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Road Test

Kia Carnival

by Ken Walker

25th August, 2008

Kia Carnival 
Image copyright: Next Car Pty Ltd 
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Kia Motors from South Korea is making huge inroads with the Australian motoring markets with its Carnival range of people movers. The pricing structure, the equipment/trim levels are making the Kia Carnival one of, if not the most popular, of the range today. In 2007 Kia Motors won an award from U.S. based research company, Strategic Vision, for the most improved brand in the SUV and people mover segments. Little wonder we have problems in finding fault with the standard of finish with Kia vehicles.

This time the team from Next Car try the Kia Carnival EX Wagon. The EX, being the trim/equipment level designation of the lower specification model available in the range. However, this does not mean that this is a poor person option as the standard of features is quite high.

The package was fitted with a 2.7 litre V6 petrol power plant matched to a 4 speed automatic transmission with the now usual Tiptronic style for those drivers who wish to shift manually. Power output from the DOHC V6 is 139 kW at 6,000 rpm and maximum torque of 249 Nm is delivered at 4,000 rpm. Not a lot of power for a vehicle weighing in at 2,048 kg (for the automatic version). However, the vehicle did not struggle at any time when loaded with 3 adults and 2 teenagers. Entry/egress from the 2nd and 3rd row of seats was easy and uncomplicated. This is an 8 seater and there is still room for a reasonable amount of luggage behind the 3rd row of seats. Air conditioning is standard and it has outlets for all 3 rows of seats and this functions very well. There are 11 cup holders and 4 bottle holders for occupants.†How good is that?

We found that this package has excellent driving and handling characteristics for a vehicle of this type. In fact, there was some quite pleasurable times spent behind the wheel. Externally this unit has body coloured bumpers, door mirrors and outer door handles, electrically heated exterior power mirrors, front fog lights, roof rails (no crossbars), 2 speed windscreen wipers with a variable intermittent control and a variable speed wiper/washer for the rear cargo door. Internally, I found a very useful accessory in the 'conversation mirror' with map lights. What is a conversation mirror? It is another mirror mounted above the usual interior rear view mirror with a convex lens to allow the driver to see all seating positions. Very handy when a car load of children tire of asking "are we there yet?" and then start fighting amongst themselves. The driver does not need to take his/her eyes off the road to restore order with a few short sharp commands (threats if necessary). The map lights are fitted to the under side of the conversation mirror to illuminate the front seats and operate independently of each other. Also handy is the lockable glove box with a slow opening lid (so you donít break the passengers knee cap) and there are map pockets on the rear of both front seats, sunglasses holder upfront, 2 coat hooks and a 12v power outlet. The audio system, which includes a single disc CD player with AM/FM radio, has the antenna built in the windscreen glass. There are satellite controls on the steering wheel for the audio. All outboard seating positions are fitted with retractable lap/sash belts. The centre position for the second & third rows have a lap belt.

Kia Carnival 
Image copyright: Next Car Pty Ltd 
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Kia Motors offer one of the best new vehicle warranties in Australia for the private motorist with unlimited kilometres over a 5 year period. Commercial operators, fleet, rental and government buyers still get 5 years, however the kilometres are restricted to 130,000 kms coverage. Kia is saying here that their vehicles are top notch and are backing them extensively. This upgraded warranty has been in operation since 1st February, 2008.

Available in 7 colours and with a recommended retail price (RRP) of $35,490 (auto) plus the usual dealer and state/territory government charges. At additional cost, astute buyers can opt for the option pack which includes TCS, ESP, side air bags on the front seats and full length curtain airbags which moves the RRP up to $37,290 (auto) plus the added charges. We feel that the option pack represents a good buy.

Buyers in this market segment should have a long look at the Kia Carnival, because, I believe this package is good buying. It is a handy size, featuring very good packaging, good equipment levels and it is has a good finish.

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Other Kia content: here.

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