Carnival Ride

Not six, not seven, but eight seats come standard on this Kia Carnival ride, which happens to be the most popular people mover in Australia. Instead of leaving you feeling like your head is spinning this very practical people mover does its best to keep you and your family riding in comfort.

Being this is the top of the line Platinum variant the seats are leather accented, with the front passengers enjoying heated and cooled seats, both of which work well and this is not always the case for seat cooling offered by some car manufacturers. The front seats also have 8-way power adjustment with the driver getting additional 4-way lumbar support and two memory positions. I also like that the driver can move passenger’s front seat with buttons on the side of that seat.

The dash and on top of the doors is covered with soft-feeling plastics and you get timber-looking veneer on the dash and steering wheel for an added luxury touch. This Carnival also has a heated steering wheel and I liked that the voice control was designated with an androgynous face on the steering wheel; many car companies use a masculine silhouette of a face. On the downside though, the voice control only works if Apple CarPlay/Android Auto is connected to the system with a USB cord.

Storage options are a plenty in the Carnival and you will find under the arm rest there is a large, felt lined storage area, which has a ledge at the top for your sunglasses. There is one USB port and one 12V outlet in here; it’s not cooled, but the glove box is. You also have a second glove box above the regular glove box and this contains a bag to place your tyre if you need to change one that is flat and stow it in the back of the vehicle; how thoughtful is that feature! There are also storage cubbies in the front doors, including a space for your large drink bottle.

There are two cup holders in the centre console and at the front there is a ledge for your smart phone plus one USB port, one 12V outlet and one AUX inlet. Above this is an 8″ colour LCD touchscreen with satellite navigation with SUNA traffic information. Media options on the Carnival include AM radio, FM/DAB, AUX, Bluetooth, USB plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I liked that the controls on the dash were big and easy to recognise what each one does and for keeping an eye on your brood there is a pop out convex mirror located above the rear view mirror.

The two outer seats of the second row can be individually moved forward and back, they also recline and have arm rests and this setup means potentially you could seat three adults across the second row. The two outer seats also have ISOFIX/rear tether child seat restraint points, but there are no restraint points on the centre seat. The reason for this is the centre seat can actually be completely removed so you can walk between the two seats rather than folding one seat up in order to access the third row. This is an important feature because if you had child seats in the two outer seats you would not be able to move them back to access the third row. If the centre seat remains in place it can be folded down as an arm rest with two drink holders and a storage ledge.

At the rear of the centre console there are two drink holders, a storage ledge with one USB port and a pull-out drawer for storing various items of children’s stuff. The second row windows have manual blinds and I liked that the windows could be opened, not something I have seen on any of the other people movers I have driven. There is also drink bottle storage in the door cubbies and a space large enough for a tablet-sized device.

The button to open and close the sliding doors is low down and easy for children to reach, but if you do not want them to be able to operate the doors you can lock them to prevent your children from doing so and you have separate controls in the front to open and close them. Something I absolutely love about the sliding doors is I do not have to worry about children dinging the door of the car parked next to us.

There are separate controls for the rear climate zone and these are located above the door on the driver’s side in the second row. It has temperature, mode and speed control and again you can lock children out from changing the controls and you can adjust the rear climate from the front. For second row the air vents are in the roof and under the front seats.

The third row has three seats as well, with a 40/60 split folding mechanism and the seats are manually raised and lowered. There are two rear tether child seat restraint points here, one located on the driver’s side and the second in the middle. Accessing the third row with the second row seat pulled up and out of the way makes it easy even for adults to step in and there is enough head and leg room for two adults to sit comfortably in the third row. There are air vents in the roof and multiple drink holders in each wheel arch. Or if the rear seats are stowed when not in use the floor is flat to make carrying large items a synch.

The Carnival has a power-operated boot that can be opened from the key fob even without touching the fob; you just stand next to the back to open the boot or if you are in the driver’s seat and need to open the boot for your children there is a button in the front of the cabin as well. When the third row seats are locked into place the boot is deep and would easily fit the six school bags you may be carrying. Once the children are at school there is enough boot space for your weekly shop. The only downside I see with the boot is if you had a large pram in the base of the boot, it would be heavy and maybe awkward to lift out and your shopping would have to go on top of the pram. The temporary spare tyre is located under the people mover.

All variants of the Carnival have a 5-star ANCAP (2016) safety rating and the Platinum has active safety features including Autonomous Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning System, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic alert. It also has a 3600 rear view camera with front and rear sensors. Passive safety includes dual frontal, side chest and side head airbags (curtains) that protect all three rows of seats.

This Carnival has a 3.3 litre, V6 engine that produces 206kW of power and 336Nm of torque and is paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. You get good acceleration from the engine and the power is enough to make the front wheels chirp when you accelerate hard off the mark and I did get some sideways looks from other motorists when I accidently did this. The combined fuel consumption for this people mover is 10.8L/100km and for my week I used 12.1L/100km. If fuel consumption is something you think about then you may also want to consider the diesel engine variants of the Carnival range.

All new Kia vehicles come with a 7-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty and one year of complimentary Roadside Assist, but owners can renew their Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to 8 years, by simply returning their vehicle to an Authorised Kia Dealer for its annual scheduled services. Membership will remain valid for one year following your scheduled service, and will be renewed if an Authorised Kia Dealer completes the vehicle’s next scheduled serviced within one year. For the Carnival, service intervals are every year or 15,000km whichever comes first and the total service cost for the first seven services is capped at $3,645.

If you need to move up to eight people in comfort the Kia Carnival Platinum is your ultimate ride. Prices for the Kia Carnival Platinum Petrol start at $63,990 drive away and as tested with premium paint in Panthera Metal colour ($695) my Carnival was $64,685 drive away. For more information visit your preferred Kia dealer.

ProsCons
Flexibility of seating optionsVoice control only works with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connected
Makes the job of driving easierNo USB ports for third row seats
The second row window opensFront tyres lose traction under hard acceleration

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.