The Kia Carnival is what you buy when you’re done owning a Toyota Innova; it’s the next big thing you can buy. The Carnival is bigger, more luxurious and has more power too. Also, the base version of the Carnival is as expensive as the top-of-the-line model of the Innova.
The first thing you notice about the Kia Carnival is its size. It cannot be mistaken for being anything other than an MPV. Up-front, it gets a large grille, flanked by huge headlights. The front bumper looks nice and shapely with cube-like fog lamps. Along the sides, it gets a prominent character line, 18-inch alloy wheels with a chrome finish and that long wheelbase cannot go unnoticed. At the rear, you will see a neatly integrated spoiler, rectangular tail lights and a skid plate on the lower half of the bumper. The Kia Carnival uses a monocoque construction and a front-wheel drive layout.
There’s a massive amount of room inside the Kia Carnival and the huge windshield adds to an even roomier effect. Visibility from the front is fantastic and the cabin oozes quality. The dashboard sports a padded look along with some chrome details and knurled knobs. The dashboard is user-friendly and it features an 8.0-inch touchscreen and central console buttons that are easy to use. Comfort at the front is great and you can get into the back with the help of the power-sliding doors. The doors open up wide but getting in will need some climbing into. Also, the grab-handle on the B-pillar helps when getting into the second row. The Carnival is sold in three variants: Premium, Prestige and Limousine. Some of the features include projector headlamps, three-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, power-sliding rear doors, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a rear-view camera and auto headlights. It’s difficult to compare cars when it comes to space in the Carnival.
The Carnival is powered by a BS6-compliant, 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 197bhp and 440Nm of torque. However, we must also keep in mind the sheer heft of the Carnival. The engine is quite good in nature and while you do have power, speed increases in a relaxed manner. Throttle response is good and there’s sufficient power on reserve. However, the engine is far from being ‘punchy’. And when you put your foot down on the throttle suddenly, the 8-speed torque converter automatic isn’t immediate to respond. It pauses during kickdown acceleration, but if you’re ambling along at sedate speeds, the engine and gearbox work in perfect harmony. The transmission is slick and shifts up well, keeping up with the revs. Engine refinement leaves nothing to complain about. You don’t get too much of the road noise inside and the tyres do a swell job in smothering all the uneven bits. Even on highways, the Carnival feels sure-footed and safe. It handles speeds with confidence and the steering gives you a positive sense of control. However, don’t expect this MPV to change directions quickly because of what of the length it has to lug around.
Soft, not floaty
The suspension do feel supple on road ripples and you can feel it particularly at the back. The ride isn’t floaty and it soaks in bumps remarkably well at low speeds with the worst bumps being taken in its stride. However, its 180mm ground clearance surprisingly isn’t enough when it comes to dealing with speed-breakers as the underbelly scrapes when the MPV is full of people. The size might be an issue for customers who live in cluttered cities, but the steering is easy to twirl, plus the parking sensors are put to good use. The Carnival doesn’t have any direct rival to compare cars with.