The introduction to Kia for many Australians may have occurred in a car with a Ford badge. The Festiva sold in the early 1990s was sourced from Kia, a Korean car maker that is part of the Hyundai Group. Read More
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Lots of space has always been at the heart of the Carnival. With eight seats and a cavernous cabin the Carnival will easily accommodate big and small.
And with the spare tyre hidden under the centre of the car (it can be fiddly to remove if you get a flat) it creates a very deep boot that also packs in plenty of luggage.
That's the beauty of a Carnival: it not only takes a lot of people but their luggage as well, something even the biggest of the SUVs can’t match.
The Carnival also makes it easy to flip and fold seats and access the third row. It’s a practical vehicle that nails its aim of carrying lots of people in comfort.
No shortage of power, either, although driving only the front wheels it can be prone to wheelspin if you’re over-eager with the accelerator pedal on a wet road.
The 3.3-litre V6 has lashings of power, although it needs a rev to make its best.
The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel trades power for torque, which is the pulling power that makes building speed more effortless. It’s the diesel that’s best suited to the relaxed character of the Carnival.
Speaking of relaxed, the suspension is more comfortable than athletic. A soft-ish suspension tune means it’s no corner carver if you’ve got eight people aboard. But for engaging the cruise control and covering big distances it does just fine.
The Carnival is available with four grades, starting with the entry-level S. It’s basic motoring with steel wheels, but comes with rear parking sensors and a reversing camera to make parking the big bus a bit easier.
The Si adds sat-nav, alloy wheels and other gear, while the SLi gets a powered tailgate, power sliding side doors, bigger wheels with better tyres and some leather finishes.
Top of the Carnival range is the Platinum, which gets more chrome, heated and ventilated front seats, 360-degree camera, even bigger wheels and various driver assistance features, including forward collision warning, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert.
All of which adds up to a people mover that excels at moving a lot of people.