installing as many as five ISOFIX anchors make the Carnival a bit of a no-brainer for extremely large families looking for an all-in-one solution.

    In the front of the cabin, you’ll find a great amount of headroom, even for taller drivers, with excellent forward and side visibility that makes squeezing into a tight car space a more user-friendly experience.

    For loose items, there are storage options aplenty in the front of the Carnival, which features a large centre console with a healthy amount of accommodation inside, cup holders, a small tray at the base of the dash and door bins on either side.

    Move to the second row of the cabin and things are mighty impressive, with the Carnival offering more than enough space for adults in the second row, with amenities like air vents and USB ports on offer.

    The second row is designed with flexibility in mind and is able to slide back and forth to give those in the third row more space, with easy access provided by the 60:40 split seats on rails.

    The Carnival’s third row is one of the few on the market able to comfortably accommodate an adult, meaning you won’t hear any complaints from young ones back here.

    If you’re looking at the Carnival, you’ve more than likely got kids to lug around, which means the Carnival’s five ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts will come as welcome news.

    All up, the Carnival is nothing short of a beast when it comes to the family test and remains the segment benchmark for space and practicality.

    How Big is the Kia Carnival’s Boot?

    With all three rows of seats standing in eight-seat mode, the Kia Carnival has a boot measuring at an immense 627L, meaning it can outpace even large SUVs on boot capacity while transporting eight people.

    Fold down both the second and third rows of seats and you’ll unlock a total 2,785L of boot space, which means the Carnival is happy to double as a fully-fledged cargo van if needed.

    Is it Safe?

    The Kia Carnival in base form comes packaged with a healthy range of active safety gear, though some features are reserved for higher-ranking members of the family.

    As standard, the entry-level Carnival S is packaged with autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as junction assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-departure alerts, lane-keep assistance, safe exit warnings and seven airbags.

    A surround-view monitor with rear cross-traffic and safe exit assist is bundled into the Carnival SLi and above.

    Kia’s planned update for later this year will more than likely see the entry-level Carnival pick up more safety equipment as standard - but this is what you’d be looking at if you were to compare the range today.

    Does the Kia Carnival Have an ANCAP Safety Rating?

    The Kia Carnival has received full marks from ANCAP, securing its five-star safety rating from testing conducted in 2021 where it scored the following results.

    • Adult Occupant Protection: 90%

    • Child Occupant Protection: 88%

    • Vulnerable Road User Protection: 68%

    • Safety Assist: 82%

    What Warranty Does the Kia Carnival Come With?

    Kia offers the Carnival with the company’s outstanding seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, as well as seven years’ worth of capped-price servicing.

    Servicing costs for the Carnival Petrol stand at $3,638 while seven years of servicing costs for the Carnival Diesel will set you back $3,816.

    Our Verdict: Is the Kia Carnival Worth it?

    As a fit-for-purpose family mover, the Kia Carnival sits confidently at the top of the class thanks to its smooth on-road manners, solid value proposition and immensely practical interior that is more than up to the task of moving you and your family.

    While the addition of a new hybrid engine option makes waiting around a worthwhile investment, if you’re pressed for time, you will not be disappointed - particularly if ticking the box on the Carniva’s diesel engine option.

    If you’re looking to upgrade to a new, family-friendly SUV or people-mover, be sure to reach out to one of our car-buying experts who can help you find the best possible price on your next car.

    Five Kia Carnival Specs You Need to Know

    1. Seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty with capped-price servicing

    2. Five-star ANCAP safety rating

    3. V6 petrol and turbo-diesel engines available

    4. 9.5L/100km fuel economy figures for V6 petrol, 6.5L/100km in diesel

    5. Updated Carnival with hybrid engine arriving later in 2024


    Alexi Falson

    Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

    Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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