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