CarAdvice's spy photographers captured the third-generation people-mover outside the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Centre in Russelsheim, giving us our first look at the new eight-seater that's set to be unveiled in 2014.
Though well disguised by a zebra-pattern wrap and heavy black cladding over the front, rear and door panels, the images reveal the new Grand Carnival’s basic shape and key design elements.
Having been introduced in 2006, the eight-seat Grand Carnival is the oldest model in Kia’s global portfolio, and the last one to benefit from an overhaul under the styling direction of chief designer Peter Schreyer.
The new model gets a shorter front overhang and a fresh face defined by sleeker horizontal headlights and a broad grille with thin slats. The grille takes a higher and more prominent position, while the bonnet is flatter with the ground and the windscreen more heavily raked – like the Kia KV7 concept – creating a more car-like appearance.
Small windows in front of the side mirrors have been added for improved visibility, and it appears the third seating row’s side windows are narrower than the front two as the sliding door panels kink up towards the rear.
Horizontal tail-lights appear to span the rear quarter panels and tailgate, seemingly drawing inspiration from the smaller seven-seat Kia Rondo MPV.
A sticker on the test car reveals the prototype is equipped with a 2.2-litre engine and an automatic transmission, suggesting the four-cylinder R-Line diesel engine will carry over from the current second-gen model.
CarAdvice understands safety has been a key focus during the development of the new Kia Grand Carnival, with the current model getting only a lap seatbelt in the second-row and scoring a four-star ANCAP safety rating in 2006. The new model will feature safer lap-sash belts in all seating positions, and is targeting the maximum five-star crash test rating.
The Kia Grand Carnival is expected to be unveiled at the New York auto show in April, with production set for mid year and an Australian introduction likely in the final quarter of 2014.