All the fun of the fair

This efficient peo­ple mover can sat­isfy big fam­ily de­mands

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Review - GRAHAM SMITH ask@cars­

WITH heaps of space, flex­i­ble seat­ing and the punch of a big V6 en­gine, it’s no won­der the Grand Car­ni­val has be­come a fam­ily favourite.


The Grand Car­ni­val won’t win any beauty con­tests, but it’s not in­tended to. Its bulky box-like shape is per­fect for the pur­pose for which it was cre­ated, which was to move large fam­i­lies around ef­fi­ciently.

In­side it can seat up to eight in three rows of seat­ing that can be shuf­fled around, folded or re­moved al­to­gether, de­pend­ing on the need.

Re­mov­ing the sec­ond row and fold­ing the third one leaves an enor­mous cav­ity that can be filled with all man­ner of things, from cargo for a small busi­ness to sport­ing or camp­ing gear for week­end fun.

From 2006, the Car­ni­val used a 3.8-litre V6 that de­vel­oped 184kW and 343Nm, enough to give it the punch many Aussies de­mand from their cars. The down­side is that it can be quite thirsty.

Kia of­fered a five-speed auto across the range, with the added fea­ture of man­ual shift­ing avail­able on the Pre­mium range-top­per.

On the road the big Car­ni­val drove well, al­though its bulk meant it was never go­ing to be bril­liant; the sus­pen­sion was at its most com­fort­able when loaded, and the throt­tle re­ac­tion was a lit­tle on the sharp side.

All mod­els were well equipped; even the base model of­fered auto air and cruise on top of the ex­pected things such as power win­dows and mir­rors, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing and CD sound.


Un­like the first Car­ni­vals, the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion mod­els only see the in­side of a work­shop when it’s time for a ser­vice.

Own­ers re­port that they are more than happy with the re­li­a­bil­ity and func­tion of their cars; few re­port any is­sues at all.

Check for ser­vice records and in­spect body­work for dam­age and the in­te­rior for the sort of wear and tear caused by trans­port­ing kids.


The Car­ni­val has most of the safety gear de­manded by to­day’s buy­ers. All mod­els came stan­dard with dual front airbags and ABS brakes with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion, but the EX-L has the added safety of head and side front airbags. The best of all was the Pre­mium, which also pro­vided elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol.

The only down­side was the lack of three-point seat belts in the cen­tre seat­ing po­si­tions in the sec­ond and third rows.


With a big and bulky shape and a large en­gine, the Grand Car­ni­val was never go­ing to be a fuel miser. The of­fi­cial claim was 12.8 L/100km, but ex­pect mid-teens if you can’t keep your foot off the throt­tle.

Kia’s Grand Car­ni­val meets its de­sign brief to move fam­i­lies around ef­fi­ciently, with plenty of punch

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