Time for a Carnival

Posted: April 3, 2016 in All, Kia, New Car Reviews

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People movers, as they are commonly called, are hated by many but have become more popular than Donald Trump photo shopped meme’s. The reason is that they are, as I put it, stupidly practical. I caved a few years ago after our second born came into this crazy mixed up world and brought a people mover. Must have been a weak moment to get talked into buying one of these over-grown station wagons. But, haven’t looked back. What other vehicle can offer comfort and space for a tour of the South Island for 5 people and all the luggage needed for two weeks on the road? None.

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Not many makes in New Zealand offer people movers new off the dealers’ lots, but Kia is one. The Carnival has been a good seller for a while now but wasn’t the prettiest of cars on the road. But let’s face it, it would be fairly difficult to make a vehicle this size look pretty. But with the latest Carnival it would appear that Kia have done just that. Whilst it is not perfect the new Carnival is very easy on the eyes, only the rear end looks a little chubby and lacking shape on the tailgate. Everywhere else is looking sophisticated, clean and modern.

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Space inside is definitely not lacking with an easily re-arrange-able seating configuration, with the middle row of seats lifted and the back row lying flat you are left with a massive flat floor area that could easily accommodate six months’ worth of grocery shopping. The middle row lifting upwards and forward makes access to the rear seating extra easy. Even with the back row of seats in the upright position luggage space is very generous with a low floor in the back. Comfort is everywhere in here with separate climate air controls for all rows of seats. USB and 12 volt charging points right throughout this car come in handy for those kiddies in the back needing to charge their electronic devices. All because they can’t keep their nose out of the tablet for the 5 minute trip to school or the supermarket.

Up front, for the parents, the comfort levels are perfect with heated and cooled seats that are electrically adjustable with memory function. It also has dual climate air, great sound system with Bluetooth streaming and iPod connectivity. Some of the bells and whistles included with the Premium Diesel model tested include blind-spot detection, automatic headlight dimming, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, rear cross traffic alert for when reversing out of a driveway or parking spot, and, my all-time favourite, a very intelligent Smart Cruise Control. Just set the cruise control to your desired speed and when the car in front slows, the Carnival will slow, when they speed up the Carnival speeds up. Magic, just magic. Other vehicles we have tested have had these functions but none have worked as well as they do in the Carnival.

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Whilst this is an extremely large and heavy vehicle, weighing in at over 2 ton, the 2.2 litre CRDi DOHC turbo diesel engine has ample power (147kW) and an earth rotating 440Nm of torque, and economy is a very respectable 7.7 litres per 100 kilometres. You could easily travel well over 800 kilometres on one tank of fossil fuel. Pretty impressive for a car of this size and weight. Could probably get even better economy driven on the open road constantly.

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Kia New Zealand are offering the Australian Spec Carnival here which doesn’t come with rain sensing wipers or inbuilt DVD player which does seem a tad odd given all the other high end gadgets this car is equipped with. Whilst not having this, it by no means puts one off wanting to buy a carnival, after all you can fit an after-market DVD player and it isn’t that hard really to turn the wipers on manually. In fact, we fell in love with this beast of luxurious motoring and convenience so much that we will be buying one. I will often say whether or not I would buy a particular vehicle I’ve tested and when I say ‘yes, I would’ it doesn’t mean I would actually go out and buy it. This time is different, will we buy the latest Kia Carnival? Yes we would, and will! Might be this very press car when it is done with on the press fleet.

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The Carnival range:

2.2 EX Diesel – $49,990 +ORC

2.2 LTD Diesel – $58,990 +ORC

2.2 Premium Diesel – $65,990 +ORC (tested)

V6 3.3 LTD V6 Petrol – $56,990 +ORC

V6 3.3 Premium V6 Petrol – $63,990 +ORC

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