Kia’s family-mover updated and safer

The current Kia Carnival has proven popular with families and business and rental fleets alike, thanks to its space and versatility.

The current Kia Carnival has proven popular with families and business and rental fleets alike, thanks to its space and versatility. In fact, Kia executives report it currently accounts for around 47 percent of the brand’s market segment, year to date.

Now, three-odd years since the third-generation of Kia’s people mover was launched, it’s been given a mid-life makeover. It’s what the industry these days likes to refer to as a life-cycle “product enhancement”.

Never mind industry-speak though, it translates as some mild external cosmetic changes, upgraded connectivity, improved road manners and driveability, enhanced equipment levels, and importantly, additional advanced safety features.

But as common wisdom has it, there’s no free lunches, and thus prices across the range have increased by fairly modest amounts. The new prices and increases are:

External styling has been refined, with new headlamps, a fresh take on the company’s ‘tiger-nose’ grille design, new front bumper and lower air intake with integrated fog lamps, revised rear bumper and rear combination lamps, and new alloy wheel designs. There’s eight exterior paint colours to choose from, including the new colours, Deep Chroma Blue and Panthera Metal.

Kia Carnival parked outside family home

Included in equipment updates is a new 7” audio head display on entry-level S models, instead of the previous 5” radio unit. And on remaining grades, there’s a new 8” colour touch-screen unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. A JBL premium sound system with eight speakers becomes standard on Si, SLi and Platinum variants.

Platinum models now feature self-levelling LED headlights as standard, instead of the previous model’s HID headlamps. An electronic park brake instead of the previous foot-operated park brake is an ergonomic improvement.

A major mechanical change is the adoption of an eight-speed auto gearbox of Kia’s own design, instead of the previous six-speed auto. The Lambda II 3.3-litre petrol V6 and 2.2-litre R-series turbo-diesel engines carry over but use slightly less fuel than before. Official combined consumption for the petrol model drops by 0.8 litres/100km to 10.8, while the diesel drops by 0.1 litres/100km to 7.6.

Suspension re-tuning by Kia Australia’s ride and handling specialist team has resulted in less body roll and improved road manners. The unique-to-Australia suspension tune changes include stiffer springs and revised damper settings.

Seats inside Kia Carnival

Buyers will welcome the safety technology enhancements the model upgrade brings. Autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, smart cruise-control, and lane departure warning system, previously only found on the top-of-the-range Platinum, have now cascaded down to the standard features list on all models.

All models still offer versatile seating for eight and four child-restraint points as standard.