The finer fam­ily freighters

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - WHICH CAR? -

We have three young schoolage kids and in-laws who soon will not be able to drive. Our Honda CR-V is clap­ping out so we are look­ing to up­grade to some­thing with easy ac­cess for the el­derly in-laws and plenty of room as we travel like the Gris­wolds! We live in a hilly area so are think­ing diesel. Our bud­get is about $30K. We are lean­ing to a Kia Carnival but are open to sug­ges­tions. Trav A peo­ple-mover is the sen­si­ble choice but get a diesel only if you’ll do a lot of kilo­me­tres. If you’re just pot­ter­ing around town, you’ll find that most peo­ple-movers have petrol en­gines that can cope with hills. For $30,000 you could prob­a­bly sneak into a 2014 or 2015 Carnival or a Hyundai IMax of the same vin­tage. The Honda Odyssey and Toy­ota Tarago will be a cou­ple of years older but still worth a look.

CHOICES

Kia Carnival Look around, hag­gle hard and you should be able to squeak into the cur­rent Carnival, which launched in Fe­bru­ary 2015 and was based on an all-new plat­form. Its 3.3-litre V6 or 2.2-litre diesel will make short work of those hills. Apart from a more com­fort­able, qui­eter ride, the big im­prove­ment in the new model was the cabin. More so­phis­ti­cated ma­te­ri­als and an abun­dance of 12-volt and USB out­lets will keep the ju­nior Gris­wolds happy on long trips. The Carnival’s seven-year warranty means a sec­ond-hand one will have longer cov­er­age than a lot of new cars.

Hyundai iMax The Hyundai isn’t as so­phis­ti­cated as the Carnival, as it shares un­der­pin­nings with the iLoad courier van. It also falls short on safety, with no cur­tain airbags for rear pas­sen­gers. The 2.5-litre diesel is fairly noisy by mod­ern stan­dards but is strong and fru­gal for high­way cruis­ing. On the plus side, the in­te­rior is cav­ernous — it’s per­haps the only peo­ple-mover on the mar­ket that can fit eight peo­ple and their lug­gage. A five-year warranty means you’ll likely pick one up with three years’ cov­er­age re­main­ing.

Honda Odyssey If you’ve en­joyed own­ing your CR-V, then why not keep it in the fam­ily and look at the Odyssey? For $30,000 you should be able to get the lat­est gen­er­a­tion model, launched in Fe­bru­ary 2014. The pre­vi­ous model was al­most an anti- peo­ple-mover, with sleek styling and im­pres­sive road man­ners; the cur­rent model, though less en­gag­ing, is more spa­cious and prac­ti­cal. The four-cylin­der needs to be revved but will be ad­e­quate for fam­ily freight­ing. The typ­i­cally clever Honda cabin has qual­ity fin­ishes. Re­sale will be good but there will be no fac­tory warranty.

WILD­CARD

Nis­san Pathfinder If you can’t quite bring your­self to go down the peo­ple­mover path, the big Nis­san SUV might be worth a look. It can’tt match the pur­pose-built peo­ple car­ri­ers for practicality, size and ease of en­try but it does the best job of the cur­rent crop of full­sized SUVs and has a strong V6. The sec­ond row has plenty of width for fit­ting baby seats and its clever fold­ing mech­a­nism en­ables sur­pris­ingly good ac­cess to the third row.

VER­DICT

If size, com­fort and practicality are im­por­tant to you, this is some­thing of a no-con­test. With its su­per­sized cabin, strong safety cre­den­tials and in­dus­try-lead­ing warranty, the Carnival is the clear pick.

KIA CARNIVAL

HONDA ODYSSEY

HYUNDAI iMAX

NIS­SAN PATHFINDER

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