By Amanda Mfuphi
SUVs are generally the flavor of town for most individuals or families that require more space from a car. Our feeling is that MPVs should certainly not be left out when one considers a vehicle that can cater for the needs of a growing family as these also present a good value proposition. We recently got to sample the Kia Carnival 2.2 CRDi SX Limited and were thoroughly impressed with this MPV. The Kia Carnival strikes the perfect balance of being family biased from a practicality and comfortability perspective, and retaining the driving pleasure for the driver. It also helps that the Kia Carnival has a beautiful exterior.
Eye-catching exterior design
Upfront, the Kia Carnival sports the new Kia badge, a large bold black grille with chrome detailing which is flanked by LED headlights. Our test unit was fitted with 19-inch aluminium wheels with black detailing and dual sunroofs for the front and rear occupants. The rear has LED taillights and roof spoiler accompany by a roof fin.
Spacious, posh interior
The interior presents a luxurious appearance, with the dashboard featuring gloss black finishes and chrome detailing, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a wireless charging pad. Adding to the luxury feel of the Kia Carnival are the door panels and armrests which are padded with soft touch leather materials. The cabin presents ample space for occupants and the deep boot offers ample luggage space for occupants even with the third-row seats up.
Comfortable drive to the coast
Our time with Kia Carnival saw us driving down to Durban with a family of 5 and the Kia Carnival proved to be equal to the task with the cabin offering sufficient comfort for all occupants. The front occupants get electrically operated seats with heating and colling functionality, 3 USB ports and a dedicated sunroof. Rear passengers are not left out with their own temperature control, 2 USB ports on the second row and 2 USB ports on the third row, and a dedicated sunroof. Second row occupants also benefit from captain seats which can be reclined for more comfort. Thanks to the 7 USB ports, there were no fights relating to charging of phones on our trip. The 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay kept us entertained throughout with decent sound from the speakers.
Piloting the large MPV is safe and was made seamless by a 360-degree camera setup and blind spot assist due to the size and length of the vehicle. Other safety features of the Kia Carnival include lane departure warning, driver attention monitor, safe exit warning, lane following assist, front and front side airbags, driver’s knee airbags, and curtain airbags for all three rows. Our test unit also came with adaptive cruise control and steering assist.
The Kia Carnival is powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine which pushes out 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque. The diesel engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. We were fortunate to have the Kia Carnival on a weekend that coincided with a long trip as we got to experience it thoroughly. Driving the Kia Carnival was an absolute delight, we found the 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine to be refined, powerful and well matched to 8-speed automatic gearbox. The cabin is also well-insulated, fending off the diesel noise and wind noise quite well. We also managed commendable 7.2/100km fuel consumption on our return trip to Durban, which is quite decent for a vehicle of this size. Perhaps to illustrate the decent fuel consumption, we did our trip to Durban with just over a quarter of a tank and were left with over half a tank to spare for our time in Durban.
Our test unit Kia Carnival 2.2 CRDi SX Limited retails for R999,995 and the range starts at R799,995. The new Carnival comes with a 5-year/unlimited-km warranty and a 6-year/90 000 km maintenance plan.
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