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Old 5th May 2020, 09:08   #1
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Default Kia Carnival : Official Review

The Kia Carnival is on sale in India at a price of between Rs. 24.95 - 33.95 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• A truly luxurious MPV that’s also high on practicality
• Top quality, spacious & comfortable interiors. 3rd-row is usable for adults too
• Fantastic engine & gearbox combination! 2.2L diesel & 8-speed AT impress
• Comfy ride quality & neutral road manners
• Available in 7, 8 and 9-seater configurations
• 540L boot space with all three rows up and 1,624L with the third row down
• Impressive kit (2 sunroofs, premium Harman Kardon sound system, electric rear doors & more)
• 5-star safety rating. Kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, HSA, CBC etc.

What you won't:

• Massive size can make it cumbersome in the city, while parking & in narrow lanes
• Ordinary urban fuel economy due to the 2.2 ton weight, 197 BHP engine & AT gearbox
• Underbody does scrape on bad roads & large speed bumps, especially with a full load
• Top Limousine variant isn't sold as an 8-seater & its 3rd row access is difficult
• Steering is a level too firm at parking speeds & a level too light at 120 km/h
• Some misses such as paddle shifters, a skinny spare tyre, no auto-wipers or front camera...
• Model is now 5 years old in the international market; next-gen Carnival is being tested
• Stylish 4x4 SUVs like the Fortuner / Endeavour / Kodiaq can be had at the same price

This review has been jointly compiled with Gannu_1, Akshay1234 & GTO. Thanks to them for the expert observations!

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:20.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:08   #2
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Interior - Front

Interior - 2nd Row

Interior - 3rd Row

In-Car Entertainment

Driving the 2.2L Diesel AT

Ride & Handling

Other Points

Smaller yet Significant Things

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:43.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:08   #3
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With the success of the Seltos, Kia has created a premium brand image in the country. This isn't the case elsewhere in the world where it is known as a bargain-basement brand. It is really interesting how brands like Kia, Skoda and SAIC-MG - which are considered budget brands worldwide - are getting a fresh start in India as "premium" nameplates. Helping Kia strengthen this position is the Carnival Luxury MPV, its flagship product. On the day that bookings opened, the car received 1,410 bookings. In February 2020, with just two cars on sale, Kia became the third biggest carmaker in India.

Kia sure did its research before entering India. Notice how they're avoiding crowded segments (e.g. budget hatchback or C2 sedan) & picking those where it can bring a USP. For long, there was no luxurious people-mover above the Innova and many rich folk were forced to buy the Toyota, even if they were ready to pay more for a premium MPV. There are many industrialist Innova users whose other car is a Mercedes S-Class. Even Toyota understood this and brought out the 2.8L Innova Automatic at a premium price. To fill this empty space in the Indian market, the Carnival was brought here, while other manufacturers are caught napping. For example, Honda and Toyota have the Odyssey and Sienna MPVs in the same segment in international markets. The Carnival targets those rich folk who have money for something more than the Innova for a proper + luxury + practical MPV. Of course, there's also the Mercedes V-Class and the Toyota Vellfire, but they are overpriced CBUs. The Carnival has already sold 3,200 units - the CBUs won't even do that in 2 years.

Kia Carnival : Official Review-carnival-comparo.png

Unlike RWD body-on-frame UVs like the Innova Crysta, the Carnival is a FWD monocoque. Vehicles with a monocoque construction are more car-like to drive and have better ride quality. However, they aren't as tough as traditional ladder frame UVs, especially in load carrying applications. Body-on-frames are also easier to repair after accidents. While commercial users will undoubtedly stick to conventional UVs like the Innova, it's the personal user that the Carnival has square in its sight. Cross-shopping across segments is commonplace in India, and the target customers include those who are considering an Endeavour or Fortuner.

The Carnival on sale in India is the third-generation of the car and was unveiled at the 2014 New York International Motor Show. It is due to be replaced by a new version, which has already been spotted testing. You can bet that the next-gen Carnival isn't that far away & Kia will bring it here shortly after its global debut. We must say, for a 5-6 year old model, this 3rd-gen still looks pretty good.

Coming to safety, the Carnival is equipped with 6 airbags, ESP + ABS + EBD, front and rear parking sensors, disc brakes all-around, ISOFIX child seat anchors, Hill Assist Control, Roll Over Mitigation and more. The MPV was tested by ANCAP in 2016 and it received a 5-star safety rating. In the USA as well, the Sedona (aka Carnival) has gotten a 5-star safety rating from the IIHS.

Kia is offering a standard warranty of 3 years / unlimited km, which can be extended to 5 years / unlimited km. We strongly recommend choosing the extension, especially for such an expensive car. The company is also offering 3 years Road Side Assistance, a scratch-care program for one-time free repair of your first scratch (more info) and 3 years UVO telematics subscription.

Premium-looking smart and simple face is dominated by the tiger-nose grille. Chrome is present on the front grille inserts and around the foglamp pods, while the grille surround is silver. There's also a silver skid plate. Poor skid plate is probably the most misused SUV-touch, what with everything from hatchbacks to vans using it now!

Simpler vertical rear end gets a long chrome strip on the tailgate. The tailgate also gets 'Limousine' variant badging. The bumper has a silver skid plate. Notice the big badge with "KIA" prominently stamped (many brands showcase just their logo, not the name):

Fat MPV weighs a massive 2,201 kilos! Carnival measures 5,115 mm in length and has a wheelbase of 3,060 mm. In comparison, the Innova measures 4,735 mm in length and has a wheelbase of 2,750 mm, making it more city-friendly. The Carnival is longer than even the Ford Endeavour & its sheer size can get cumbersome if you don't like big cars (GTO enjoyed it, his brother didn't). Be sure to check if it fits in your parking spot. The big rear overhang can scrape - GTO hit it on an unusual road dip. BHPian XUVian also reports that he has to slow down on terrible roads with 7 onboard. The B, C, and D-pillars are finished in piano black to give the MPV a floating roof-look:

The big size and large footprint gives it a load of presence. Pedestrians / other vehicles give it respect. What further lends it presence is that it looks like a "rich" luxury MPV. It is a van, but a good looking van that turns heads. The design is proportionate too, not overdone and we like it this way. The co-efficient of drag is 0.342:

The car measures 1,985 mm wide and 1,755 mm tall. This makes it wider but shorter than the Innova. Quality is topnotch, wherever you look:

Headlight cluster gets LED headlamps, bright DRLs and a silver trim on top:

With all the lights in action:

The front grille gets a silver outline. What is really classy are these chrome highlights on the grille. They look lovely and add that premium'ness to the car:

Bumper houses front parking sensors, foglamps and a silver skid plate. Along with the parking sensors, a front camera should have been added to a vehicle of this size + price (far cheaper Seltos gets it!!!):

Four ice cube-shaped LED foglamps in a black housing. C-shaped chrome surround is prominent:

Some underbody protection is provided. Considering the huge wheelbase, soft suspension and 180 mm unladen ground clearance, I am pretty sure its going to scrape over the Bangalore-size speed breakers (definitely with a full load of passengers):

Bonnet features a wide and largely flat central dome. There are two creases on either side:

'Auto' badging on the driver-side fender only:

Dual-tone ORVMs come with integrated turn indicators. As you approach the locked car with the key in your pocket, they auto-unfold:

Both front doors get chrome door handles with a request sensor. Even if the door is locked, you just need to pull on the door handle and the door unlocks:

The door handles are illuminated. Adds to that premium factor:

Massive rear doors get request buttons which open / close the powered door. While sliding doors usually feel utilitarian (e.g. Omni), giving them electric power suddenly makes it premium!

A cut behind the rear doors to accommodate the door-opening mechanism:

The Carnival rides on 18-inch wheels shod with 235/60 MRF Wanderer rubber. Despite 18” rims, the tyre sidewall is a hefty 141 mm tall, so ride quality or safety aren't compromised. The Limousine variant comes with these chrome rims called 'Sputtering Alloy Wheels'. Personally, I didn't like it & neither did GTO. The chrome is excessive - looks very garish and after-market. Kia has usually done things so far in a classy manner but this, I don’t agree with at all. The lower variants come with 'Crystal Cut Alloy Wheels' which look much better. Check it out in this image shared by BHPian swiftnfurious. While on the topic, we would have preferred more premium rubber too (e.g. Michelin or Yokohama):

The rear wheels also come with well-sized disc brakes:

Guess where the spare wheel is? Under the second-row seat behind the driver. This seems to be the placement for LHD cars and we would have liked Kia to have placed it on the other side. Placing it on the right means the driver has to stand on the side with traffic to remove it. Also, the spare is atrociously thin! It is an 18-inch wheel shod with 135/80 Hankook rubber and thus, has an 80 km/h speed limit:

A rare car in India which has two sunroofs. The rear sunroof is bigger than the one at the front:

Roof is ribbed for better structural rigidity. Notice the sharkfin antenna at the rear:

Flush-fitting roof rails finished in silver:

Tailgate gets a neatly integrated spoiler which houses the HMSL:

Simple and near-rectangle-shaped wraparound tail lights. LED tail lights are available only on the Prestige & Limousine variants:

With all the lights in action:

Tailgate comes with an auto-sensing option. Walk up to the rear of the car with the key in your pocket, and the tailgate will automatically open, even if the car is locked:

A black brushed plate is present to prevent any paint damage while loading / unloading luggage:

The rear bumper houses 4 parking sensors, a pair of reflectors and the silver skid plate:

Last edited by Aditya : 6th May 2020 at 12:16. Reason: Discovery & X7 also have 2 sunroofs
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:09   #4
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Interior - Front

The front doors of the Carnival open and shut in a triple-stage action. The build quality is "proper premium car" good, and the doors also have some heft to them. They shut with a nice sound. Occupants will not have any problem while getting in or out - you just have to walk into the car and sit. Cabin space is enormous. There is enough headroom at the front and a LOT of width between you and the front passenger. The driver does have to stretch to access the touchscreen, but crucial controls are provided on the steering wheel itself. And remember, this car is also sold in the USA, so even in terms of seat adjustment, it goes all the way back. 6+ footers should be comfortable and totally at home.

The windshield is large and the base of the windows is low. Unlike newer cars, the dashboard is not set too high, which means that the frontal visibility is good, even for those of average height (the low dash + windowline show the car's age). Shorter drivers will be alright too as the driver's seat climbs up enough. The large glass area means that you have fantastic all-round visibility. The rear windows are huge (like the size of a house window) and with the dual sunroofs, there's ample light entering the cabin.

The interior design is straight-forward, user-friendly and ergonomic, with some sweet silver highlights thrown in. Its not futuristic though. The dashboard has black on top and beige below, with chrome, piano black and wooden inserts. The quality is absolutely premium! Owners will be very happy and there will be no complaints at all.

Interior quality is luxury car good. It has soft touch surfaces almost everywhere. The entire black portion on the dashboard has soft touch material. The buttons feel premium and some parts (like the window controls) feel like they could have been out of a Mercedes or BMW. All controls feel superb to use and all surfaces are premium.

Kia has loaded the interior with features such as UV-cut front door glasses and windshield, an 8.0-inch touchscreen head-unit with telematics (UVO), 3-zone climate control, 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, electric sunroof, Smart Pure air purifier with perfume diffuser, wireless charging for your cellphone, 10-way powered driver's seat, driver's seat ventilation and lots more. However, some features such as a powered front passenger seat, passenger seat ventilation, and illumination / cooling for the glovebox are conspicuous by their absence.

Steering looks good and is well-sized, like that of a sedan. It gets piano black inserts, but GTO felt that it should have gotten a wooden insert on the top and / or bottom, to make it a little more premium. The Fortuner's and the Innova's steering wheels get some wooden love:

The steering can be adjusted for height & reach, both:

Engine start button is backlit in red. It gets a chrome ring around it:

Twin-pod instrument cluster with chrome outlines looks fab. Fonts are really easy to read, even on the go:

The 3.5-inch MID is almost the same as what is seen on the 1st-generation Creta, with only a few minor changes. It shows average and instant fuel consumption, distance-to-empty counter, digital speedometer & outside temperature reading. The trip meter shows the distance travelled, average consumption and time taken on the current drive. Don't miss the urea level graph. At this price point, a full colour MID is sorely missed:

Also shows a compass, the tyre pressure, and can be used to change a few user settings:

The MID shows warnings for the bonnet and tailgate too:
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Stalks exude quality. Wiper and light stalks are from the Hyundai-Kia family. While automatic headlamps have been provided, there are no automatic wipers, which the Seltos gets!!!

Side air vents get a silver surround and chrome inserts. It also gets air volume control:

Controls for the dash illumination, headlamp level adjustments, (rear) 220V power outlet & fuel lid release are below. Don't ever disable the traction control, unless starting off on slippery surfaces like slush & snow:

The fuse box is placed on the right side of the dashboard. Has the master on / off switch we've seen in Hyundais:

Thin, yet sturdy bonnet release lever is located below the dash:

The front quarter glass. Too small to enhance visibility though:

Just like the dashboard, the doorpads get a beige & black colour theme. Wooden insert adds some richness & yes, there is soft touch material on the doorpad too. Lot of storage space available, including big door pockets and another small storage spot above it (to the right of the speaker in this image):

Window controls feel like they have been taken from a Mercedes or BMW! They have a damped operation. The Limousine variant gets all four power windows with Auto Up / Down and anti-pinch safety:

The main door pocket can be used to store a water bottle and the knick-knacks. You could dump the odd item in the smaller pocket above too:

Extremely classy silver door sills. This car exudes quality wherever you look:

Dual-tone black and beige Nappa leather seats are available only on the Limousine variant. The perforated seats get orange contrast stitching and look + feel nice. The driver's seat offers excellent support (especially so with the adjustable lumbar support). Long distance tourers will appreciate it. Only the driver's seat gets cooling though (your spouse will be miffed):

10-way powered driver's seat - one thing I like is that the adjustments are on the quicker side. When you want to adjust the backrest or the fore and aft slide, it starts moving quickly. This is unlike the usual case where the electric adjustment is so slow that you end up annoyed:

Basic manual adjustments for your spouse / date. Should have been electric too, for a car in this price range:

Center armrest has a soft leather cladding. While it is not adjustable, the armrest is conveniently placed & most drivers will find it comfortable to use. Still, that's no excuse - in a car as well-equipped, this important driver tool should have been adjustable:

Seatbelts are height-adjustable. Both front seatbelts get pre-tensioners:

Footwell has lots of space. Dead pedal is perfectly angled and one of the biggest we've seen! Someone @ Kia must really have a thing for dead pedals:

An OBD port is located on the underside of the dashboard (below the steering wheel). There is a second port in the engine bay:

The ORVMs are well-sized, providing a good view of the action behind:

Like we saw in the Kia Seltos, the IRVM houses 3 buttons - SOS will place an emergency call to Kia customer care, the button with the tow truck will call Kia Roadside Assistance, and the third button will launch UVO (telematics). Auto-dimming functionality has been provided:

Center fascia tilts slightly towards the driver:

All variants come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen HU. The touchscreen is way too small for a cabin of this size! It should have been about 2-3 inches bigger. Even these center air-con vents have flow adjusters (not usually the case with all cars):

ICE & climate control buttons feel quite premium to use. The volume control knob operates in a rich manner too. All 3 climate zones can be set from here. You can "lock" the rear air-con if you so wish (i.e. rear passengers can't change the settings when locked):

Wireless smartphone charger is placed at the base of the centre fascia. Remember, your smartphone needs to have the wireless charging function for this feature to work. There's also a USB port next to it which can be used to connect your smartphone to the infotainment system (e.g. Android Auto):

Bird's eye view of the center console:

The centre console houses controls for the parking assist, ECO mode, auto-hold (no need to continuously keep the brake pedal pressed when stopping in traffic), driver's seat cooling as well as the e-parking brake (we aren't fans). The blank button to the left of the parking brake houses controls for the passenger's seat ventilation in international models. Kia should have offered it here for sure. Hope the brand isn't already developing the mentality of skipping features for India:

Two well-sized cup holders with a chrome surround. In a model built for the USA, you can bet that everything is "big":

A storage cubicle to keep odd items is available in front of the centre armrest:

The deep armrest storage area has a 12V port as well as a USB charger. The sides are covered with felt too! This area is measured at 18.8 litres capacity:

There's also a dedicated spot to store your expensive sunglasses. It is wrapped in felt:

Lots of storage space available in this cabin. The Carnival has two gloveboxes:

The upper glovebox is small, but has a non-slip pad at the bottom, which is a good thing if you want to keep your loose items here. They wont slip around and it also minimizes rattling sounds. Even the way that the upper glovebox's lid shuts is so premium. Kia is really building its brand with such quality touches:

These grooves (on the opening / closing mechanism) contribute to the premium feeling action:

Lower glovebox is well-sized, but there's no illumination or cooling! Quite a simple box for such an expensive car:

There is more storage in the front passenger footwell! Your spouse gets another storage area along with a 12V charging socket:

Both the sunvisors come with big mirrors and are illuminated. Don't miss the clip to hold tickets. Further (pun intended), they get an extension:

The roof bezel houses controls for the interior lights and the front + rear sunroofs. Interestingly, you can open the powered rear doors, or lock their operation entirely. Tailgate can also be opened from here:

A conversation mirror is provided as standard on all variants. No need to turn your head to talk to your passengers:

Cabin gets 6 airbags in all:

We love sunroofs! And we like it even more when there are two of them. Your kids will go crazy:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:18.
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Interior - 2nd Row

Sliding rear doors are huge! All variants get powered doors with anti-pinch. This is cool, because without electric assist, the sliding doors would feel utilitarian. Ingress to the rear is comfortable because it is a monocoque and not a body-on-frame (hence, lower floor height):

Not effortless for elders though. For one, the seat is a bit higher and there is a lot of lateral gap between the running board and captain seat. Senior citizens would have to hold the grab handle and move themselves to the seat:

The rear also gets these classy silver door sills. In this image, notice the tasteful carpet mats:

Grab handles are provided to aid in ingress to the rear:

Just like the front doors, the rear doors are finished in black and beige. It gets a wooden trim, while the door handle + lock have a wonderful silver finish:

The B-pillar houses the button to open and close the powered rear door:

Alternatively, while being seated, you can tug on the silver handle to open the door and push it out to shut:

A look at the wooden trim and power window control on the rear door:

Rear door pockets can be used to park a water bottle as well as other smaller items:

This variant is aptly named Limousine & the captain seats are aptly named “VIP seats”. They are enormously comfortable & offer fantastic support. Legroom is good, as you would expect from such a large MPV. Even the headrests are just perfectly located. Rich Innova owners just got the perfect upgrade option:

Another point that enhances comfort levels is that the seat has useable armrests on both sides:

A multitude of adjustments! It includes fore & aft controls, recline adjustment as well as a lever to lift the legrest up. Uniquely, it also gets an option to move the seat sideways!

The sliding second row gets a healthy travel range. The difference between the two seats in extreme positions is shown here:

Seats get these very cool S-Class style legrests. They support your calves and the backside of your knee. Of course, you can't put them up and completely stretch your legs because it doesn’t have that kind of legroom, but they are still very comfortable. Once you get the hang of it, you can nicely set it up to give you additional support for your lower legs:

The captain seats can move sideways to aid ingress / egress to the third-row. The maximum and minimum adjustment available are shown here:

Captain seats can be reclined. You can set it up to a totally relaxed angle if you so wish:

Each seat gets a 10.1-inch entertainment screen attached to the front seat. This screen can be tilted to your liking:

Along with seatback pockets for storage, the front passenger seat additionally offers a bag hook:

ISOFIX child seat anchors have been provided on all variants of the Carnival:

The captain seats get comfy wingback headrests:

The only car I can think of in India which has two openable sunroofs & one specifically for rear passengers. This one is larger than the sunroof at the front:

With the sunroof (or even its cover) open, a lot of light comes into the cabin. Your kids are going to absolutely love this:

The roof bezel is so good looking! It houses the rear lights and controls for the sunroof:

Circular air vents for rear passengers are placed on the roof (outer side):

Rear passengers get their own climate control with display. It is absolutely fantastic. The air-con did a superb job of keeping the cabin cold. It is located on the right side of the roof which is strange because chauffeur-driven owners prefer to sit on the left side. This is the position in LHD cars and should have been switched for India:

Spring-loaded grab handle with a coat / bag hook:

Useful bag hooks are provided on the B-pillar:

Even the second-row seats get height-adjustable seatbelts!

This is the maximum that the rear window rolls down to. The windows are big and get manual sunshades:

The rear of the centre console houses the air purifier and charging ports. The lower vent acts as an inlet to the air purifier system:

On top, it also has two cupholders for rear passengers:

Small screen displays the air quality index inside the cabin:

Upper vent serves as the outlet for the air purifier system. Console has a USB charging port as well as a 220V socket for your laptop:

A peek at the 2-pin charging socket:

The air-purifier filter is placed at the bottom. Remove the cover to reveal the filter:

Remove the filter to see the fan:

The filter can be taken out for cleaning. The ICE head-unit will tell you (in number of hours) when you need to clean it:

There's no floor hump at all. Won't be a bother for centre passengers in the 8-seater variant:

The access to the spare tyre is located on the floor, behind the driver's seat:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:17.
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Interior - 3rd Row

The second-row captain seats do not tumble forward. Instead, they can move sideways to aid ingress / egress to the third row. The seat recliner lever can also be used to pull the seat forward, making it easier to operate. Alternatively, you can climb into the second row and walk between the two captain seats (only for kids):

Not a lot of space available for ingress and egress. Whatever way you look at it, access to the 3rd row is difficult. It's no problem for me or kids, but people with a heavier build might find it tight. Senior citizens can forget about jumping behind. Do note that 3rd-row access is easier in other variants (details in the last post of this review):

Although three adjustable headrests and seatbelts are provided for the last row, it is best for two adults only IMHO. Of course, 3 kids should be easy. Legroom is enough, but the low seat means that adults will find under-thigh support to be lacking:

The seatbacks are soft and get useful pockets to keep the loose stuff in:

This strap can be used by third-row passengers to slide the second-row seats. You cannot park your feet under the second-row as there are metal rods under that seat:

The last row gets an adjustable backrest too. It comes with a 60:40 split, so two adults can set it up individually:

Circular A/C vents for third-row passengers are placed on the roof:

Cabin light for the last row + boot:

Spring-loaded grab handles for the third row. It also comes with an additional light for passengers (both sides):

Huge third-row window ensures that there is sufficient light coming in. One does not feel claustrophobic, thanks to the glass area and light-coloured interior:

The second and third-row windows get these manual sunshades. Much needed for privacy & protection from the harsh sun:

Two cupholders on the right, along with a phone charging port:

The passenger on the left gets two cupholders and a small storage space ahead of it:

Lap belt can be neatly tucked away into this cutout:

ISOFIX child seat anchors have been provided for the last row as well:

Use this clip to park the seatbelt when not in use (will come in handy when you are folding down the third-row seat):

Beige roofliner feels luxurious. Third roof-mounted cabin lamp illuminates the last row and also serves as the boot lamp:

Even with the third-row seats in place, there is an awesome 540 liters of luggage space available! There's a deep pit that adds to the cargo capacity (remember, spare wheel is below the 2nd-row seat). Kia has given a chrome-brushed plate for protection while adding / removing luggage:

A look at the deep pit that is very useful, but will make taking out heavy bags a task:

The third row gets 60:40 split seats:

With the third row folded down, it creates a flat floor. Boot space increases to 1,624 litres!

Pull this lever to fold and store the seat. The seatback first folds. Then using this lever, pull the seat up and push it into the pit of the boot:

Clear instructions have been provided:

A 12V port has been provided in the boot:

Cargo tie-down hooks too:

The tools, as well as the first aid kit, are neatly arranged on the left side:

There's also an emergency release for the fuel lid:

Toolkit has the regular tyre changing equipment and a screw driver as well. We like their black colour (tools are usually provided in silver):

Pic taken from the inside with the tailgate shut. Loading lip is not high and is almost level with the boot floor when the third row is folded down. This makes loading & unloading easy. However, with the third-row up, there's a deep pit which makes taking your bags out a task:

The button to operate the electric tailgate...

…along with a grab handle:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:17.
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In-Car Entertainment

The Carnival is equipped with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The screen is way too small for a car of this size, and should have been at least 2 to 3 inches bigger. In a way, it shows the model's 5-year age as big screens weren't in vogue in 2015. The Limousine variant is equipped with a Harman Kardon 8-speaker sound system, while the lesser variants get 4 speakers and 2 tweeters. Sound quality is fantastic, easily a 9/10. There is satisfying bass & good treble; it is like your own small nightclub inside if you like bass-heavy songs. GTO is extremely particular about his music and downloads only high-quality MP3s from iTunes. He sets the EQ up the perfect way, so if he says the sound quality is excellent, it is indeed excellent & enjoyable.

The ICE has the usual connectivity options. The system is also "connected" and gets "UVO" (which Kia has translated from "your voice") with 37 features. Owners can download the Kia UVO Lite Remote App on their smartphones, connect it to the infotainment system via Bluetooth and use their phones as a remote control. You can select the music source, adjust the volume, equalizer & more. Might be useful for chauffeured owners, or if your kids on the backseat are controlling the music. You can also connect to UVO using a smartwatch. Connectivity via the embedded SIM card is free for 3 years.

The Carnival gets two 10.1-inch tablet-like entertainment screens for rear passengers which can be used to browse the internet and watch videos. They get a separate headphone jack. The many connectivity options include WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, Audio-Video Input, USB and phone mirroring.

The touchscreen has no lag and its visibility is good, even under direct sunlight. Screen resolution & clarity are fine. Unlike many modern cars, Kia has provided physical buttons for the main functions. You can have a split homescreen with two concurrent displays:

Two tweeters on the dash...

…one speaker in the center of the dashboard…

…and a subwoofer in the boot:

The system displays a summary of the driving information, based on your driving pattern:

The air purifier's fan speed can be adjusted from here:

An estimate of when one needs to clean the filter of the air purifier:

The Kia Carnival comes with "UVO" telematics which has 37 features for safety & security, remote operations, convenience and vehicle management. UVO is available only on the top-end Limousine variant:

Reversing camera has adaptive guidelines. The car should have received a 360-degree camera. Even the cheaper Seltos gets it!

The rear entertainment screen has a really nice brushed silver border. The on / off button is placed on top:

The tablet can be connected to a hotspot device to watch YouTube videos…

…and browse the best Indian car website

You can also mirror your phone on the screen:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:16.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:09   #8
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Driving the 2.2L Diesel AT

The Carnival draws power from a 2.2L, 4-cylinder diesel engine with a variable geometry turbocharger. The motor produces 197 BHP (@ 3,800 rpm) & 440 Nm (@ 1,500 - 2,750 rpm). This makes it more powerful than its closest rival, the Innova, and even the likes of the Fortuner / Endeavour / Alturas / Kodiaq. The diesel is paired to a lovely 8-speed automatic gearbox, developed in-house by Hyundai-Kia. I really like the way Kia tunes its engines & gearboxes. The overall tuning was superb in the Seltos and its pretty nice in the Carnival too. The 8-speed AT comes with a manual mode. However, there are no paddle shifters, which we as enthusiasts missed (whenever we wanted to drop a gear or needed engine braking). Obviously not for sportiness in a van, but for convenience = it's just far easier to downshift via paddle shifters versus moving your hand over to the gear lever.

On the downside, the Carnival is fat & h-e-a-v-y! The Limousine variant weighs a whopping 2,201 kilos! To put things in perspective, that's like an Innova with 7 people onboard. This gives the Carnival a power-to-weight ratio of 90 BHP / ton and a torque-to-weight ratio of 200 Nm / ton. For comparison, the 7-seater Innova 2.4L Diesel AT weighs 1,870 kg, giving it a power-to-weight ratio of 79 BHP / ton and a torque-to-weight ratio of 193 Nm / ton. The discontinued 2.8L Innova's numbers were 95 BHP / ton and 198 Nm / ton.

Unlike the body-on-frame UVs that we are used to, the refinement starts from the second you crank the engine. There is minimal cabin vibration or shake when you fire up the diesel. Try that in an Innova and you'll know what I'm talking about.

The engine has enough pep & the torque-converter ensures there is a good bottom end. The Carnival's city driveability is very good. Drive with a light foot & it'll result in a smooth & refined experience. The rpm levels remain low and your passengers won't even notice the changing gears. Want to close a gap quickly? Floor the a-pedal & the gearbox responds in a reasonably quick time. You'll also notice torque steer under hard acceleration! The tall seating position & clear visibility help in the city, although the sheer size means you cannot dart in and out of traffic. It's also tough driving this large van through narrow 2-way residential lanes, while parking will require a large spot. Heck, before buying this van, please ensure that your parking space can accommodate it.

Thanks to the fine engine & gearbox, the Carnival is a competent long distance cruiser. If you want to carry 6 - 7 adults, there is perhaps no other car <40 lakhs that can do it better. The engine has enough grunt to maintain strong highway performance. It's acceptable, even with a full load of passengers + cargo. The mid-range is punchy and the engine pulls well on the open road. Keep the accelerator pedal buried and the engine will nicely revv to ~4,400 rpm (on some occasions, we even saw 4,500 rpm). The 2.2L is smooth and vibration-free all the way to the redline. This performance is now an added advantage over the Innova as the Toyota no longer gets the larger 2.8L diesel. The Carnival indeed has long legs. Its revv counter reads 1,700 rpm @ 100 km/h and 2,000 rpm @ 120 km/h. The luxurious cabin means you can do hours & hours of traveling without getting tired.

The gearbox's overall response time is good. If I give BMW's 8-speeder a 10/10 rating, this is a solid 8/10 rating transmission. Quite an achievement for Hyundai-Kia to have developed this in-house, in a time when almost all other brands outsource their 8-speed ATs. We didn't encounter a single situation where the gearbox got confused or was hunting for gears. Some more information on the unit is available here. Manual mode is useful when you want to prepare the car for overtaking on a 2-lane highway, or when you desire engine braking. To engage manual mode, move the gear lever to the right and then, pull it down for a downshift or push up for an upshift (just the way we prefer it). If you need engine braking, say when you are coming down a fast mountain road, manual mode does allow a healthy amount of it. I appreciate that, even for a diesel engine, it allows a downshift when the resultant rpm will be a bit on the higher side. What we really miss though are steering-mounted paddle shifters!

The NVH levels of the Carnival are fantastic. Anyone upgrading from a body-on-frame MPV / SUV is in for a pleasant surprise. There are no vibrations to speak of. When the driver is cruising calmly in the city, all that passengers will hear is a mild diesel hum. Noise is well-controlled. Heck, even at 4,000 rpm, the engine note isn't harsh or excessively loud. Wind and tyre sounds at 120 km/h? Both are controlled. You don't even need to raise your voice too much when talking to your co-passenger. It's a proper luxury car experience.

Don't expect too much in the fuel efficiency department. Considering the weight, power and AT, we expect 6 - 8 km/l in the city (depending on driving style). On the highway, we got an average of just 11 km/l. This included a 50% mix of redlining as well as relaxed cruising. The tall 8th gear helps improve efficiency, and some of you might be able to extract another couple of km/l if you drive calmly. The MPV does come with an 'Active ECO' mode which you can use to maximise FE. We hate ECO modes, so never engaged it.

The 2.2L engine produces 197 BHP & 440 Nm:

Bonnet is heavy and shockingly, there are no struts to assist it with going up. Why skip this useful feature on such an expensive car, Kia?

There is some underbody protection:

Another OBD port located in the engine compartment. Some manufacturers have a second port for diagnostics. This is mostly used by workshop technicians:

Gear lever looks & feels upmarket:

Stylish unlock button is placed on the right:

To engage manual mode, slide the gear lever to the right. Move the lever up to upshift and down to downshift (just the way we like it). Paddle shifters are sorely missed though:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:14.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:09   #9
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Ride & Handling

The Carnival sports a McPherson strut suspension with coil springs at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear. Urban ride quality is soft and compliant. Owners will be satisfied. The Kia rides in a way that body-on-frame UVs can only dream about; example = there is none of that excessive side-to-side swaying that body-on-frame UVs suffer from on bad roads. Low speed ride comfort is a distinct advantage over the Innova. The highway ride is comfortable as well. In fact, you won't even be slowing down for the smaller bumps. What's not cool is, if you take a large road dip at speed, you feel the car going up & down and the rear takes a little time to recover (due to the soft suspension). Gets bouncy here. It is best to shed some speed over undulations or on wavy roads. No doubt that the Innova rides flatter than this MPV on undulating tarmac.

Out on the expressway, straight line stability is very good at 120 km/h. You can comfortably cruise at this speed all day long, munching miles like no other van can. Kia has equipped the Carnival with 235 mm rubber. Despite the weight, size, MRF tyres and this being an MPV, the grip levels are satisfactory. GTO took it down the Lonavla ghat pretty hard and he was pleasantly surprised. Of course, that's not to say that it's a corner-carver at all, and you shouldn't be doing this often. One does feel its 2.2 ton weight in corners & there is body roll. But as an XL-sized family van, the Carnival's road manners are neutral. Even at the limit, when the car starts losing it, it does so gradually & there is enough tyre squeal to warn you. Watch out for those mid-corner bumps and big road undulations though - they can unsettle the car (again, due to the soft suspension). In terms of driver aids, the Carnival has a laundry list to help you in an emergency situation - ESP, rollover mitigation, cornering brake control etc. We must add that if you do upgrade to nicer tyres from the likes of Michelin or Yokohama, there will be a further improvement in road manners.

The steering is on the firmer side while parking and at low city speeds; Kia should have made it lighter. It's no problem once you climb up to moderate speeds. But on the highway at 120 km/h, it feels a level or two lighter than I prefer. Even while taking expressway curves at 100 km/h, the steering felt light. It is rather careless of Kia to have tuned the steering in the opposite way of how it should be (light at parking speeds, firm at high speeds). I am disappointed with this because tuning a steering's weight is the easiest thing to do & I hope Kia fixes this on the Carnival soon.

The turning radius of 5.83 meters is big, yet expected for a car of this size. IMHO, it handled u-turns better than expected. I have to mention this again = the sheer size of the car can be cumbersome for some people.

The unladen ground clearance is rated @ 180 mm. With a long wheelbase and soft suspension, it does scrape on the big bumps. GTO hit the underbody pretty loud on an unusual road dip at ~50 km/h. BHPian XUVian also reports that he has to slow down on terrible roads with 7 onboard his Carnival.

The Carnival gets disc brakes at the rear too. Its stopping power is good - no complaints at all. The pedal can feel wooden at times though. The braking system gets "auto hold" which really helps in traffic as you don’t have to continuously keep the b-pedal pressed while waiting.

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:13.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:10   #10
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Other Points

BHPian itwasntme spotted the Carnival Hi-Limousine variant. It is a more luxurious trim equipped with additional features & was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo.

• Yikes! The Carnival comes with just three colour options - Aurora Black Pearl, Steel Silver and Glacier White Pearl. Indians have usually suffered a poor choice of colours & we rarely see interesting shades like metallic green etc. here. But this is dropping it to another level.

• The Carnival will be bought by private buyers who want a premium MPV above the Innova, and also by hotels to transport their high-value guests.

• Kia released an interesting video featuring the Carnival & asking people to stay home during the lockdown.

• 60-liter fuel tank is too small for such a grand tourer. I would’ve expected a 75 - 80 liter tank here (which the USA Sedona gets, by the way).

• The base Premium variant is available in 7 and 8-seater configurations, while the Prestige is available as a 7 or 9-seater. The top-end Limousine is sold only as a 7-seater.

• The Limousine variant gets two-tone leather seats, while the Prestige 9-seater gets beige leatherette upholstery. The Prestige 7-seater and Premium variants get beige fabric seats.

• Lower variants get a foot-operated handbrake. Thanks to BHPian Vmv for sharing this image.

• The next-generation Carnival has been spied. Spyshots show the exterior as well as the interior.

• First service visit (checkup) at 1,000 km / 1 month, second at 5,000 km / 6 months and third at 10,000 km / 12 months. Subsequent services are @ every 10,000 km / 12 months.

• Just like we'd seen in the Innova, the rear A/C's water outlet is on the right rear of the car.

• The Kia Carnival brochure can be viewed here - Kia Carnival.pdf.

Disclaimer: Kia invited Team-BHP for the Carnival test-drive. They covered all the travel expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:12.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:10   #11
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The Smaller yet Significant Things

Illuminated door handles look cool at night:

Recommended tyre pressure is 35 PSI all-round:

The key can be used to open / close the electric rear doors too:

The Premium 7-seater, 8-seater and Prestige 7-seater get stand-up middle-row seats to aid ingress & egress to the third-row:

Front wheel well gets NVH cladding... does the rear:

3 clear markings to indicate the diesel car's diet! Anything to prevent accidentally putting in the wrong fuel, we say! You can also see the AdBlue filler next to it:

All variants of the Carnival are available as a 7-seater:

Only the base Premium variant is available as an 8-seater. The seatback of the centre seat of the second row can be folded down to be used as an armrest, or alternatively, the entire seat can be removed:

Only the Prestige variant gets four rows of seating to accommodate 9 people:

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:22.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:42   #12
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Default Re: Kia Carnival : Official Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews. Thanks for sharing, rating 5 stars!

I’m not a fan of vans, yet will admit that I enjoyed the experience of the Kia Carnival & doing this review. It is very luxurious & very practical. If you have a large family and were eyeing the Fortuner or Endeavour, trust me = take a look at the Carnival. Everyone who experienced it walked away impressed. I would personally never be caught dead driving a van (looks are super important to me), but if I absolutely had to buy an MPV, this car would be it. The Carnival also shows to me just how overpriced the small & cramped Germans are (e.g. GLA-Class for 40-lakhs OTR? You got to be kidding me).

Interesting to see how Kia is smartly entering untapped segments (luxury MPV) or those with less competition (Seltos). Am also surprised that – after spending 25 years in India – parent Hyundai still doesn’t have an MPV on sale! Such a missed opportunity.

Trivia: This is the first car that we still have down the house (due to the lockdown) and have completed the review of. Because of our detailed reviews & the sheer effort it takes in compilation, the Official Review usually goes live 6 – 8 weeks after the car is gone. This was so convenient. If we needed to replace a picture, simply walk down and shoot it .

Kia Carnival : Official Review-20200503-08.20.46.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 5th May 2020 at 09:48.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:53   #13
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Default Re: Kia Carnival : Official Review

Wonderful review, as always! Team-BHP reviews always ooze a certain classiness, something that other car websites or magazines don't.

A pretty good upgrade for a family from the Toyota Innova, wanting a more premium experience, if their driver won't mind manoeuvring a 5m car!

I feel that the interior feels its age now, and with the next generation Carnival not too far off, won't it be better for prospective buyers to wait for the next generation one? That is bound to be pretty hi-tech, possibly up there with entry level luxury sedans. And why does Kia not offer a cooled glovebox in the Seltos nor the Carnival, when a Hyundai Grand i10 has one? Come on Kia, it'd be nice to have Automatic Wipers in a 40 lakh car, when a Suzuki Swift that is 1/4th the price is equipped with it. That said, I would probably buy this over the Toyota Velfire, as that is positively very hideous from the front thanks to the dollops of chrome, and is simply not worth the price.

It's a shame that Peter Schreyer has stepped down from daily duties at Hyundai's design centres (he remains on as a consultant) as future offerings from both Hyundai and Kia will be polarizing on the design front, hopefully the next generation Carnival doesn't lose the elegance of this one.

Last edited by BZ25 : 5th May 2020 at 10:02. Reason: Added a point.
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Old 5th May 2020, 09:54   #14
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Default Re: Kia Carnival : Official Review

Excellent review. Rated 5 stars.
I had owned Honda Odyssey, back when I was in USA. I had an option to buy Kia, Honda and Toyota vans but ended up with Honda. I just hope that Toyota brings in Sienna and Honda the Odyssey. These are huge cars and not sure how we can use this as daily drivers in India though. But these will be the comfortable cars for road trips across country.
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Old 5th May 2020, 10:33   #15
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Default Re: Kia Carnival : Official Review

That Kia Carnival is a Looker. I personally fell that the carnival looks better than the Seltos. I think that we should consider this as the first true "Mini Van" in India.

Anyways I think that the carnival might be a good alternative to the Old folks(60+) who are looking for a SUV in this price range.

Last edited by Eshan Joshi : 5th May 2020 at 10:38.
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