It’s a family affair
A celebrated choice for the expanding unit
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.
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.