Kia's big Carnival people mover will get Sorento-like styling and should be in Australia by early 2021.
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UPDATE: The new 2021 Kia Sorento has now been revealed. Details here.

A revealing new sketch of the next-generation 2021 Kia Carnival has been handed down today, offering a clear look at what's to come.

Following in the tracks of the current model, this new model will again bless the Carnival badge with the sort of powerful proportions that get dads reconsidering the notion that they'd never be seen driving a people mover.

Where Honda's Australian-delivered Odyssey moved away from the wagon shape to a very 'JDM' van-oriented design, Kia did the reverse: more of a bus in generations past, the Carnival took on a more imposing, America-focused look for its third-generation rebirth in 2014.

Of course, the guard-filling 30-inch hoops of this sketch should probably not be taken too seriously…

For its new 2021 incarnation, the Carnival will take a cue from the related new Sorento SUV, with harder angles and a new-look front end that further evolves the familiar 'tiger nose' grille design.

In this newest form, the grille appears to have a smaller, more subtle tab at the bonnet edge, highlighting the lower indent instead.

Slim headlights flank the grille, with a stepped LED lighting signature running under the driving lamps before reaching up and over to the grille.

As with the new Sorento, the next-gen Carnival will ride on a new platform that will better accommodate a hybrid option, although Kia has not yet confirmed powertrain details.

Nonetheless, reports in recent months have pointed to options that include the Hyundai group's 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor hybrid system (169kW/350Nm combined), along with its new 207kW/421Nm 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine.

If the Sorento is any indication, though, Australian models will stick with the 206kW/336Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine and the upgraded 149kW/440Nm 2.2-litre diesel.

When will the 2021 Kia Carnival come to Australia?

Kia's local arm is still to confirm timing for an Australian debut.

The new Carnival will go on sale in Korea in the third quarter of 2020, which will likely lead to an early 2021 debut for Australia.

The Carnival remains a strong seller in Australia, comfortably owning the people-mover segment.

In 2019, VFACTS data showed a total of 6493 registrations for the Carnival, compared to 1684 for the Odyssey. Others, like the Volkswagen Multivan, Hyundai iMax, LDV G10 Wagon and the iconic Toyota Tarago (now succeeded by the Granvia) all sold fewer than 1000 vehicles each for all of 2019.

UPDATE: The new 2021 Kia Sorento has now been revealed. Details here.

Below: the current Kia Carnival