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Future models - Kia - Carnival

Current Kia Carnival to soldier on a little longer

First attempt: The next Carnival will not be based on the 2011 KV7 concept, with Kia taking a different direction for the next-gen people mover.

New Kia Carnival still more than a year away from our shores

7 Jun 2013

THE wait continues for Kia’s next-generation Carnival, with the current version of Australia’s most popular people-mover expected to soldier on until at least the end of 2014.

A production-ready concept of the Carnival replacement is expected to appear in the second quarter of 2014, with a full road-going version to follow overseas a few months later.

This will make the family hauler an eight-year old model by the time it is replaced with the new version. It will also make it the final member of Kia’s range to significantly benefit from its recent design renaissance.

Still, age has hardly been a deterrent for local buyers of the current model, with sales of the eight-seater at 1132 units so far this year, giving it a whopping 38.3 per cent stake in the people-mover market.

A number of concept ideas have been floated internally for the next-gen Carnival, including the KV7 that was shown publicly at the Detroit motor show in 2011.

However, the company has since changed its position on the car, with Kia’s global president and design chief Peter Schreyer telling GoAuto earlier this year that the KV7 was too slab-sided and low-slung to be practical.

When the Carnival eventually arrives, it will be the final vehicle in Kia’s stable to receive the Schreyer-led design language that can now be seen on everything from the Rio light-car to the Sportage SUV and the new Rondo compact people-mover launched this week.

Despite the Carnival delay, the next 12 months will still be a busy time for the aggressive car-maker, with the release of the Cerato hatch scheduled in the third quarter of the year following the launch of the stylish new sedan in April.

Quarter four sees the launch of the two-door Cerato-based Koup that promises to offer more sporting performance than the current model.

Mr Hepworth said that a decision is yet to be made about whether the Koup will get the same 150kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine as the Cerato hatchback and the upcoming Pro-cee’d GT hot hatch, adding that it is still under consideration.

The Pro_cee’d GT unveiled at the Geneva show in March will be Kia’s first serious attempt at a sporty offering, and is confirmed for an Australian berth in the first quarter of next year.

Mr Hepworth said that he did not think the Koup and Pro_cee’d GT would cannibalise each other’s sales when they eventually arrive in Australia.

“I think they are different enough. The Koup is a style car. Pro_cee’d GT will be a bit more of a hard-edged three-door hatch, whereas the other one is a coupe.

“It (the Koup) is being bought now on looks, so if it gets a bit more performance edge it is still going to be the same people and there will be a differentiation in the price.”

Mr Hepworth also poured water on the rumour that a cabrio version of the Pro_cee’d was in the works after a rendering appeared on a Kia fan site last week.

“That is a nice rendering and the fan that did it has a future in graphics but there is no official link between that and Kia design,” he said.

An updated Optima will land in Australia either late this year or early next year featuring minor styling, interior and mechanical updates while the second-generation Soul should arrive in the second half of 2014.

Mr Hepworth confirmed that the tiny Picanto city-car still hasn’t been completely ruled out for Australia, but with the current model due to be replaced soon, a local berth would not happen for some time, if at all.

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