New Kia Carnival Exclusive Review; India Launch Later This Year

Siddharth Vinayak PatankarMay 14, 2024

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Kia Carnival Review

The latest Kia Carnival will drive into India this year. What makes this 4th gen MPV fun, practical, luxurious, and appealing?

The Kia Carnival is a full-size MPV that sells in most markets that Kia does its business in. The Carnival meets family needs, and here in the United States, is a competitive offering in the quintessential soccer mom or minivan segment. Yup, that’s what they call ‘em here! In India we will call it a full-size MPV, won’t we? And well to be fair, it is huge. In the US, the Carnival’s primary rivals are cars like the Honda Odyssey and the Chrysler Pacifica. In India that Innova becomes the key target, though this is bigger. The Carnival nameplate is now being used by Kia worldwide for this model. It was called Sedona for the longest time in the US, but things have changed with this generation. And that’s just fine by me – such a fun name isn’t it? But is it a fun car too? Well, for starters it doesn’t look like an MPV, and has a more SUV-like stance, face, and overall design. SUVs are supposed to be more fun, aren’t they?

Kia Carnival Review

Kia Carnival Design

So, this styling is intentional. Kia’s design language is sexy anyway, and so the grille, head and tail lights, and the metal inserts along the side and C pillar are all very attractively done. Opposites United is that language and you see sharp lines and the use of some textured patterns in metal surfaces. Signature LED identity too. And as I said, this car is BIG. It is long and wide, and is really tall too. All this means substantial space for people and cargo. In fact, the overall length has grown by 40 mm over the 3rd generation Carnival. 30mm of that is in the wheelbase. The Astra Blue paint shade looks classy, and the 19-inch wheels are on the top end. The base gets 17 inchers. The boot is enormous – even with the three rows up – and most variants get a powered tailgate.

Dimensions

Kia Carnival

Toyota Innova Hycross

Length

5155 mm

4755 mm

Wheelbase

3090 mm

2850 mm

Width

1995 mm

1845 mm

Height

1775 mm

1795 mm

Kia Carnival Review

Kia Carnival Interior and Safety

The big focus on this car though, is its cabin, especially at the rear. The car comes with 3 rows, and you have the option of the 7 or 8-seater variants. The former means captain seats in the second row. These seats get their own sunroof, AC vents and climate control panel, charging outlets, and the top-end has business-class-like seats. That is something we saw on the limousine version of the previous Carnival as well. The captain seats can recline, have leg rests that deploy upwards, and the seats can slide front/back and sideways. The large powered rear doors slide open or close at a touch of a button. The third row is surprisingly comfortable too, and access to it is easy. They also have the screens to shade you from the harsh sun.

Kia Carnival Review

The rear has 2 optional 14-inch screens for entertainment. This allows you to access the car’s infotainment, and also watch videos that can be pre-loaded, streamed, or even shared off your devices. Yes, the kids will love this! Using voice commands to control the infotainment – even from row three – is a new optional feature. All this depends on the spec of course. The car has the latest Kia infotainment suite that we have seen before. Large 12.3-inch screens make up a dual-screen setup in the front. One for the virtual instrument cluster, and the other is the infotainment touchscreen. It is loaded with the same telematics, entertainment, and connectivity features we have seen before too. It doesn’t miss out on anything, including wireless chargers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, the 12-speaker Bose sound system is optional. Optional equipment includes steering and seat heating, seat ventilation, and a bunch of ADAS functionality. Safety equipment includes traction and stability control, 9 airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, and then some. All that sounds great, right? So, what’s the catch? We know nothing of the India spec as yet!

Kia Carnival Review

Kia Carnival Engine

I have the top-of-the-line Prestige SX variant. All variants in the US get the 3.5 litre V6 engine which makes a substantial 285 bhp. More impressive is the 355 Nm of peak torque. The 8-speed automatic gearbox is also standard here, and I suspect we’d get all this anyway.

Kia Carnival Specifications

Displacement

3470 cc

Max Power

285 bhp @ 6400 rpm

Peak Torque

355 Nm @ 5000 rpm

Transmission

8-speed Automatic

Some markets do get a smaller 2-litre turbo petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel option also. While I think it would be a killer move from Kia to bring us the diesel and plonk it against the hybrid Innova, maybe it's also time for Kia to consider a hybrid powertrain for the Carnival. A vehicle this huge could only benefit from it. Ideal in a global sense would be a plug-in hybrid, but that may not have as many takers since prices would shoot up. So a conventional hybrid would also do just fine. At present this model does not offer a hybrid. But it is something for Kia to think about. Especially as the model nears its midlife facelift soon.

Kia Carnival Review

Kia Carnival Performance

The thing with the Carnival that we liked with the previous generation, is carried over – if anything it's a little better on this generation. I am talking about the fab ride quality! It’s really comfortable and it's not just here in the driver's seat that I am saying that; I have tried sitting at the rear as well. It's really smooth, very comfortable, and almost gives you a lulled sense of comfort, because it doesn't have that bounciness that you find sometimes in large cars. The engine is quick, and despite the bulk and size, the car pulls along very well. The response is great, and the Carnival is nimble between lanes, and while overtaking.

Kia Carnival Review

Kia Carnival India Launch

The Carnival is a good-looking and substantial offering. The trick will be pricing, and I think it would be best for Kia to position it smack opposite the strong hybrid Toyota Innova Hycross. This is a bigger car but currently does not offer the hybrid advantage. On price that might allow Kia to stay around the 30-lakh price band and yet rival the Hycross dead on. Expect the car to launch in the second half of this year.

Kia Carnival Review

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