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Kia reveals facelifted Carnival people-mover

Clowning around: The upgraded Carnival features a new eight-speed automatic transmission with torque convertor that replaces the former six-speed unit.

Eight-speed automatic, more equipment, revised styling headline Kia Carnival update

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Kia logo16 Mar 2018

By JUSTIN HILLIARD

KIA Motors has quietly whipped the covers off its facelifted Carnival people-mover on its South Korean website, previewing the upgraded eight-seater that is set to hit Australian showrooms this year.

Speaking to GoAuto, Kia Motors Australia general manager of media and corporate communications Kevin Hepworth confirmed that an updated Carnival range will lob locally in May but cautioned its changes are still being determined.

Nevertheless, the Korean version should be similar and is headlined by a new eight-speed automatic transmission with torque convertor that replaces the outgoing six-speed unit.

The Carnival once again offers two engine options – either a 2.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel or a 3.3-litre naturally aspirated V6 petrol – but both have been tweaked.

Power and torque outputs for the former are up 2kW and 1Nm respectively, to 149kW and 441Nm, while the latter holds steady at 206kW and 336Nm. However, these Korean-market outputs may differ to the model sold in Australia.

Similarly, improved fuel economy on the combined cycle test is promised, but Kia’s claims of 8.8 litres per 100 kilometres for the diesel and 12.2L/100km for the petrol in Korea are respectively 1.1L/100km and 0.6L/100km higher than the current Australian-market model.

This might be due to the car-maker adopting the incoming WLTP standards over the outgoing NEDC regulations, which are intended to deliver more realistic manufacturer efficiency claims.

Nevertheless, carbon dioxide emissions have tumbled, with the diesel down 28 grams per km, to 171g/km, and the petrol down 61g/km, to 210g/km. Again, these figures may not be indicative of the model coming Down Under.

The Carnival’s suite of advanced driver-assist safety technologies now includes autonomous emergency braking, and stop and go functionality for the adaptive cruise control system, while forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and a 360-degree camera carry over.

Other notable equipment upgrades include the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, wireless smartphone charging, a heated steering wheel and dual sunroofs, with some of these features likely to be exclusive to the flagship Platinum grade.

Visual changes extend to redesigned LED headlights, daytime running lights (DRLs), foglights and tail-lights as well as tweaked front and rear bumpers.

Interestingly, the Carnival’s length, height and wheelbase measurements remain static, but its width has decreased by 5mm, to 1742mm. No reason has been provided yet for this minor reduction.

Currently, the Carnival line-up kicks off from $41,490 before on-road costs for the entry-level S petrol, topping out at $61,290 for the flagship Platinum diesel. Pricing is likely to remain in this vicinity for the new model.

Carnival sales in Australia were strong last year, with 5878 examples sold to the end of 2017, representing a 23 per cent improvement over the 4777 deliveries made in 2016.

This tally placed it first in sub-$60,000 people-mover segment last year, outpacing the Honda Odyssey (2184 units), Volkswagen Multivan (1076), Hyundai iMax (987) and Toyota Tarago (958).

The Kia is once again off to a hot start in 2018, with 977 vehicles finding homes to the end of February, equating to a 27 per cent increase over the 769 examples sold during the same period in 2017.

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