All the fun of the fair
This efficient people mover can satisfy big family demands
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.
IN THE SHOP
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.
IN A CRASH
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