Kia Carnival Platinum petrol quick review

By Cameron Kirby, 19 Jul 2017 Car Reviews

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Kia Carnival Platinum petrol quick review

Kia’s seven-seat tribal transport goes for a high-country escape

Tell me about this car

Kia’s family-friendly SUV alternative, the Carnival, is a seven-seat people mover designed to transport an entire tribe in comfort and style. The Platinum is the flagship spec, and comes with a simple but effective brief – moving people. We put it to the test by loading it with six adults and heading for the high country for a weekend retreat. Spoiler alert: It’s bloody brilliant.

Strengths

  • Space. The Carnival offers it in spades. All three rows are comfortable for full-sized adults, even on long trips.
  • Accessibility. Powered sliding doors can take a bit getting used to at the first experience, but quickly become a little joy. Entering and exiting the Carnival is a breeze, with the second row smoothly folding to a standing position to allow adult-sized third row occupants to enter with ease. The third row can also be folded flat in no time at all thanks to an intuitive operation that only requires a single hand.
  • Storage. The cabin of the Kia is filled with innovative and well-thought-out nooks and crannies for phones, sunglasses, bottles, and anything else you may need for a roadtrip with the gang. Each row has multiple cupholders, and the centre console box is cavernous.

  • Equipment. Sat-nav, cruise control, Bluetooth, power doors and tailgate, heated and cooled front seats, and heated steering wheel means Carnival owners aren’t left wanting for much. Built-in sunblinds for the second row are a nice addition and great for keeping kids sunsmart, while multiple USB and 12V outlets for each row will help keep your companions entertained.
  • Parking Cameras. The Carnival is a very large car, measuring in at over five meters long. The 360-degree camera array means parking the beast isn’t harder than docking a cruise ship.
  • Style. This isn’t a hum-drum beige people mover. It’s mostly personal taste, but the Carnival has a restrained and sophisticated styling which could be argued as attractive.
  • Ride. The suspension tune for the Kia Carnival belies its bus-like capabilities. It is never a hassle in tight urban environments, was smooth and poised on corrugated dirt roads, and soaked up large bumps with suppleness even when fully loaded.

Weaknesses

  • Fuel consumption. The 206kW/336Nm 3.3-litre V6 gives the Carnival plenty of get up and go, but the tradeoff is a hefty fuel bill. An average consumption of 11.6L/100Km and an 80-litre tank can make long trips a real pain for the hip pocket. The power and torque of that tractable V6 is sweet compensation for the guzzling though, while a diesel option is available.
  • Throttle calibration. It should be noted there is only one throttle setting, requiring some pre-planning and considered throttle application on hilly roads to maintain a constant speed. There is a lack of sensitivity in the calibration of the right pedal, so be prepared to squeeze the accelerator more than you would in other vehicles.

Rivals?

Mazda CX-9, Kia Sorento, Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, Toyota Kluger, Volkswagen Multivan, Hyundai Santa Fe, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Odyssey, Holden Captiva