Review: 2021 Kia Carnival

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

The days people movers were just ordinary vans with some extra seats is definitely over with the arrival of the all-new Kia Carnival. Even if you don't have a big family, you'll want to drive this luxurious, comfortable and futuristic vehicle. Let's take a closer look at why the Carnival - it is so much more than a people mover.

Initial Impression

Most people's first reaction when seeing the all-new Kia Carnival is 'look at that spaceship'.  Few vehicles - let alone people movers - look as futuristic as the Kia Carnival, with its distinctive grill, wrap around headlights and special 'art feature' on the rear side panel.  Gone are the days that people movers were boring vans, because the Kia Carnival is a very sophisticated vehicle that literally turns heads. Standing on large rims, it boasts a road presence like no other.  To think you can carry your whole family, plus their luggage and then some, in it is amazing.  Plus it drives & handles like a normal sedan; you don't notice its size at all.


The best description of driving the Kia Carnival is 'smooth as butter' - effortless and comfortable. The suspension in the Carnival is soft and let's you glide over the road, while the 3.5-litre petrol V6 (putting out 216kW at 6400rpm and 355Nm at 5000rpm) puts out plenty of power effortlessly. There is also a 2.2-litre turbo diesel (148kW/440Nm) available, but that one is less refined and powerful than the petrol version.

Thanks to the eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is a torque-converter type, the shifts are made smartly and smoothly without dramas. Though the Carnival is slightly wider & taller (10mm wider and 20mm taller to be exact) than its predecessor at 1995mm and 1775mm respectively, you don't feel the size when driving around. Nor does it show in its fuel usage at a miserly 8.5L/100km.


Where you do notice the size is inside the Carnival. Everything is large, from the seating to the gauge cluster, and from the mid console with entertainment screen to the boot. About the boot, it's huge! Folded down, the third row gives you 2461 litres (floor to ceiling). Even with the third row folded up there is still plenty for the seven passengers you then fit. And they'll be greeted by all the necessary features: USB points, cup holders, air vents and curtain airbags.

Going back to the infotainment screen: it's 12.3-inch and has all the features (including Apple Carplay & Android Auto) you can imagine, including a comfort sounds mode. You'll also find more air conditioning controls (front and back), air vents, USB points and cup holders in the middle, all within easy reach. Just like to outside, everything in the interior looks futuristic and very glossy. From the touch screens to the chromed buttons - a quality feel is guaranteed. Plus you can play around all day with the One-Touch Remote Start Loading for the boot and Automatic Sliding Doors.


The Kia Carnival starts with the base S version that comes with manual cloth seats, 8-inch infotainment and manual air conditioning, for just over $50k.

Want that large infotainment screen? Then you'll have to go for the Si, which add's 18-inch alloys, amongst other options, for just over $55k.

Another step up we find the SLi at just over $60k, which gets you synthetic leather trim, push-button start, power doors and electric seat adjustment.

Top-of-the-Line is the Platinum, which sits just under $70k and boosts a big list of options: heated and cooled front seats, electric adjustment, electric sliding doors and tailgate, heated second-row (outboard) seats, three-zone climate control, projector LED high- and low-beam lights to name a few.

Every variant in the range is covered by Kia’s seven-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty, along with seven-year roadside assist and capped-price servicing. With servicing, the Carnival needs to visit the workshop every 10,000km (or 12 months), and will cost $1382 over the first three years / $2573 over the first five years.


The Kia Carnival has proven that people movers can be fancy as well as practical. That's why it's been voted Drive Car of the Year People Mover for three years in a row! It's a futuristic, good looking and very well equiped car that despite its size, drives like a sedan, yet fits almost double the amount of people and stuff.

It will change your mind about people movers, but you'll only know when you experience it for yourself. Come & test drive one today at our Motorama Kia store at Moorooka or Browns Plains - we are Australia's #1 Kia dealer two years in a row!

Interested in a test drive?

Motorama Kia is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Kia team in Moorooka or Browns Plains.

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