2008 Kia Grand Carnival Review

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2008 Kia Grand Carnival Review and Road Test

Space, power, smooth & strong drivetrain, practical

Soft suspension, slightly wobbly body, styling a little dated

CarAdvice Rating: (3.75)

People movers are an interesting type of car to test. Mainly because you get stares whenever you drive past. They're not stares of wonderment and jealousy - no, those come with Aston Martins, Lamborghinis, or Bugattis.

In some people's eyes, there's nothing more wasteful (and pointless) than a guy driving a people mover around with no people to move. Funny though, when you've loaded it up, and have six or seven people inside, there's nary a second glance.

Of course, you're not going to rush out and buy one of these cars when you're a single bloke who's into clubbing and pubbing (if you are, then ignore that last sentence). This car is clearly aimed at the family market.

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Over the standard EX model, this brings side and curtain airbags, leather trim, electric sliding side doors (the cheapest car with this option), and steering wheel mounted controls. The test car also had ESP included - which also comes with the Premium Pack - and although it never had to be tested in itself, the included traction control is definitely necessary.

If you're, say, at a set of lights turning left, and you want to pull away quickly, it's a battle of kickback, tug-o-war, and steering control. Away from the war on overcoming inertia, the bus, oops, sorry, people-mover, drives pretty well.

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Handling is not exactly the forte of this breed of vehicle, however the Grand Carnival is quite adept at holding its line, with predictable bodyroll , yet never feels out of its depth. I suppose that's because you're never going to test this car with abandon.

When they are, you can keep an eye on them with the convex mirror that conveniently drops down from the roof, and the features keep on coming. The second row can slide backwards and forwards, the third row disappears completely into the floor, and even when the third row is erect, the boot space is still huge.

This is what separates this vehicle from other third row contenders. Even competitors can't match the Grand Carnival for size with the third row up. Alborz said that when its down, he though that you could store cattle in the back. Well, we've since found that someone uses one of these instead of a trailer.

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As far as the interior goes, it is a bit plasticky, yes, but then the Grand Carnival is value for money. Space for cash is one of its strong points. Thankfully, the stereo is very good, the seats are comfortable, and all side windows are powered. Even the rear side windows open outwards using a toggle switch on the driver's armrest.

It's never going to be a status symbol in the motoring world, but nor should it be frowned upon. As a family hack, the Grand Carnival is surprisingly easy to drive, quick, smooth and very practical.

As it stands, it's the best value-for-money people mover on offer today.

CarAdvice Overall Rating: (3.75)
How does it Drive:
How does it Look:
How does it Go:


  • Engine: 3.8-litre, V6-cylinder, transverse
  • Power: 184kW @ 6000rpm
  • Torque: 343Nm @ 3500rpm
  • Induction: Naturally aspirated multi-point injection
  • Transmission: Five-speed Tiptronic-style automatic
  • Top Speed: N/A
  • 0-100km/h: 10.5 seconds
  • 0-400m: Not tested
  • Fuel Consumption: 12.8-litres/100km (Combined)
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres
  • Fuel Type: 91RON petrol
  • EuroNCAP rating: Four star
  • Airbags: Front, Side, Seat & Curtain
  • Safety: ABS, DTCS, EBA, EBD,
  • Spare wheel: Space saver
  • Tow capacity: 2000kg (braked)
  • Turning Circle: 12.1m
  • Warranty: 5-year/Unlimited
  • Weight: 1498kg
  • Wheels: 16" Alloy