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New MPV takes cues from SUVs

Kia Carnival’s revamp makes it safer and more economical than its predecessors.
Posted on 21 January, 2021
New MPV takes cues from SUVs

The Kia Carnival has drawn inspiration from SUVs for a number of design and driving features as it gets a new look for 2021.

The covers have been pulled off the fourth generation of the eight-seater, which Kia says provides “practicality, comfort, space and power. 

Based on Kia’s new mid-size platform, which is shared with the latest version of the Sorento, the Carnival offers more space and capability than its predecessors.

The MPV will be available in four specification levels – S, Si, SLi and Platinum – in petrol and diesel engines. 

Both the Smartstream 3.5-litre GDI, V6 petrol, which delivers 216kW and 355Nm, and the Smartstream R2.2-litre CRDI diesel, offering 148kW and 440Nm, drive the front wheels through a Kia-developed eight-speed automatic.

The entry-level S specification comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rack, solar glass windshield, eight-inch AV unit with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, 4.2-inch TFT LCD cluster, six-speaker sound system and manual temperature control. 

Other features include drive mode select with normal/eco/sport/smart, keyless entry, cloth seats, rear parking sensors, rear view monitor with dynamic guidelines, tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and a full safety suite.

Moving up to the Si brings 18-inch alloys, a 12.3-inch AVN unit, eight-speaker sound system, dual zone automatic temperature control front and single zone rear, premium steering wheel and shifting knob, and front parking sensors.

In the SLi, extra features include privacy rear glass, smart key with push button start, artificial leather seats, surround view monitor, power tailgate with auto close, smart power sliding doors, one-touch power doors and tailgate, eight-way power driver’s seat, and rear cross traffic collision avoidance assist.

At the top of the range the Platinum boasts electronic shift by wire, 19-inch black alloy wheels, 12-speaker Bose sound system, rear occupant alert, heated steering wheel, wireless charger, paddle shifters, dual tilting and sliding sunroof. It also carries eight-way integrated memory seats, rear heated seats, ventilated front seats, LED interior lamps and second and third row sunshade blind. 

‘Confident presence’ 

The SUV-inspired revamp of the people mover, which made its debut in 1998, means the Carnival now has a shorter front overhang, with the base of the A-pillar moved backwards to create a longer hood. Its increased wheelbase contributes to greater space throughout the cabin. 

A single bold character line runs the length of the car, with the body designed to provide a more modern, sculpted appearance. 

The latest iteration of the “tiger-nose” design spans the width of the vehicle, integrating LED daytime running lights (DRLs), headlamps and grille. 

Karim Habib, senior vice-president and head of Kia Global Design, says: “The design of the new Carnival presents a concept focusing on two essential points. First, as a people mover with a great exterior design that feels like a premium SUV, second, maximised interior space satisfying our customers' needs, and maybe even surprising them with more intuitive and positive experiences.

“The new Carnival’s design has a great sense of solidity with a stable stance and powerful proportions. Detailed and futuristic elements further amplify its confident presence.”

It comes in seven paint colours, these are Ceramic Silver, Astra Blue, Silky Silver, Deep Chroma Blue, Panthera Metal, Snow White Pearl and Aurora Black Pearl. 

The wheelbase is 30mm longer at 3,090mm, and the body has grown 10mm wider to 1,995mm. 

Those changes boost the overall length of the new Carnival by 40mm to 5,155mm, with a 30mm longer rear overhang – now 1,130mm – creating more space for third-row passengers and extra luggage.

With only the first row of seats in use and the third row folded down, the Carnival offers boot space of up to 2,785 litres.

Digital and economical

The hub of the car’s connectivity features is the high-tech digital display. In Si, SLi and Platinum trims this links Kia’s latest 4.2-inch digital driver instrument cluster and 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system under a single seamless piece of glass. The S level trim has an eight-inch audio visual unit and a 4.2-inch TFT information cluster for the driver. 

Other technologies include one-button smart open-and-close for the rear power-sliding doors and tailgate. Platinum models are also equipped with puddle lighting, which lights up automatically whenever the power sliding door is operated in low light environments.

Kia’s latest “Smartstream” powertrain technologies power the new Carnival, with the petrol version producing a combined cycle consumption of 9.6L/100km, an improvement of more than 10 per cent on the previous engine.

The diesel version replaces its predecessor’s cast iron block with a lighter aluminium block and has a combined cycle fuel consumption of 6.5L/100km, down from 7.6L/100km.

A new fully independent suspension system and a range of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) measures have also been added to the Carnival to maximise stability and occupant comfort.

Safety features in the car include a speed limit information function, which reads and displays road-side speed signs and shows that speed on the information cluster. It is supplemented by intelligent speed assist that alerts drivers to a change in speed limit and advises them to adjust the speed limiter and smart cruise control accordingly.

In addition to a suite of safety technology is a multi-collision braking system and AEB junction assist for warnings and automatic braking when turning across traffic if a collision is detected.