Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Chris Ri­ley

TALK about ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing.

Kia has al­ready knocked a “grand” off, even though the new Kia Car­ni­val is not on sale yet.

Not off the price, but off the name – in­stead of Grand Car­ni­val it will be sim­ply called Car­ni­val.

It may not be Kia’s sex­i­est beast, or even its best seller – but don’t un­der­es­ti­mate its im­por­tance.

The one-time fam­ily favourite has taken a back seat in re­cent months to Honda’s new Odyssey and even sis­ter com­pany Hyundai's iMax, even though the lat­ter is based on a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle.

But Car­ni­val is poised to make a come­back. The new model is the last car in the line-up to re­ceive the Schreyer treat­ment.

He’s the Ger­man guy and au­thor of the iconic Audi TT who has al­most sin­gle-hand­edly put the brand back on the map.

There’s no word on pric­ing yet, but ex­pect it to be com­pet­i­tive with Odyssey – from $38,990 to $47,620.

There’s just the one eight-seat model, with a choice of petrol or diesel en­gines and a six-speed auto with both that will be avail­able in three dif­fer­ent grades.

New Car­ni­val has been nine years in the mak­ing and the de­sign­ers have at­tempted to con­ceal the need for eight seats in a body that has been stretched and low­ered to re­sem­ble a car, with de­sign el­e­ments to make it look wider and more ag­gres­sive.

Based on the same plat­form as the Sorento SUV, new Car­ni­val is a frac­tion shorter and sits two cen­time­tres lower than be­fore, but is the same width.

The deep boot, one of its big draw­cards, has ac­tu­ally grown in size – up 8.7 per cent to 960 litres with the third row in place.

The eight seats are ar­ranged in a 2 + 3 + 3 con­fig­u­ra­tion, with ac­cess to the rear seats via power­op­er­ated slid­ing rear doors.

The sec­ond row slides fore and aft and can be folded to stand up­right against the back of the front seats, with a smaller cen­tre seat that can be re­moved com­pletely. The third row is split 60:40 and folds into the floor when not re­quired.

The cur­rent 2.2-litre four cylin­der diesel car­ries over but the petrol V6 has been down­sized from 3.5 to 3.3 litres.

Kia has trans­formed Car­ni­val into some­thing that’s go­ing to make peo­ple feel a whole lot bet­ter about driv­ing a peo­ple mover.

The Kia Car­ni­val 2015f.

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