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It won’t win prizes for its looks but it has room to spare, writes Stu­art Martin

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

THIS is prob­a­bly the fastest Kia on Aus­tralian roads. No, we’re not in some un­der­cover Cer­ato coupe with a tweaked en­gine. It’s the Grand Car­ni­val peo­ple-mover. It packs a big V6 punch — sim­i­lar to Aussie V8s of less than 20 years ago— and re­mains the most pop­u­lar peo­ple-mover in Aus­tralia.

There are sev­eral rea­sons for that, and price, space and flex­i­bil­ity are key among them.

Value

I WROTE re­cently that the Com­modore and Fal­con of­fered plenty of metal for the money, and the Kia tribe-shifter is no dif­fer­ent.

In fact, it is bet­ter in some re­spects, par­tic­u­larly if you have more than two chil­dren.

Priced from $39,990, the Si en­try-level model eight-seater of­fers a 2-3-3 lay­out but, sadly, has lap-only belts for only cen­tre rear pas­sen­gers in the sec­ond and third rows.

For a base-model Korean peo­ple-mover the fea­tures list has a few high­lights, in­clud­ing power-ad­justable and heated ex­te­rior mir­rors, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, cruise con­trol, USB/ 3.5mm au­dio in­puts for the six-speaker 6CD sound sys­tem, power win­dows (in­clud­ing elec­tric pop-out rear win­dows for the third row), seven cuphold­ers and front and rear air­con­di­tion­ing.

Technology

THE 3.5-litre V6 re­places the out­go­ing 3.8, of­fer­ing 20 kW more (at 202kW) and torque has dropped to 336Nm from 343Nm, but it now com­plies with the stricter Euro IV emis­sions.

Fuel use on the com­bined cy­cle lab fig­ure has dropped by 1.9 litres to 10.9 litres/100km, though a more real-world fig­ure is in the mid-teens.

But if fru­gal­ity is higher up your pri­or­i­ties list there is also a 2.9-litre tur­bod­iesel four-cylin­der that of­fers 136kW and 343Nm (with a five-speed auto) and a com­bined fig­ure of 8.5 litres/100km.

Part of the petrol ver­sion’s fuel use drop will

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