All-new Kia Carnival Platinum offers grand comfort and style

by Petrol Mum

Big and bold is the name of the game for the all-new Kia Carnival. The Carnival has shrugged off the stigma of driving a people mover like a front-row forward pack belting up the middle of the footy field, this eight-seater is now known as a grand utility vehicle.

After the game those front row forwards and all their gear can be transported home effortlessly thanks to the acres of space available in the Carnival. It’s not just the space, but also the storage features that make driving around a large number of people just a little bit easier.

Family review of the Kia Carnival Platinum

Starting from the back and working forwards, the boot is power operated and can be opened from the button on the boot lid, the key fob or a button near the driver in the front of the cabin. You will find even with the third row seats in use that there is ample storage in the boot area for school bags or footy gear or the weekly shop. This space is thanks to the spare tyre located under the middle of the vehicle rather than under the boot floor, so the boot area is deep. The boot also has extra storage in the side pockets, hooks and a 12V outlet. Of course, with the third row seats folded down there is even more space for a large pram and the weekly shop. I did notice though when the third row seats are down, they do rattle a bit when you go over bumps.

The 60:40 spilt folding third row seats are raised and lowered manually and there are three seats available here. Of these the two outer seats have ISOFIX/rear tether child seat restraint points. To access the third row, you manually slide the second row seat forward and there is enough space for an adult to step through this gap. Once you are in the seats, you will find that there is enough leg room for adults and your knees are not sitting up, but the headroom is limited.

Third row passengers get manual blinds on their windows, something I have not seen in any other three row vehicles. To keep the air fresh way back there, passengers have vents in the roof and under the second row seats. To stay hydrated there are two rigid drink bottle holders in each wheel arch and a USB port on each side also. To exit the third row, passengers need to pull a strap at the bottom of the second row seats to release and slide them forwards.

Each of the second row seats can be moved forward/back and reclined independently and have their own ISOFIX/rear tether point, so fitting three car seats across the second row is easier to do and three adults could also fit if required. For adults there is ample leg room, but again head room is limited. The middle seat can even be reversed or completely removed for even greater seating flexibility. If not in use the middle seat can be laid flat and there are two rigid drink bottle holders and slots for smart phone storage. It also has a flat area with a lip so you could have a colouring book and pencils if preferred. There are USB ports in the back of each front seat for powering devices and one 12V outlet in the back of the centre console.

Second row passengers also get heated outer seats and on the driver’s side of the vehicle above the door are the digital climate controls for the rear temp, fan speed and mode settings with vents in the roof and under the front seats. There are ample drink bottle storage options with holders at the back of the centre console and in the door cubbies. There are manual blinds on the windows and even a sunroof that opens above the second row. Importantly too, there is a display on the driver’s dash to tell you when it is open and controls so the driver can close it, so no accidently leaving the sunroof open when you get out of the Carnival.

The sliding doors are power operated and can be opened by second row passengers by pressing a button on the B-pillar. However, if you have younger children, you can lock the doors from being opened or you can open and close the doors yourself from a button at the front of the cabin on the driver’s side.

All of the seats are covered with artificial leather appointed material for easy cleaning and in the Platinum Carnival I drove both front seats are heated and cooled. The front passenger seat has 8-way power adjustment and a button on the right-hand side of the seat so the driver can move the seat if needed. The driver’s seat features 12-way adjustment including 4-way lumbar support with two memory positions. For added warmth in winter you also get a heated steering wheel, something that would be appreciated while sitting on the sidelines on a cold winter’s day watching the local footy team going round.              

There is ample storage in the front of the Carnival also with a large cubby under the arm rest that would fit a handbag in it. Between the two cup holders is a slot for your smart phone and at the front of the centre console there is a wireless charging pad for compatible devices and three USB ports.

The 12.3″ colour central touch screen gives you access to the infotainment features that include satellite navigation with 10 years traffic information and map updates. The Carnival still has wired Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto and the voice control only works when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are connected to the system. Like many other car companies the silhouette on the voice control button is masculine looking.

You can select quiet mode on the 12 Speakers BOSE premium sound system, so your media is only played on the front speakers so as not to disturb sleeping rear seat passengers. Media sources include an MP3 compatible audio player with AM/FM tuner, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, Sounds of Nature, USB music and USB video. The driver can also easily adjust the rear climate settings from the front of the car or lock-out control from the second row passengers.       

The Platinum edition of the Carnival comes packed with driver safety assistance including Blind Spot Collision Avoidance, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Change Assist, Lane Following Assist, which doesn’t feel as quite as refined as the new Kia Sorento that I have previously driven, Lane Departure Warning System and Advanced Smart Cruise Control.

The Carnival does not have a full digital driver’s dash like the one now on the new Kia Sorento and Stinger, so it does not have the camera display here when you indicate. The Carnival Platinum does have a 3600 rear view camera with front and rear sensors and auto lights, but not auto wipers.

The all-new Kia Carnival has a 5-star (2021) ANCAP safety rating and the ANCAP tests of the Autonomous Emergency Braking (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in all scenarios. Overall, effectiveness of the AEB (Car-to-Car) system performance was rated as GOOD. Overall performance of the Lane Support System was GOOD, with ADEQUATE performance recorded in emergency lane keeping scenarios, and GOOD performance in lane keep assist scenarios according to ANCAP.

Airbags are fitted for the driver and front passenger, on the front sides, as a curtain on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd row and for the driver’s knee. For Adult Occupant Protection the Carnival has an ANCAP score of 90% with 34.54 points out of 38 and a Child Occupant Protection score of 88% with 43.52 points out of 49.

The Kia Carnival Platinum I drove was powered by the 3.5 lite, V6 petrol engine that offers adequate acceleration from its 216kW of power and 355Nm of torque. There is no loss of traction from the front tyres under hard acceleration off the line and gear changes from the 8-Speed automatic transmission are smooth. The official combined fuel consumption is 9.6L/100km and for my week I used 11.1L/100km.

All new Kias come with a 7-Year Unlimited Kilometre Warranty and one year of complimentary Roadside Assist. Owners can renew their Roadside Assistance package yearly, for up to eight 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 costs for the seven-year period are capped at $3,596.

The styling of the all-new Kia Carnival has been beefed up to make this people mover look more like a large SUV and this could be seen as a good or bad thing depending on your personal preference. One thing is for sure though, if you do need to transport eight people, the Platinum Carnival makes this a pleasant experience for all involved, unless you are the one who has to wash all of that dirty footy gear that is in the boot when you get home.

The Kia Carnival Platinum petrol is $68,490 drive away with premium paint costing an extra $695. Visit your preferred Kia dealer for more information about the all-new Carnival range.

Flexible seating optionsDoes not have a digital driver’s dash
Ample storage availableApple CarPlay/Android Auto needs to be connected to use voice control
Blinds on third row and second row windowsLimited headroom for adults in second and third row

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.

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