Carnival Celebration

by Petrol Mum
Kia Carnival Special Edition diesel Deep Chroma blue

The largest ship in the Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet is the Carnival Celebration and the most accommodating vehicle in Kia’s range is the Carnival people mover or what Kia prefer to call it, a Grand Utility Vehicle. Both of these means of transportation are spacious and designed to create pleasure for their many passengers.

Diesel-powered Carnival models have a 2.2 litre, In-line 4-cylinder diesel engine with an Electronic Variable Geometry Turbocharger paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission with dial-type Shift-By-Wire technology, and front-wheel drive. The engine produces a modest 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque, so the Carnival does feel like the engine labours out of intersections at times. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 6.5L/100km and for my time with this Carnival I used 7.0L/100km, bettering my fuel use figure from the Platinum diesel by 0.5L/100km.

There are four drive modes available, Eco, Normal, Sport and Smart, and after spending all of my previous time driving in Normal mode only, I discovered that Sport mode may be the sweet spot in the Carnival. In Normal mode the steering has a nice light feel and the ride is comfortable enough, but it can be a bit unsettled. In Sport mode, the steering in the Carnival is just a little heavier and the ride is firmer in a good way as the people mover feels less rocky, great for hopefully charting a motion-sickness free journey with your family.

This is the Kia Carnival Special Edition diesel and comes with a dual sunroof, 19-inch black alloy wheels, platinum grade radiator grille, heated front and outer second row seats, wireless phone charger, and rear occupant alert. Being the captain of this ship is something that I enjoyed doing with the Carnival having some specific features that people mover drivers will appreciate. Like the Passenger Talk button that projects your voice in the speakers at the back to allow you to communicate with the back seat passengers without yelling at them or turning around. You can also engage Quiet Mode on the stereo so that your media is only played at the front of the vehicle. The media sources include DAB/FM, AM radio, Bluetooth, USB music, USB video, Sounds of Nature and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. You can also access the infotainment system using voice control by pressing the button on the steering wheel with a masculine-looking silhouette on it, but voice control only works when Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are connected via a USB cord.

The driver’s seat has power adjustment for recline, forward/back, seat height for the front and rear of the cushion and 2-way lumber support, but with no memory positions. While the passenger seat has manual adjustment for recline and forward/back only. The driver’s dash in the Carnival is the older Kia style with an analogue taco and speedo and a small digital screen between the two that display various information.

I like the woodgrain look finish across the dash of the Carnival, but I was less keen on the white trim features on the doors and arm rest as these are two areas come into contact with your skin a lot and will most likely mark over time. I’m also not a fan of the gloss black elements on the centre console, door trims and steering wheel as these collect dust and fingermarks.

Storage in the front of the cabin is plentiful with a deep cubby under the armrest and at front of centre console a deep pocket with the wireless charging for your phone and here there are three USB-A ports also. On the centre console there are two deepish cup holders in the with grippy sides and a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning, and a slot between them for your phone. You will find that the drink bottle storage in front door cubbies is awkwardly shaped and that you have to shove a large drink bottle in them to make it fit.

For accessing the back seats, the rear doors have a powered operation and can be opened/closed by pulling on the door handle, pressing the button on the inside of the B pillar, a button on key fob for either door and buttons at the front of the cabin, where you can also lock the doors to prevent them from being opened.

Each seat on the second row can be individually moved forward and back and has manual recline adjustment and this feature means that you could fit three car seats across the second row or three adults. I found that there was ample head and leg room for me here, but taller people may find the headroom tight. For the third row both the head and leg room were tight for me, so these seats would not be suitable for tall adults. To access the third row, you manually slide either outer second row seat back and this creates a gap large enough for an adult to step through. Or the centre second-row seat can also be completely removed to make a large space that you can walk though to easily access the third row without the need to move the second-row seats at all.

For younger passengers the second row has three ISOfix/three rear tether child seat restraint points and the third row has two ISOfix/two rear tether child seat restraint points on the two outer seats. ANCAP found that one of their tested Type A convertible seats could not be correctly installed in rearward-facing mode using the ISOfix anchorages in the outboard seats of the second and third rows. Care is also required when installing one of the forward-facing convertible seat using the ISOfix anchorages in the third row positions.

Getting fresh air in this part of the cabin is easy as the large side windows open as does the rear sunroof, with its operation being separate from the front sunroof, and controls for these located at the front of the Carnival. There are also window blinds on the large side windows as well as the smaller windows in the third row. The rear part of the Carnival cabin has separate digital climate controls for temperature, speed, and mode located on the roof at the driver’s side or they can be adjusted from the front of the vehicle easily and you can lock the controls as well to avoid arguments among rear seat passengers. There are roof vents above each of the outer seats on the second and third rows and these have manual direction control and can be closed shut. Should the worst happen there are carpet mats over all parts of the second and third row floors for easier cleaning.

Although you will dread the ‘I need a wee’ call from the back, hydration is important on long trips. For this there are drink bottle cubbies in each of the rear doors, at the back of the centre console with these ones have a removable rubber mat for easy cleaning. On each wheel arch there are two rigid drink holders for the third-row seat passengers and with the second-row centre seat folded down there are another two drink holders and slots for phones plus a lipped edge that you could play cards on or do drawing without having pencils sliding off.

The other thing you don’t want to hear from the back is complaints about the powering of devices. The Carnival has you covered here with the USB-A ports for the second-row passengers located on the side of the front seat so there are no cords dangling on the floor creating a trip hazard. There is also a 12V socket at the back on the centre console for the third second row passenger. In the third row there is one USB-A port on either side of the vehicle and a cubby in the wheel arch for phones.

This carnival has a powered tailgate with an open/close button located under the tailgate, on the key fob, and in the cabin. With the third row up there is a large deep boot space that is great for luggage or grocery shopping for a big family. The boot space has multiple hooks around it, with a handy cubby in the side cut out, and one 12V socket, but no tie down points. Or when you manually stow the third row seats into this space there is a very large cargo area if you need go appliance shopping and don’t want to pay for delivery. The temporary use is located under the second-row floor on the driver’s side of the people mover.

All current Kia Carnival models have a 5-star (2021) ANCAP safety rating. Airbags are fitted for the driver and front passenger, on the front sides, as a curtain on the first, second and third rows and for the driver’s knee. The ANCAP Adult Occupant Protection score is 90% (34.54 points out of 38) and the Child Occupant Protection score is 88% (43.52 points out of 49).

ANCAP tests of the Autonomous Emergency Braking (Car-to-Car) system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in all scenarios and overall, the effectiveness was rated as GOOD. Overall performance of the Lane Support System was GOOD with a score of 82%, with ADEQUATE performance recorded in emergency lane keeping scenarios, and GOOD performance in lane keep assist scenarios according to ANCAP.

Kia Carnival Special Edition diesel reversing camera

In addition to the above features the Kia Carnival Special Edition Diesel also gets Blind Spot Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control. The reversing camera has a 360° camera display, combined with a multi-view second camera, with front and rear sensors, but it’s important to note that the front parking sensors default to off so you need to remember to turn them on when parking in a tight spot. The headlights have automatic sensors for turning on and off and high beam assist, but the Carnival does not have rain-sensing wipers.

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 diesel-powered models, service intervals are once a year or 15,000km, whichever comes first, and the total service costs for the first seven services for this Carnival is capped at $3,816.

Kia Carnival Special Edition diesel with cows

All of the potentially eight Kia Carnival passengers will find something to celebrate about this capable people mover. The Kia Carnival Special Edition Diesel costs $67,500 drive away with premium paint costing an extra $695, this colour is Deep Chroma Blue. You can Build & Order a new Kia Carnival on-line or visit your preferred Kia dealer for more information.

The spacious cabinThe white trim and gloss black surfaces in the cabin
There are drink bottle holders and charge points for everyoneOlder style driver’s dash
Sport mode creates a better driving experienceNo automatic wipers

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine. 

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