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From Late June




Kia Carnival

September 10, 2020

Bowen's Report Card

Kia Carnival


In 2002 Federal Treasurer Peter Costello encouraged Aussies to procreate. The exact quote was “have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country”. At the time I was flat-out finding a girl, let alone doing the horizontal shuffle, but that’s probably more than you need to know. The eight seat KIA Carnival was created for those who took Pete’s advice very seriously. Heres my review of the range toping KIA Carnival Platinum.  


All jokes aside, there’s nothing in this category that even comes close to the Carnival. Our test car was powered by a 3.3-litre petrol V6, a unit with plenty of power courtesy of 206kW at 6,000rpm and 336Nm at 5,200rpm. Drive is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic, that has a manual mode you’ll never use. 

The problem with a perky petrol engine up front is getting power to the wheels. It’s very easy to chirp the tyres, so in order to save rubber a lighter right foot is preferable. 

What sets the Carnival aside is the fact it drives like an SUV. It’s not based on a commercial platform. Vans such at the Toyota Granvia or Hyundai iMax are great but lacking an enormous amount of polish. 

Personally, I would buy the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel variant. It’s more efficient and provides ample power. 

Value for money

$60,990 is the asking price for the Platinum model, that’s a stack of cash but I believe it’s justifiable. Fuel economy is rated at 10.8L/100km, the diesel a mere 7.6L/100km. It has a big 80-litre tank and can take 91RON or E10. Plus, there’s the long standing seven-year unlimited warranty.  

The Drive

The Carnival ride falls in the middle of a Kia Sorento or Nissan Pathfinder. There’s no denying the 2,146kg kerb weight, but it does an excellent job of masking it. You won’t be cornering like you’re in a Toyota 86, but the dynamics are still above and beyond any other van. 

The 19’’ rims aren’t really necessary, but aesthetically they jazz things up. But they also produce a firmer ride, also keep in mind there’s only a temporary spare. Overtaking is a breeze; you don’t have to closely pick your spot. The petrol Carnival really can take off like a rocket if required. The steering is light but given the big KIA will spend most of its days inside a Woolworths carpark, this is probably a good thing. 


The Carnival Platinum manages to cram in a far amount of gear. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported. Front and centre sits an 8’’ LCD touch screen, which is on the small side these days. Other hidden gems include smart cruise control to autonomously maintain a time gap between you can the vehicle in front. The instrument cluster has a 3.4’’ monochrome display and joined by a  7”color display. All I really cared about was having a digital speedo, which it does!  

I love the automatic high beam and the three USB charging ports, plus the heated steering wheel, yeah baby. 


Driver and passengers are well catered for. All seats are “leather appointed’’ which means there’s a bit of cow and splashes of synthetic material. The sliding doors on both sides open and close at the touch of a button. Up front are ventilated seats plus the Carnival Platinum scores tri-zone air conditioning, with controls in the rear. The front driver and passenger seats can be manipulated in eight different ways, while a two-way lumber support helps prevent paralysis after a long drive. 

What I love 

It’s all about the space, even with all three rows up, there is still massive 960-litres of boot space. Dropping the 3rd row gives you access to 2,220-litres, while a vast 4,022-litres is on tap with all seats down. This is a car designed with IKEA in mind. 


These days it’a punish to summarise all of the different systems designed to prevent a calamity. But some key features include, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, autonomous emergency braking and a 360-degree bird eye view reversing camera. 

Bowen’s report card

Nothing can touch the Carnival, including the Honda Odyssey. There’s a stigma attached to owning a Carnival, especially with blokes, which I get. But for a larger family the KIA Carnival Platinum is a sensational choice as the tribe’s primary car. It’s an 85 out of 100 from me.