Kia Car­ni­val gets midlife makeover

North West Telegraph - - MOTORING - Derek Og­den

Liv­ing with the lat­est Kia Car­ni­val fi­nally put paid to the no­tion that peo­ple movers are vans with sparse seat­ing, pokey win­dows down both sides and ac­cess to a take-it-or-leave-it lug­gage area through an un­gainly back door.

The third-gen­er­a­tion Kia Car­ni­val has just had a mid-cy­cle makeover that cen­tres on com­fort and safety up­grades.

The model range — Car­ni­val S, Si, SLi and Plat­inum — stays the same. So do the petrol and tur­bod­iesel en­gines on of­fer.

How­ever, the lat­ter are mated with the lat­est eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. Prices start at $42,490, plus on-road costs for the Car­ni­val S petrol model and top out at $62,790 for the turbo-diesel Plat­inum. On test was the SLi at $52,490.

The Car­ni­val’s svelte (for a peo­ple mover) ap­pear­ance can be put down to a long wheel­base, at 3060mm, trimmed height of 1755mm with roof rails across the range, swept-back pro­file and long bon­net.

Styling cues are shared with the Sorento sports util­ity ve­hi­cle, in­clud­ing a re­vised tiger-nose grille, sleek head­lamp clus­ters and lower air in­take with in­te­grated fog lights re­in­forc­ing the wide stance of the ve­hi­cle.

The lat­est ver­sion of the Car­ni­val has a lower tail­gate and the three-quar­ter pan­els have been given a light touch to add a stronger look from be­hind.

The cabin has top-qual­ity ma­te­ri­als, pre­mium fea­tures and high­tech sys­tems put to­gether by the peo­ple at Kia’s Cal­i­for­nia styling stu­dio.

The two-tone in­te­rior fea­tures a high pro­por­tion of soft-touch ma­te­ri­als, and, in the Car­ni­val SLi, light and grey con­trast­ing leather trim. Front and mid­dle-row pas­sen­gers en­joy in­di­vid­ual seats and over­head con­soles as in air­lin­ers.

In­no­va­tive “stand-up” seats in the sec­ond row al­low base cush­ions to fold for­ward, while the rest of the seat slides for­ward and rests ver­ti­cally be­hind the front seat backs, al­low­ing pas­sen­gers of larger pro­por­tions to set­tle in the third row.

This back row is able to fold com­pletely flat. The cen­tre seat in the sec­ond row can be re­moved to­tally or folded flat to of­fer ad­di­tional cup-hold­ers for back row oc­cu­pants.

A stor­age area un­der the front arm­rest is big enough for a lap­top and there are two glove boxes.

There is a con­vex “con­ver­sa­tion mir­ror” in the over­head con­sole, al­low­ing the driver and front-seat pas­sen­ger to see what’s go­ing on be­hind them. It’s po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous if the driver uses it while the car is mov­ing, though.

Three-zone cli­mate con­trol air­con­di­tion­ing al­lows for sep­a­rate set­tings for front pas­sen­ger and driver, while the sec­ond and third rows are ser­viced by their own sys­tem, which can be con­trolled from the sec­ond row.

The Si and SLi grades carry a pre­mium 3.5-inch OLED in­stru­ment clus­ter giv­ing ma­jor trip com­puter info, as well as dig­i­tal speedo, ser­vice in­ter­vals and user-se­lectable op­tions such as head­lamp es­cort func­tion.

All but the en­try-level grade fea­ture an 8-inch touch screen with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, rear-view cam­era dis­play with Kia’s SUNA real-time traf­fic de­tails and 10 years of free MapCare.

The 3.3-litre gaso­line di­rect in­jected V6 en­gine of the SLi, mated with an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, is good for max­i­mum power of 206kW at 6000rpm and 336Nm of torque at a very high 5200rpm.

Au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and smart cruise con­trol help pre­vent or min­imise crash re­sults.

Oc­cu­pants have the as­sur­ance of six airbags (front to rear), three­p­oint safety belts on all seats, elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, ABS brak­ing, trac­tion con­trol, brake as­sist, cor­ner­ing brake con­trol and rollover mit­i­ga­tion, and rear park­ing sen­sors.

In­te­rior space is gen­er­ous and there was never a crowded feel­ing even when loaded up with fam­ily, friends and all their gear.

The power tail­gate was a boon when load­ing.

As with all Kia mod­els com­ing Down Un­der, the Car­ni­val ride and han­dling char­ac­ter­is­tics were fine­tuned by lo­cal en­gi­neers to en­sure the most suit­able for Aus­tralian con­di­tions. Im­proved noise, vi­bra­tion and harsh­ness came with the third-gen­er­a­tion’s in­tro­duc­tion and the high level of cabin quiet­ness has been main­tained with the mid-cy­cle makeover.

The Car­ni­val puts power to the front wheels through an eight­speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, and driv­ers can switch to se­quen­tial man­ual shift­ing.

Gen­er­ally, in full au­to­matic mode, down­shifts were hardly no­tice­able, even with the en­gine un­der load. The Car­ni­val likes a drink. Our SLi went through more than 12 litres per 100km of petrol on a mix of town and coun­try driv­ing over the test time.

The up­graded ver­sion of the third gen­er­a­tion Kia Car­ni­val has se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion from the Toy­ota Tarago and Honda Odyssey but cer­tainly holds its head high.

As with all Kia pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles, the seven-year un­lim­ited war­ranty is an added at­trac­tion.

There are added at­trac­tions to the midlife Kia Car­ni­val peo­ple mover.

The re­vised Car­ni­val has a lower tail­gate.

The two-tone in­te­rior has a high pro­por­tion of soft-touch ma­te­ri­als.

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