Review : 2022 Kia Carnival

Published: Feb 28, 2022 11:00 AM

Even though most automotive experts think that minivans are the thing of the past, there is still a relatively healthy demand for such vehicles in this SUV-dominated age. Maybe the minivans are not the most exciting car category out there, but they are still convenient, comfortable and even luxurious vehicles which can appeal to a wide range of customers and fulfil many roles. It is the key to their longevity on the market and steady sales number. One of the Australian market’s best and most characteristic minivans is the Kia Carnival. With almost 6,000 examples sold in 2021, this model shows that it has a decent following amongst the local buyers. So, what does Carnival offer to its customers? Let’s find out.

The Kia Carnival was first introduced in the late ’90s when the minivans were very popular. However, due to steady demand, it managed to stay on the market and in 2021, Kia presented the all-new model with new design and technical features, which really sets the standard in this segment.

The Technical Details

Even though the 2022 model is toughly improved, it didn’t grow in size, and the new generation has the same 5.15 meters in length as the outgoing model. However, due to intelligent interior design, it has more room inside and better ergonomics. With a width of almost 2 meters, this is a massive vehicle. However, it is to be expected from a minivan designed to accommodate eight people and their luggage. This being said, a tare weight of almost 2,100 kilograms is no surprise, either.

Under the bonnet, the buyers will find two power plants. One is a 3.5-litre petrol V6 with 216 kW and 355 Nm, and the other is a 2.2-litre diesel four-cylinder with 148 kW and 455 Nm of torque. The 8-speed automatic transmission is the only gearbox choice, and the front-wheel-drive is standard. Interestingly, both engines are available in all equipment grades. The 3.5-litre is the choice for those who want a smooth and powerful motor with enough grunt in any situation, but 2.2-litres is a common choice for those who want small fuel bills and don’t care about performance. That being said, average consumption for both engines is more than acceptable and for petrol unit is rated at 9.6 litres, and for diesel, it is impressive 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres.

The Kia Carnival Models

The two most essential ingredients of a modern minivan are space and features. We have already established that the new Kia Carnival is very spacious and comfortable, so it is interesting to see Kia’s features and specific grades. The lineup starts with Carnival S, which comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display, 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlamps, cloth seats and an extensive safety package. The Blind Spot Monitoring, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Advanced Smart Cruise Control are all standard. The next in line is Carnival Si which can be recognised by exterior details, 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation and front parking sensors. The most significant interior difference is the large 12.3-inch infotainment screen on the centre console.

The luxury offerings start with Carnival SLi, which is the third model on the list. It comes with a leather interior, power sliding doors and power tailgate, 360-degrees view and exterior details. However, the top-of-the-line version is mighty Carnival Platinum. This is truly what you would call a loaded minivan with dual power sunroofs, special paint, 19-inch wheels, dual LED headlights and Bose premium audio system. The heated and ventilated seats are also part of this package as lots of other details and features, like rear seats alert, wireless chargers, etc.

Of course, a vehicle of such size and features cannot be cheap, so the 2022 Kia Carnival starts at $47,480 and goes to $67,580. Even though this is certainly not a small amount of money, it is interesting that fully loaded Carnival Platinum is less expensive than some full-size SUVs, which offer less room and fewer features. So, the SUV might not be the family car you are looking for, and Carnival could be even more suited, especially if you don’t go off-road.

The Interior

We must admit that Kia knows how to make an exciting interior, and 2022 Carnival is no exception. Just like on new Sportage, Kia introduced a well-designed and ergonomically superb environment with modern details. The materials are up to the standards of the class, and the dashboard is not too futuristic and cluttered with controls. The second and third-row are comfortable enough, and passengers will not feel cramped. The important thing to mention is the luggage space, and with all three rows up, there are 627 litres which is an ample amount of room. However, when you fold down the third row, you will get up to 2,700 litres of space which is enormous for any vehicle. The entrance to rear rows is made easy by big sliding doors, which is the standard of this segment.

The Conclusion

With generous space, modern features, excellent exterior design and acceptable price, the Kia Carnival is rightfully at the top of its segment. The 2022 model shows that minivans still have a lot to offer to demanding customers. Their popularity (although in the shadows of the SUVs) will continue as long as there are customers who need wagons to cruise the highways and don’t care about off-road capabilities or image. However, just a few things keep it from being a great car. First of all, we would really like a more potent diesel engine to fill the gap between the 3.5 V6 and 2.2-litre diesel. The bigger diesel will combine the performance and the smoothness of the V6 and still have more than acceptable consumption. It would really help Carnival fight the SUV models and be even better in real-life conditions.

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Feb 28, 2022 11:00 AM

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