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Kia targets safety, economy with Carnival upgrade

Shake-up: Kia's Grand Carnival gets a new V6 petrol engine that meets Euro 4 regulations.

Kia’s big-selling Carnival range gains extra airbags and a better petrol engine

17 Jun 2010

KIA Motors Australia has upgraded its Carnival eight-seater people-mover with six airbags now standard across the range and a new petrol engine and automatic transmission for the long-wheelbase Grand Carnival.

With its long-held people-mover market leadership now under threat from Hyundai’s i-Max wagon, Kia has moved to bolster both the short-wheelbase Carnival and the stretched Grand with the addition of front side and full-length curtain airbags – previously part of a $1200 option pack on the SWB and the entry-level LWB EXE – and other key equipment changes, with prices increasing only slightly as a result.

Other changes include the addition of a reversing camera on the Grand Carnival mid-series SLi model grade (previously known as Premium) and the range-topping Platinum.

The baseline EXE grade has also been dropped, with Si replacing it among the Grand Carnivals, and the single short-wheelbase model now being described as the Carnival S.

The latter continues with a recently updated Euro 4-compliant 139kW/249Nm 2.7-litre V6 petrol engine offering 11L/100km mileage and 268g/km in CO2, but the five-speed manual gearbox is no longer available. This leaves shift work to the four-speed Sportsmatic automatic transmission.

With the Grand Carnival, the old 182kW/343Nm Euro 3-compliant 3.8-litre ‘Lambda’ V6 has left the line-up ahead of the move to Euro 4 regulations in Australia from July 1.

In its place is a more powerful and economical Euro 4-compliant 3.5-litre ‘Lambda II’ engine, which produces 202kW of power at 6300rpm, although torque takes a hit, down to 336Nm at 4500rpm.

17 center imageCombining with a new six-speed automatic transmission – claimed to be the most compact six-speed unit available anywhere in the world – the 3.5 V6 improves fuel economy and CO2 emissions output for the petrol Grand, now at 10.9L/100km (down 1.9L) and 259g/km (down 43g).

The Grand Carnival also continues to be available with a Euro 4-compliant 136kW/343Nm 2.9-litre CRDi four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine (and standard five-speed automatic), which is the greenest model available in the range with 8.5L/100km and 224g/km.

Recommended retail prices have climbed slightly – $600 across the board – to now start from $36,990 for the Carnival S auto, while the Grand Carnival petrol models now start from $39,990 for the petrol Si, $45,990 for the SLi and $51,990 for the Platinum.

On the diesel front, the Grand Si now starts from $42,590, SLi from $48,590 and Platinum topping out the range at $54,590 (plus statutory and dealer delivery charges).

Other changes to the Carnival line-up include turning indicators now positioned in the exterior mirror housing, a modernised grille and new designs for the 16-inch wheel covers on S/Si and 17-inch alloys on SLi and Platinum.

Standard feature across the Carnival range continue to include electronic stability control, ABS brakes with EBD, front foglights, an alarm, six-speaker MP3/iPod-compatible single-CD stereo, cruise control and air-conditioning.

The latest VFACTS figures show that Carnival sales have climbed 18.3 per cent year to date, while the people-mover segment has risen 30 per cent overall, largely on the back of light commercial vehicle-based contenders such as the Hyundai i-Max and Mercedes-Benz Vito.

The i-Max has emerged as a considerable threat, sitting less than 400 sales overall behind the Carnival to the end of May after experiencing a 221 per cent increase YTD.

Kia Motors Australia president MK Kim said the rise in people-mover sales in Australia this year bode well for the updated Carnival.

“The Carnival is leading an extremely competitive segment and it’s time once again for us to make changes to ensure those customers continue to receive a good quality, safe eight-seat vehicle at a very reasonable price,” he said.

“The people-mover segment has been under attack for several years now, firstly by the introduction of seven-seat SUVs and then more recently by a global economic downturn affecting families, car rental companies and the hospitality industry – the segment's three core markets.

“(But) early indications are that the refreshed Carnival range is entering at a good time.”
Kia Carnival pricing:
Carnival S (a) $36,990
Grand Carnival Si 3.5 V6 (a) $39,990
Grand Carnival Si CRDi (a) $42,590
Grand Carnival SLi 3.5 V6 (a) $45,990
Grand Carnival SLi CRDi (a) $48,590
Grand Carnival Platinum 3.5 V6 (a) $51,990
Grand Carnival Platinum CRDi (a) $54,590

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