Drive Car of the Year 2021 - Best People Mover
The Kia Carnival has won this segment for the past two years, but we couldn’t call ourselves good automotive journalists if we didn’t do an annual check-up on how the class-leader stacks up against its peers. After not much debate but with plenty of seats for us all, the judging team whittled the contender list down to three.
Our top three all offer spacious cabins designed to carry the whole tribe, plus baggage, but they each try to solve the perfect people-moving recipe in different ways – albeit without looking or being too much like a van. It’s interesting because this class is often shunned by the families that need it most, allured by low-slung SUVs only to find they need to comprise on third-row compatibility and cargo space, just so they cannot drive a ‘minivan’.
Our challengers begin with the Toyota Granvia VX, representing a step away from the brands long-standing family-favourite Tarago, into a multi-person vehicle with commercial underpinnings, but more luxurious styling. The Mercedes-Benz V-Class continues the more van-esque exterior in this class but maintains the height of technology, safety and refinement expected from the three-pointed star. And lastly, the Kia Carnival is, well, an unabashed people mover, complete with impressive styling and remains very good at its core role.
And the Winner is...
The new Carnival offers more space, practicality and updated safety technology in a modern and stylish and package. Driving a people mover has never looked so good.
As mentioned before, the discussion point in the Drive office in regard to this segment is a lot of people who need the practicality, space and versatility people movers offer, will find any excuse not to buy one because they don’t want to drive a minivan. We get that.
But what the Kia Carnival offers is sensational for families, the most space, the most standard safety equipment and yet it is the most affordable amongst its peers. Backed by a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty, and it is just a walk across the showroom from the new SUV you’re already looking at.
Read the full comparison at Drive.com.au