Kia Carnival Ltd 2010 Review

February 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Why would you name a motor vehicle the Carnival? Is it because when it parades down main street people stop and watch in awe? Not this Carnival. Or is it because it inspires young women to drink too much and then expose their breasts? Definitely not this Carnival.

It must be called a Carnival because like most Carnivals there are a lot of people in it. Eight people to be exact can fit in this Carnival at a squeeze. It took only one driver, however, to get the party started when Car and SUV road tested Kia’s 2010 Carnival Ltd.

A quick walk around the Carnival quickly reveals a utilitarian vehicle that’s built solely for its people moving purpose rather than any glitz or glamour. There are some clear aesthetic similarities with Chrysler’s Grand Voyager in its slab sides, van-like dimensions and generic front. Practicality is evident through the Carnival’s tinted security glass, large wing mirrors and handy integrated roof rails. Although sharp styling isn’t a major focus for vehicles in the MPV segment the Carnival could still benefit from a freshen-up. But new sheetmetal shouldn’t be too far away with Kia’s range-uniforming tiger-nose grille a likely addition.

For any people mover it’s the inside that counts most and the Carnival has plenty on offer for its numerous occupants with three rows of seats providing for various layouts. The back row can be folded flat into the floor and the middle row can be folded up or completely removed to create an enormous, even loading area. It’s an impressive seating layout and even with all three rows in use there is a small but usable luggage area at the very back. The front seats are wide and flat offering decent comfort and great visibility but little lateral support. Leather comes with the Ltd model as does power adjustment for the driver’s seat and tri-zone air conditioning to keep rear passengers cool. There is no DVD system for the family but an eight-speaker Infinity stereo handles entertainment duties well.

One feature that is surprisingly handy is powered sliding doors on both sides of the Carnival and a powered tailgate at the rear. Controlled by the key fob it’s easy to have the doors open by the time you reach the vehicle carrying your shopping and closed again when you start again. The slow sliding motion also cuts down the chance of little fingers getting jammed and subsequent stress. Other useful kit on the lengthy Carnival Ltd spec sheet includes; reversing camera and warning sensors, steering wheel mounted stereo and cruise controls, rain sensing wipers, a trip computer and 17-inch alloys.

Cabin fit and finish isn’t the Carnival’s strongest suit and there is a plasticky interior atmosphere. That said, many of the surfaces are covered in tough wipe-clean materials which are consistent with the Carnival’s practicality-first ethos and the vehicles budget pricing has to show somewhere. There’s also a range of small storage options, 12V plugs and cup holders throughout.

Working behind the scenes on the Carnival is Kia’s 2.9L CRDi Turbo diesel unit producing 134kW of power and a healthy 343Nm of torque. It’s not a performance motor but does allow for reasonable progress. A 9.0l/100km fuel economy is achievable on the combined cycle. One issue with the engine is its power delivery that can be erratic, starting off sluggish and then coming on in a sudden burst as the turbo spools up. It also never feels comfortable when used hard and becomes quite loud and unrefined. It will get around town without issue but on the open road fully laden, plenty of room will be required for safe overtaking.

The diesel engine is mated to a 5 speed automatic transmission, which is a competent unit and goes about its work with minimal fuss. Manual gear changes are available through a sequential shift capability on the gear stick. This is a handy option for holding the motor in gear to draw out all available power.

Dynamically the Kia is best suited to a leisurely pace. Soft suspension gives it a generally comfortable ride but rough uneven roads can unsettle it. The Carnival holds the road well with enough grip to stay safe but there is a liberal dose of body roll. There’s a high feel to its movement and must be handled accordingly. It’s firmly at the van end of the people-mover-scale while a competitor like the Honda Odyssey has much more of a station wagon dynamic but lacks the Carnival’s space.

Being a family vehicle safety is always going to attract scrutiny and the Carnival has the features buyers are seeking. An electronic stability programme, ABS, brakes, six-airbags, kiddie door locks, ISOFIX points, and seatbelt pretensioners are all standard fare.

The strongest virtue of the Carnival like most Kia models is in its price and at $53,990 you get a lot of equipment, comfort and class-leading space for the money. The entry-level EX Carnival has most of the Ltd’s more useful features and priced at $46,990 is also worth a look. Both vehicles come with Kia’s excellent 5-year/100,000km warranty and 1500km first service.

The Carnival is caught a bit short in power and handling ability but that won’t concern many buyers in the mini-van segment. What I respect about the Carnival is that it makes no attempt to masquerade as something it’s not. It’s a vehicle intensely focused on practicality down to the smallest detail with limited thought for aesthetics and gimmickry. What it gives buyers is comfortable, safe and spacious travel for the driver and 7 others. If you need the extra seats, don’t care about going fast and you want peace of mind motoring for the next 100,000km then take a long look at the Kia Carnival.

Price: 53,990 (EX diesel $46,990)

What we like:

  • General practicality
  • Very spacious
  • Price and warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Bland design
  • Weak driving dynamics
  • Erratic power delivery

Words and Photos: Adam Mamo

Other reviews of interest:

Honda Odyssey (2009) — Road Test

Dodge Journey R/T (2009) — Road Test

Chrysler Grand Voyager (2008) — Road Test

Honda Odyssey (2006) — Road Test

Kia Carnival Ltd (2010) – Specifications

ENGINE
Engine type 2.9L DOHC CRDi Turbo Diesel
Displacement (cc) 2902 cc
Compression ratio 17 : 3
Max. power 134 kW @ 3800 rpm
Max. torque 343 Nm @ 1750 – 3500 rpm
Fuel economy (combined cycle) 9.0L / 100 km
CO2 emissions (g/km) 224

TRANSMISSION
Gear box 5 speed automatic with sport shift

SUSPENSION
Front suspension McPherson strut
Rear suspension Multi link

WHEELS
Tyres 225/70 R16 235/60 R17

DIMENSIONS
Overall length 5130 mm
Overall width 1985 mm
Overall height 1830 mm
Wheelbase 3020 mm
Min. ground clearance 167 mm
Kerb weight min./max 2009 / 2141 kg
Interior volume (1st/2nd/3rd) 1770 / 1530 / 1390 litres
Fuel tank capacity 80 litres
Towing capacity – unbraked (kg) 750
Towing capacity – braked (kg) 2000

Kia bucks trend and records sales increase

June 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s new-look model range is catching on with buyers around the world, with sales increasing in a number of markets.

Against the general trend, Kia Motors has recorded an 11.5% increase in international sales in May and for the year to date its sales are now up by 0.5%. Almost every other car maker is continuing to lose sales as economic woes persist.

The success comes on the back of the introduction of new designs, led by the Kia Soul cross-over and Kia Cerato sedan. The new Cerato is only just going on sale now in the world’s largest market, the US.

By region, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increase of 51.3% in China, 44% increase in Korea and a 13% increase in general markets during May. Year-to-date Kia is already ahead of 2008 with 590,934 sales international, led by general markets (up 17%) and the Korean home market (up 14.2%).

Sales of the new Cerato have only just started in most countries, but it is already Kia’s best-selling model for 2009 with 95,883 units, followed by the B-segment Rio. And while 4×4 sales have dropped significantly for other manufacturers, Kia’s recreational vehicles, which include the Sportage and Sorento, achieved an increase of 24.6% during May.

Here in NZ, the new Soul and Cerato are also just starting to make their presence felt, helping Kia to achieve a market share in excess of 4% in May, it’s best result ever. The Kia Carnival also continues to be the best-selling MPV in New Zealand.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the new designs created by chief designer Peter Screyer are definitely paying off, with more buyers now expressing interest in purchasing a Kia.

“We are seeing more people coming into Kia showrooms to see our new models and it is only going to get better from here as Kia continues to introduce a wave of new cars in the coming months,” he says.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of Kia has seen a number of Saab dealers in Sweden approach the Korean company to add the brand to their showrooms. Three Swedish Saab dealers have already signed up and a number of others are expected to follow.

And in the UK, Kia dealers have been surprised by the type of cars that British motorists are wishing to trade on brand new Kias under the Government’s Cash For Clunkers scheme. They report that some Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar owners have been scrapping their older motors in favour of the Kia Picanto mini car, with their old cars being crushed.

Collectively, British Kia dealers have traded two Porsches, five Jaguars, 53 Mercedes and 30 BMWs since the Government began its scrappage scheme in May. Under the scheme owners get £2,000 (NZ$5200) for their old cars, with 75% of motorists opting for the Picanto, which cost them just £4,195 (NZ$10,900) including the grant.

One Kia dealer refused to accept a classic Singer under the scheme because he didn’t want to see it destroyed, but he helped the lady owner sell it so she could buy a new Picanto.

We recently road tested the new Kia Soul. Click here to check out the review.

Kia bucks trend and records sales increase

June 24th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Kia’s new-look model range is catching on with buyers around the world, with sales increasing in a number of markets.

Against the general trend, Kia Motors has recorded an 11.5% increase in international sales in May and for the year to date its sales are now up by 0.5%. Almost every other car maker is continuing to lose sales as economic woes persist.

The success comes on the back of the introduction of new designs, led by the Kia Soul cross-over and Kia Cerato sedan. The new Cerato is only just going on sale now in the world’s largest market, the US.

By region, Kia posted a year-on-year sales increase of 51.3% in China, 44% increase in Korea and a 13% increase in general markets during May. Year-to-date Kia is already ahead of 2008 with 590,934 sales international, led by general markets (up 17%) and the Korean home market (up 14.2%).

Sales of the new Cerato have only just started in most countries, but it is already Kia’s best-selling model for 2009 with 95,883 units, followed by the B-segment Rio. And while 4×4 sales have dropped significantly for other manufacturers, Kia’s recreational vehicles, which include the Sportage and Sorento, achieved an increase of 24.6% during May.

Here in NZ, the new Soul and Cerato are also just starting to make their presence felt, helping Kia to achieve a market share in excess of 4% in May, it’s best result ever. The Kia Carnival also continues to be the best-selling MPV in New Zealand.

Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the new designs created by chief designer Peter Screyer are definitely paying off, with more buyers now expressing interest in purchasing a Kia.

“We are seeing more people coming into Kia showrooms to see our new models and it is only going to get better from here as Kia continues to introduce a wave of new cars in the coming months,” he says.

Meanwhile, the growing strength of Kia has seen a number of Saab dealers in Sweden approach the Korean company to add the brand to their showrooms. Three Swedish Saab dealers have already signed up and a number of others are expected to follow.

And in the UK, Kia dealers have been surprised by the type of cars that British motorists are wishing to trade on brand new Kias under the Government’s Cash For Clunkers scheme. They report that some Mercedes, Porsche and Jaguar owners have been scrapping their older motors in favour of the Kia Picanto mini car, with their old cars being crushed.

Collectively, British Kia dealers have traded two Porsches, five Jaguars, 53 Mercedes and 30 BMWs since the Government began its scrappage scheme in May. Under the scheme owners get £2,000 (NZ$5200) for their old cars, with 75% of motorists opting for the Picanto, which cost them just £4,195 (NZ$10,900) including the grant.

One Kia dealer refused to accept a classic Singer under the scheme because he didn’t want to see it destroyed, but he helped the lady owner sell it so she could buy a new Picanto.

We recently road tested the new Kia Soul. Click here to check out the review.

Kia Carnival Ltd 2008 Review

May 15th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

Kia Carnival Ltd fq

Being the leader of a samba band (AKSamba), driving a car called a Carnival is very coincidental. In fact, the Carnival is so large I could take along seven more of the 50 band members to a gig, and fit some instruments in the back. Or some dancing girls in feathers and bikinis

When you’re loaded down with drums and dancing girls the electrically opening side doors and tailgate are a real help. I thought these would be a useless gimmick, but I used them a lot and not just times that included impressing friends. While walking back to the car I used the remote to open whichever door I needed and it’s ready for me to put things in by the time I arrived to the car. Then I pressed another button and the door closed while I got in the car, put the seat belt on and started it up. I never thought I’d relish laziness so much.

I also never thought I’d say this about a Kia, but the 3.8-litre V6 engine sounds fantastic and has 182kW and 343Nm – plenty of power to pull even the most amply built musicians. This is transferred to the front wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox with sequential sports shift. Kia quotes 12.8l/100km fuel economy for the combined cycle and 302g CO2/km.

The driving position is commanding. An eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat offers a comfy position, but not much lateral support. All eight seats get leather and are bathed in sound from an eight-speaker Infinity sound system connected to the six-stacker CD/MP3/radio unit. This, along with cruise control, can be controlled from the steering wheel.

Above the rear view mirror is a trip computer which features a compass, average fuel economy, and kilometres before you need to fill it up again. Above that is a fold down mirror that allows you to keep an eye on everyone in the back, and the buttons for the electric doors, tailgate and sunroof. Even the rear quarter-lights are electric, controlled via switches on the armrest.

The Carnival’s exterior styling is a tad bland compared to some other MPVs (e.g. Citroen’s Picasso - read the review here), but the engine’s responsiveness and power more than makes up for that. Its shape reminds me of the first Renault Espace that defined the MPV segment back in 1984.

It served us very well in our three-day test, picking up new team member Ben from the airport in rush hour, delivering a Classic Car subscription prize (a huge roll of garage flooring) to Whangaparaoa, and driving around town gathering trophies, lecterns and other bits and bobs for this weekend’s NZ Drift Series at Manfeild.

The Carnival fits a mammoth 912 litres of storage, and that’s because it’s a large car. At 5.13m long and almost 2m wide check your garage first! The seating configuration is versatile with the third row being able to be folded into a rear cavity to create a flat floor, and the second row can be removed completely forming a space of almost van-like proportions.

Stopping all two tonnes of the Carnival is accomplished with hydraulic vacuum power-assisted ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and electronic stability control (ESP). Ventilated disks at the front and solid discs at the back do their best and the Carnival Ltd’s 235/60R17 tyres (on 17-inch mags) seem to haul the Kia up fairly smartly. These tyres can’t cope with quick changes of direction, though, the main gripe of the Carnival being early understeer (mental note: drive slower around corners).

Lots of thought has gone into making the Carnival very family-friendly. The electronic doors are a real asset to those enduring a large tribe of kids, and short people who may struggle to reach the Carnival’s tall tailgate. The tri-zone climate control is helpful for carsick children who tend to want a very specific temperature in the back. The vents come from the roof and under the seat and can be varied altered using the roof mounted control behind the passenger seat. Pop-up trays in the rear and independent reclining/sliding second-row seats add to the versatility. There’s even a fold-up expandable table in between the driver and passenger with a further four cup holders. That makes 15 cup/bottle holders in total (I think — I counted three times). And that’s not all the internal storage as there are large bins and a glovebox in the front.

If I had five kids and a dog (no, that’s not my name for a ‘significant other’), I would definitely be looking at the Carnival as a comfortable and convenient way of transporting them to and from the various activities that kids do these days. Including band practice in their feathers and bikinis.

Click through to the next page for full specifications on the Kia Carnival.

Price: from $49,950 (EX is $43,550)

What we like

  • Access via sliding electric doors
  • V6 power
  • Comfort
  • Features
  • Space
  • Warranty — 5 years, 100,000km

What we don’t like

  • Understeer
  • Looks bland compared to, e.g. Citroen Picasso
  • No external audio connection (e.g. iPod)

Engine 3.8-litre V6

Displacement (cc) 3778

Maximum power 182 kW / 6000 rpm

Maximum torque 343 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission 5-speed automatic with sequential sports shift

SUSPENSION

Front MacPherson strut with coil springs and anti-roll bar

Rear Multi link with coil spring

STEERING

Power rack & pinion

BRAKES

Front Ventilated disc

Rear Solid disc

Braking system Hydraulic vacuum power-assisted ABS brakes with EBD and ESP

SAFETY

Electronic stability program

Keyless entry with burglar alarm

Dual front and side curtain airbags

Driver and passenger seatbelt pretensioner and load limiter

Front seat belt height adjuster

Back-up warning system

Electronic folding heated outside mirrors

ISO fix child seat anchors

Energy absorbing steering column

Electronic door over-ride systems (3)

INTERIOR

8 passenger seating

Removable second row seats, and sinking type third row seats

Front and rear height adjustable with front tilt adjustable head rests

Leather seats, steering wheel and gear shift trim

Metal insert film on centre fascia, door switch panel, and sliding door waistline

Power driver’s seat (8 way)

Overhead console including map lamps and conversation mirror

Electronic sunroof

EXTERIOR

Alloy wheels (space saver spare) 235/60 R17

Roof rack (without crossbar)

High mounted stop lamp

Front fog lamps

Rear wiper and washer with intermittent function

Front variable intermittent front wipers with time adjuster and rain sensor

Glass type antenna

COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE

Dual power sliding side doors

Power tailgate

Radio + cassette + 6 stacker CD + MP3 + 8 Infinity speakers

Audio remote control on steering wheel

Engine immobiliser

Power steering

Electric chromatic rear view mirror

Trip computer with compass

Cruise control

Tilt adjustable steering column

Front and sliding door power windows with driver’s side auto up down

Power quarter glass

Tri-zone air conditioning

Electric rear window defroster with timer

Front passenger folding table

Front and rear seat back tables

Front row height adjustable arm rest

Front and rear power outlets

Front and rear room lamps, cargo room lamps and courtesy step lamps

Driver & passenger sun visors with illuminated vanity mirror

High visibility instrument cluster

DIMENSIONS

Overall length (mm) 5,130

Overall width (mm) 1,985

Overall height (mm) 1,830

Wheelbase (mm) 3,020

Minimum ground clearance (mm) 167

Kerb weight min. / max. (kg) 2,009 / 2,141

Minimum turning radius (m) 12.1

Fuel tank capacity (litres) 80

Cargo area (litres) 912

Gross vehicle weight 2,780

Words and photos Darren Cottingham