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Kia Carnival EX (2007)
There’s no funny business about Kia’s eight-seat Carnival.
Since 1999, this sharply priced, big selling and spacious Korean has been one of the powers of the people mover scene. For large families on a budget, few other vehicles fit the bill.
The new VQ model is improved in most senses, however the lap-only centre seatbelts have regrettably made the transition.
Those two seatbelts blight a sound safety package that can even be optioned up on automatic models to include side and curtain airbags plus electronic stability control ($1800 extra).
Equipment levels are otherwise decent, with anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA) leading the charge. Sliding and removable rear rows, an alarm and multi-row airconditioning are also on the list.
Inside, Carnival has an abundance of storage space. Passenger space in the second row is good, although the dimensions shrink in the third row. Sliding rear row rows aid interior flexibility, however boot room is poor when passenger space is at its maximum.
The ergonomics are not ideal, with a reach to the radio, an upright feel to the seating position, no steering reach adjustment and visibility-sapping A pillars.
With the exception of a raised and narrow middle third row spot, Carnival’s seats are soft, broad and acceptable, rather than cosseting on long hauls.
The old, noisy 2.5-litre heart has been dropped in favour of a smoother and slightly more powerful V6 unit of 2.7 litres. The down side is 2048 kg of kerb weight. Fully loaded it may struggle.
Carnival’s engine revs well and picks up from mid-range. However, even driving solo, its four-speed automatic strains on hills, making the sequential shift a necessity. A strange flat spot around 2000 revs also afflicted our test car.
The brakes are average, with some softness in the pedal and a tendency to dive under emergency stops.
Being a tall sort, there’s the prerequisite body roll in cornering and fair grip levels. The steering is predictably light and accurate, but lacks feel. The steering wheel kickback on rough roads is a surprise.
The ride is comfy on smooth surfaces but Carnival gets unsettled up front when the road turns gnarly.
Noise levels are pretty good, with minor levels of A-pillar ‘rush’ and the usual full-throttle engine noise.
Space, price, ride, NVH
Centre lap-seatbelts, performance, brakes
|Price when new
||$34 990 MLP
|Current price range
$ - $
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||2.7-litre V6, with CVVT
||136 kW@ 6000 rpm
||246 Nm @ 4000 rpm
|Acceleration to 100 km/h
|Braking from 80 km/h
||11 litres/100 km
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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.