Kia Carnival: Big,really big on INNOVAtion

While the Carnival is expected to be priced marginally more than the top-spec Toyota Innova Crysta or Touring Sport, its real competition is vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz V-Class

By:Published: January 25, 2020 11:39:32 AM

Kia’s multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), the Carnival, is big. How big? So big that if you drive it to, say, a mall parking in most cities, it might be a challenge to park it. So big that seven, eight or even nine people can sit inside, comfortably. But big is a bus as well; a modern vehicle has to be big on innovation. Where does the Carnival stand? We drive it in and around Hyderabad.

What is the Carnival?

It’s a minivan, or MPV, manufactured by Kia Motors. It was first launched globally in 1998, and now is in its third generation. In some countries, it’s called the Sedona. It looks extravagant, but I won’t call it a looker. How many vans anyway are?

How big/plush is it?

It’s so big that it makes even Toyota Innova Crysta look like a junior. There is enough space inside to play football! The plastic quality and the fabric used are top-rated—it matches what you find in German luxury cars. You can choose seating options: seven, eight or even nine seats. It’s plush, and how! The variant I drove (seven seats) has entertainment screens for rear passengers, business class-like lounge seats, air purifier, three climate control zones … you name a luxury feature and it’s there. But for all its plushness, the rear view camera has poor resolution. It’s innovative, and how! Even with all three rows upright, there’s enough luggage space, and the third-row seats sink into the floor to create a large floor. The second row seats not only move back and forth, but also left and right. The rear seat doors slide, so even if you are parked in a tight space, passengers can easily get in or out.

Which engines power it?

There’s just one diesel engine—the 2.2-litre unit producing peak power of 197bhp and 440Nm torque, and it’s BS6-compliant. It doesn’t have a manual gearbox, but the 8-speed Sportsmatic transmission.

How does it drive?

It’s a bulky vehicle, but surprisingly peppy to drive—you honestly won’t expect such a big car to be so quick. The suspension is soft, tuned for maximum passenger comfort. Even if you are driving or getting driven on bad roads, you might feel you’re sitting in the comfort of a sofa in a plush lounge of a star-rated hotel. Once you close the windows, almost no sound enters the cabin—so good are NVH levels.

Is it a connected car?

Like the Seltos, the Carnival also gets the company’s UVO connected car technology, available for both Android and iOS. Like the Seltos, it can also be tracked remotely, and sitting in your office you can switch on the engine and the AC (using the UVO app on your smartphone). You can even check tyre pressure on the app, as well as fuel level.

How much will it cost?

It’s incorrect to directly compare the Carnival with the Innova (whose maximum price is about Rs 24 lakh). Yet if Kia wants to make it popular, the starting ex-showroom price for maybe a stripped-down version of the Carnival has to be in the range of Rs 25 lakh (the variant in these photos is ultra-luxurious, and might be priced in the range of Rs 35 lakh). That pushes the Carnival in the luxury car territory—and there’s just one similar vehicle out there right now, Mercedes-Benz V-Class (about Rs 70-odd lakh).

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