Kia's New Grand Carnival
NEWS ON RADIO
26th December, 2005
The Kia Carnival changed the lower-end of the people mover segment of the Australian car market and, in doing so provided the impetus to blast Kia from obscurity, into the top ten car brands in Australia as well as providing the launch pad for cars and trucks as diverse as the Rio, Sportage, Sorento and Pregio.
With the launch of the Grand Carnival on 1st January 2006, Kia will start the new year with another assault on the people mover market with an all-new vehicle that is larger in every way, yet retains the value for money rationale that the company holds dear.
If three features could be singled out for being at the heart of the original Carnival success, they are value for money, a V6 engine and seven adult-sized seats.
Starting with the engine, a V6 engine was and remains central to acceptance of a people mover as a viable replacement for the large family wagon. The Grand Carnival not only maintains this central tenet of people mover requirements, it builds on it with more than a 30 per cent increase in engine size to 3.8 litres and a massive jump in power from 132 to 184 kW. More significantly, torque leaps from 220 to 343 Nm and, allied with a five speed automatic gearbox, performance and economy are both more than a equal for its sector rivals, with a 0-100 time of 10.5 seconds and a through the gears acceleration from 60 to 100 km/h of 5.5 seconds.
What is the point of a vehicle having a large number of seats if they are so small, or difficult to access they are useless? This is a question that Carnival owners have not had to answer. The Carnival offers seven adult sized seats.
How could the Grand Carnival be better?
By adding an extra seat. The Grand Carnival has room for eight adults, with the additional bonus that, even with all eight seats occupied, there is still nearly a cubic metre of boot space. The seats themselves have also been improved.
The rear-most row of seats don't just split fold, they fold right away into the floor of the Grand Carnival, which not only means space can be maximized without having to remove the seats, it also means that folded into the floor, the seats release 2.3 cubic metres of load space. The middle row of seats now double-fold up flat against the front row of seats, boosting that load space to 3.1 cubic metres. Remove that middle row and the interior space rises to more than 4.0 cubic metres.
Value for money is a complex issue, especially for people mover owners who want a complete vehicle at a price that enables them to spend money on what really counts, the people inside the vehicle. For this reason, the Carnival has built its reputation on more than just a price, though at $29,990 driveaway, it is a special price.
The Kia Carnival is a fully equipped vehicle, air conditioning, remote central locking, front electric windows, power steering, twin front air bags, roof rack, tinted glass and all the detail features, such as tray backs on seats and cup holders that make people mover life so much easier and enjoyable for all the occupants. Kia also worked to keep running costs down, by reducing parts prices and ensuring that the Kia Carnival is not just value to buy, it is also consistently benefits from the lowest operating costs in its class.
The Grand Carnival takes this to the next stage. Take electric windows, as well as front power windows, the middle row of windows in the Grand Carnival open electrically and the rear most side windows hinge open for quick venting of the interior. Or the air conditioning, which is now TriZone - each front seat occupant and the rear passengers can set their own desired temperature.
The gearbox is a Tiptronic style five speed unit with full fuzzy logic operation that matches driver demands and road conditions to produce an ideal shift patten programme that is constantly evolving to changing requirements. The standard cruise control makes long drives safe and comfortable. ABS brakes with EBD are standard as are a host of improvements that have been made to everything from power outlets to cup holders. Kia is also dedicated to ensuring that the ownership costs of the Grand Carnival are anything but grand.
So is the big leap in vehicle size, engine size, equipment and features matched by a price hike of similar dimensions?
"With a recommended retail price of just $36,990, the Grand Carnival offers the same - it could almost be said better - value for money than its smaller brother," says Dinesh Chinnappa, General Manager of Kia Automotive Australia. "This price also means that the Kia Grand Carnival maintains and develops the value for money edge over its rivals that the original Carnival launched with such devastating effect on the family transport market back in 1999."
If the new Grand Carnival offers a keen price and major advances in the key areas, does this mean corners have been cut in other areas?
Again, the answer is no.
The Grand Carnival is a true all-new vehicle, from the tip of its stylish new nose to the tail of its ergonomically designed rear hatch and integrated step.
The styling is all new and a larger glass area give the Grand Carnival a sleek new look from the side. At the front, new twin headlights flank the new Kia corporate grille.
Detail design also reaches a new level of refinement, with the external aerial replaced by a unit integrated and hidden in the glass, a new linear door handle design, aerodynamically shaped door mirrors that reduce noise and drag, a side protection moulding that is more than just utilitarian, a proper step built into the rear bumper and there's a raised lip at the top of the rear window that reduces rear lift at freeway speeds.
Although the Grand Carnival is larger in every direction than the existing Carnival, the turning circle is smaller, thanks to a new speed sensitive steering system and steering rack.
"The Kia Grand Carnival has a considerable task ahead of it," says Mr Chinnappa. "Its predecessor defined Kia, launched it onto the world stage and changed the face of its market sector not just in Australia, but around the world. It provided Kia with the platform to launch into a host of new market sectors clearly demonstrated that Kia is a company that can enter entirely new market sectors with success. The Grand Carnival takes everything that the original Carnival did so well and lifts it to the next level. But it does so without losing sight of the key fact about its market sector, buyers have better things to spend their money, namely the family travelling inside the Kia Grand Carnival, and that means Carnival, Grand or normal, still translates into outstanding value for money."