After making a successful entry in the Indian market with Seltos SUV, Kia Motors is now ready to launch its second product – the Carnival premium MPV. Most Indians believe that the Kia Carnival will challenge the Toyota Innova Crysta. Well, that’s not right. It will create an all-new segment, which will sit right above the Crysta. To make things easier to understand, the Kia Carnival will cost you similar to some premium 7-seater SUVs like the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour.
In fact, the Carnival is significantly bigger, more feature loaded and more powerful than the Crysta MPV. With this MPV, Kia will target buyers looking for luxurious and feature-loaded car and have had no other option than the Crysta. It will be available in 3 trims – Premium, Prestige and Limousine. While the Premium and Prestige are available with the 8- and 9-seat options, the Limousine variant is offered with 7-seat options. The MPV gets a single 2.2-litre diesel engine with a single 8-speed automatic gearbox option.
Instead of talking too much about styling, here I will talk about the positives and negatives of this MPV. Well, the Kia Carnival has lots of positive points; however, there are some negative aspects as well. Let’s talk about positives first –
It’s big and handsome
Generally, people do not associate MPVs with its looks and the focus is entirely on the interior comfort and feel. Despite measuring over 5 meters in length (precisely 5,140mm), the Carnival manages to look handsome. In fact, a lot of on goers have stopped to click pictures, which shows that the MPV has managed to create buzz in the market. The MPV has some interesting design elements, like the well-proportionate front fascia featuring the signature Tiger Nose grille with chrome treatment, large LED projectors and the uniquely-styled ice cube-like fog lights and a skid plate.
The highlight is the side profile, which despite being huge manages to look smart. Strong shoulder line, blackened treatment for the C- and D-pillar, and large 18-inch alloys are some of the styling elements. In fact, the roof is smartly designed that has sloping effect moving backward. It has long overhang, and fairly conventional-looking rear profile. The MPV has roof-integrated spoiler with LED stop-light and LED tail-lamps, and large skid plate at the bottom of the bumper.
The Kia Carnival will be introduced as a CKD model. It comes with solid interior with excellent plastic quality and fit and finish. We drove the top-spec Carnival Limousine variant, which is a 7-seater. The dashboard design is simple, yet functional and has soft-touch materials along with chrome highlights and glossy treatment. It comes with Nappa-leather seats, which feels premium. The second-row of seats is the major talking point, as it offers lots of space, premium feel and several features like laptop charging point, air purifier, sunroof, USB charger and multiple adjustment options for the seats.
The Kia Carnival is equipped with several segment-leading comfort and convenience features. There are some smart features like the powered sliding rear doors, which can be operated using a single touch on button placed on door handle or via the key fob. 10.1-inch touchscreen for the rear passengers’ entertainment, an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, Harman sourced 8-speaker music system, UVO Connect (37 Connected Car Features), 3-zone climate control, dual-sunroof, cruise control, electronic parking brake, multi-functional steering wheel, 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with ventilation, tilt and telescopic adjustment for steering wheel, wireless charger and many more.
For passengers’ safety and security, the MPV has long range of features like 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, brake assist, front and rear parking sensors, reverse camera, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), traction control, rollover mitigation, cornering braking system, and many more.
Like we mentioned before, the Kia Carnival has Nappa leather seats with multiple adjustment functions. The front seats hold you nice, offering excellent legroom, headroom and thigh support. Driver’s seat can be adjusted electronically, while the co-passenger will have to adjust the seat manually. The top-spec Limousine variant comes with two captain seats for the second row. The seats can be adjusted according to the passengers’ need (Can be reclined, move forward and backward, along with additional leg support).
The Kia Carnival is powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is paired to an 8-speed torque convertor automatic gearbox. This engine is capable of producing 200PS (197bhp) at 3,800rpm and 440Nm of torque. Based on the front-wheel-drive monocoque platform, the Kia Carnival offers excellent ride quality. The company has tweaked the suspension set-up to suit the Indian road conditions. Despite being over 5 meters in length, the Carnival feels planted and less bumpy even during triple digit speeds. The suspension set-up is really good on absorbing bumps and road undulations. The steering feedback is pretty decent as well, offering stable ride on highways.
– Too many manual inputs/efforts
Kia Motors claim that the Carnival’s second row is designed to give world-class experience to passengers. The MPV gets separate 10.1-inch touchscreens for rear passengers’ entertainment along with laptop charger, air purifier, separate air-cooling system, nappa leather seats and lots of space to enjoy the ride. What’s annoying is that you need to put in lots of efforts to enjoy all the comfort and luxury feel that Kia claims.
This big sized MPV is designed to give world-class feel to rear occupants, but Kia offers the second row of seats with manual adjustment features. Not just one, there are four different types of levers (for recline, for enhanced leg support, for side movement and for sliding forward and backward) to operate or adjust the second row of seats. And, all these levers are very confusing and one needs to practice at-least couple of times before doing it correctly. On the flip side, the drivers’ seat comes with 10-way electrically adjustable function along with ventilation. As a buyer, i would feel little disappointed as my driver will enjoy the technology and i need to do all the manual efforts to enjoy my second row of seats.
Adding to it, the spare wheel is placed under the second row of seats and one need to remove the entire floor matte to access the wheel. Adding to it, folding the third row of seats to create extra luggage space also take manual efforts.
– It’s heavy
The Kia Carnival Limousine variant weighs around 2.2 tonnes, which means its power to weight ratio is similar to the Innova’s 2.8L diesel version. In fact, you can feel the weight of the car during initial revs; however, it starts working fine on higher revs and speeds. While on ECO mode, the Carnival isn’t exciting and one can feel the lack of power during acceleration; however, things change as soon as you put the car on Sport mode. The engines feel lively and perform really well even on triple digit speeds.
– Third row-seats not good for long drives
For this big MPV, one can expect spacious and comfortable third row of seats. While reaching third row is not a big challenge, the seats are placed upright and won’t offer good thigh support for a long drive. The space is decent, but rear passengers’ will have to sit upright with limited thigh support. The third row of seats is good for kids or adults can use this space for short duration.
– Tight steering not good for city traffic
As we mentioned before, the Carnival’s steering is slightly on a heavier side. It works smoothly on highways, and you will feel confident doing triple digit speeds on highways. However, it becomes a problem as soon as you encounters the city traffic and stop and go traffic. Kia should have tuned the steering of Carnival keeping city traffic in mind.