Space-age small bus

Kia’s smooth-rid­ing Car­ni­val isn’t sleek but it’s cor­nered the mar­ket

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Road Test -

at $52,190.

We tested the third-level SLI priced from $50,190 for the diesel ($4000 more than the 2.5-litre V6 petrol). At this spec level you get all the stuff you’d ex­pect in a rea­son­ably kit­ted car, plus pow­ered slid­ing doors, re­vers­ing cam­era, heated ex­te­rior mir­rors, cruise con­trol, Blue­tooth, six-speaker au­dio with Cd-stack and mu­sic player jacks, pow­ered pop-out win­dows for the third row, front and rear air­con­di­tion­ing, leather up­hol­stery, roof rails and 17-inch al­loys.

Hyundai’s imax is close to $8000 cheaper, but with more thirst and less power and torque, and misses out on ex­tras like the re­vers­ing cam­era and leather.

If you’re wor­ried about the stigma of peo­ple-movers, get Honda’s Odyssey at about $4000 cheaper, and pass it off as a car. It looks and feels like one, but un­for­tu­nately when you load it up you’ll find it has the small torque of one, too.

An­other way to avoid the stigma is with the Dodge Jour­ney R/T, also about $4000 less, which looks brutish enough that no­body will dare say any­thing. But it doesn’t have the mus­cle to back it up, and the in­te­rior qual­ity is a weak point.

Like the Honda, there’s a lack of torque with the Toy­ota Tarago, and it’s joined by an out­dated auto. But while it costs $2300 more than Kia, the Korean matches its only high point: four-star safety.

The Chrysler Grand Voy­ager CRD LX is about $7000 more, and though it’s fairly well kit­ted-out, it’s nowhere near as loaded as you’d ex­pect for that price. And de­spite hav­ing a larger en­gine, it doesn’t de­liver the goods. You won’t have to worry about any ‘‘ breeder bus’’ slurs if you buy the Mercedes-benz Viano. You can shrug them off with the knowl­edge that you’ve splashed the max­i­mum cash at this level, $26,000 more than the Kia. But for that you get five-star safety, ef­fort­less torque and a lux­ury fit-out. And the three-point badge, for some, will be worth the price.


The new 2.2-litre turbo diesel and six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion are bor­rowed from Kia’s Sorento SUV. It’s 700cc smaller than the en­gine it re­places but it’s big­ger where it counts, punch­ing out 143kw of power (up 7kw), but more im­por­tantly a hefty 96Nm of ex­tra torque at 429Nm. That’s enough to pull a ju­nior footy scrum over the line.

It might also leave enough in the bud­get for a post-game ham­burger stop, with the fuel econ­omy im­prov­ing from 8.5L/100km to 8.1L/100km. Then, if the lit­tle know-it-alls start quizzing you about what you’re do­ing to save the planet, you can tell them CO emis­sions are down from 224g/km to 213g/km. And to shut up and eat their burg­ers.


There’s de­sign for style and there’s de­sign for func­tion. Cus­tom has it that the most func­tional way to carry things is a box, and that’s the Grand Car­ni­val in a word. It’s not

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