It’s a fam­ily af­fair

A cel­e­brated choice for the ex­pand­ing unit

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Car - GRA­HAM SMITH gra­ham.smith@cars­guide.com.au

NEW

Kia’s Grand Car­ni­val has long been pop­u­lar with peo­ple need­ing to trans­port a large fam­ily and for good rea­son. It’s prac­ti­cal, roomy, well equipped and favourably priced.

Like all peo­ple movers the Grand Car­ni­val is es­sen­tially a box on wheels, a con­se­quence of the need for in­te­rior space, but it isn’t un­pleas­ant to look at.

It’s in­side that mat­ters most when it comes to peo­ple movers and the Grand Car­ni­val ticks most boxes for roomi­ness, flex­i­bil­ity and com­fort. Eight peo­ple could be ac­com­mo­dated in the three rows of seats, with three in the cen­tre row and three in the third row. The cen­tre-row seats could be re­moved, while the third row was a split or folded to make best use of the enor­mous space that was re­leased.

One down­side was that the cen­tre pas­sen­gers in the sec­ond and third rows only had a lap safety belt. As well as the seat­ing, pas­sen­gers en­joyed the con­ve­nience of cup hold­ers, bot­tle hold­ers, a fold out ta­ble, pock­ets, stor­age bins and hooks to hang just about ev­ery­thing you could take with you on the road.

New to the im­proved model in 2010 was a new cleaner and more eco­nom­i­cal V6 engine to re­place the 3.8-litre V6 that had an un­for­tu­nate lik­ing for fuel. When you went the petrol route you also got a sports shift six-speed auto, which helped make up for the slight loss in torque of the smaller engine.

The al­ter­na­tive to the V6 was a 2.9-litre turbo-diesel that nicely cut the fuel bills while still de­liv­er­ing de­cent per­for­mance.

If you chose the diesel engine you drove away with a five-speed auto, also with sports shift­ing.

Safety is para­mount in a fam­ily ve­hi­cle and Kia had all bases cov­ered with front, side and cur­tain airbags, plus ABS brakes, trac­tion con­trol, and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol. There was also a re­vers­ing cam­era avail­able, but only on the SLi and Plat­inum mod­els.

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Fuel con­sump­tion was the thing most Grand Car­ni­val own­ers grum­bled about when quizzed about their ve­hi­cles, but the new, smaller 3.5-litre engine ad­dressed that is­sue to some de­gree.

The smaller V6 brought a lit­tle bowser re­lief, but at a claimed 10.9L/100 km it’s far from a fuel miser.

For that you need to seek out the turbo-diesel, which make it the choice for used buy­ers. It’s also worth­while to go for a mid-range SLi or top Plat­inum model to get the re­vers­ing cam­era.

Me­chan­i­cally, the Grand Car­ni­val is sound with few prob­lems re­ported and can be bought with con­fi­dence. If own­ers com­plain it’s usu­ally about small things that fail or fall off, but they’re gen­er­ally things that are eas­ily fixed.

Thor­oughly test-drive your cho­sen ve­hi­cle be­fore hand­ing over your hard-earned, putting it through its paces around town and on the high­way. For added con­fi­dence check its ser­vice record to make sure it’s been prop­erly main­tained.

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