New models - Kia - Carnival
Driven: Kia Carnival aims to reclaim MPV leadership
Kia’s stylish new Carnival debuts with four grades and two engines
27 Feb 2015
By TIM ROBSON
KIA’S most successful nameplate has been reignited in Australia with the launch of the long-awaited new-generation Carnival people-mover, priced from $41,490 plus on-road costs.
The new version launched this week marks the final stage of a completely refreshed model line-up under Hyundai/Kia’s global design chief Peter Schreyer, and Kia Motors Australia is now working to reclaim segment leadership.
The previous model, the Grand Carnival, was on sale for nine years, racking up 31,442 sales and ruling the people-mover market for the vast majority of that time.
However, the ageing Kia MPV slipped to number three last year in the face of competition from a new Honda Odyssey and the surprise success of sibling rival Hyundai’s iMax.
Kia Motors Australia (KMAu) chief operating officer Damien Meredith told GoAuto this week that he was confident the new Carnival – the ‘Grand’ having been dropped from the name, returning to the moniker used for the 1999-2006 first-generation car – has what it takes to get back to the top of the segment.
“We would like to be number one,” he said. “We respect our opposition, but we think the car is good enough from a design point of view, it’s good enough from a pricing point of view and we certainly think it’s good enough from a historic point of view.”
Mr Meredith was keen to emphasise the importance of the Carnival in the Australian marketplace.
“It’s our strongest nameplate. We’re very confident that we can get that number one position in the people-mover market.”
Mr Meredith estimates the company is capable of selling between 200 and 300 Carnivals a month.
“From a volume point of view, we have to do that to get back (to number one) and we’re pretty confident we can do that,” he said. “The supply chain is okay at this point in time. This first five months is looking very positive.”
The new Carnival is a marked departure from the ageing visage of the old car.
Designed in Kia’s Irvine, California studio, the new model appears at first blush to be much larger than the one it replaces. Looks can deceive, however the new Carnival is lower and shorter overall, and is the same width across the body.
The overall height of the Carnival is 55mm lower than the outgoing model at 1755mm. It is shorter in length by 15mm at 5115 mm, despite sitting on a longer wheelbase (up 40mm to 3060mm).
The Carnival features sliding doors on both sides of the car, which are fitted with sliding glass. Depending on vehicle grade, the tailgate is fitted with a smart-open function. No sunroof is offered at any point in the range.
Available in four grades – the fleet-grade S, Si, SLi and top-end Platinum – the Carnival will be offered with a choice of two engines. The R 2.2-litre CDI four-cylinder turbo-diesel is an updated carryover from the outgoing model, while the Lambda II 3.3-litre V6 petrol engine is new to the Carnival.
Pricing starts at $41,990 for the base S in petrol guise and tops out at $59,990 for the diesel-powered Platinum. Opting for a diesel engine adds $2500 to the price of the petrol models.
The turbo-diesel four is good for 147kW of power at 3800rpm and 440Nm of torque from 1750rpm to 2750rpm. Additional acoustic covers for the timing chain and engine block act to dull diesel rattle.
Fuel economy is rated at 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres, while CO2 emissions come in at 199 grams per kilometre – not bad considering the vehicle weighs 2150kg in this configuration.
The petrol V6, meanwhile, produces 206kW at 6000rpm and 336Nm at 5200rpm, and is rated to return 11.6L/100km and 271g/km on the combined cycle. Its kerb weight is 50kg less than the diesel at 2100kg.
Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel version features a shorter first gear and final ratio than the petrol, although the fifth and sixth gear ratios are identical.
Somewhat unusually in the modern age, hydraulic steering is fitted to the Carnival left-hand-drive models are equipped with electrically assisted steering, but the switch to right-hand drive necessitated the use of hydraulic assistance.
Suspension comprises MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link arrangement at the rear. Local ride and handling work resulted in new dampers, stiffer rollbars and a unique hydraulically actuated rebound spring on the front axle.
Inside the Carnival, eight seats are fitted as standard, with a fold-down triple third row, a removable centre seat in the second row, and ‘stand-up’ outer second-row seats. The seats pivot up from the front of their bases to stand up flush against the backs of the front seats to maximise available cargo space.
Fold-down armrests are fitted to the front seats and the outside-second row pews. The second-row centre seat also folds flat to form a central table with cupholders and a padded armrest section.
The total cargo volume has increased over the Grand Carnival by 77 litres to 960 litres behind the third row of seats. This grows to 2220 litres behind the second row with the third row folded flat into the floor (not out to the sides), and 4022 litres when all rear passenger seats are stowed.
The list of standard inclusions in the entry-level S is long and includes a CD player with MP3/USB/AUX and a colour screen, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, four-LED guide lights in the headlamps, heated external mirrors, power windows front and rear, keyless entry, cruise control, tinted glass, stain- and spill-resistant cloth seats, three 12V sockets, a rear USB charging socket, 10 cup-holders, four bottle-holders, cargo tie-downs and roof rails. It is also fitted with 17-inch steel rims.
The Si adds alloys wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearknob, front foglights, darker-tint privacy glass on the rear and rear-side windows, 20-LED front positioning lamps, folding external mirrors, satellite navigation with an eight-inch colour touchscreen, DVD player (which can only be used when the car is stopped) and tri-zone air-conditioning.
Additional content in the SLi includes 18-inch alloys, front parking sensors, extra trim items like a chrome grille surround, a cooled glovebox, leather-trimmed seats, smart tailgate, powered side doors, powered driver’s seat, push-button start and electro-chromatic rearview mirror.
Finally, the top-ranking Platinum adds 19-inch rims, sunshade blinds on the second and third rows, HID auto-levelling headlights with high-beam assist, two-position driver’s seat memory, powered front passenger seat, heated vented front seats, heated second-row seats (the two outside seats, specifically), heated steering wheel with wood inserts, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning and radar cruise control systems.
Standard safety features across the range includes six airbags (including full-length side curtain airbags), front seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters, three-point seatbelts in all positions, dusk-sensing automatic headlights, electronic stability and traction control, hill-start assist, and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.
As GoAuto has reported, the new Carnival does not, however, quality for a five-star safety rating under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) due to the absence of rear seatbelt reminders – an omission that KMAu is working to have rectified by later this year.
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