I bought my Kia Grand Carnival about six months ago after some careful research. I had read many reviews about the Grand Carnival, some of which were very negative but I was determined to give it a fair chance.
My main prerequisite was it had to have a lot of useful cargo space without being too van-like. No other large SUVs qualified (yes, I measured many with a tape measure!) and in the people mover segment, only the Kia Carnival allowed me to fold all the rear seats.
We only have one small toddler but I am also a professional musician who often needs to carry a full PA in the back, and also have a cleaning business. Occasionally I need to use it as a people mover and carry six to seven people, so it had to be versatile.
The Grand Carnival has performed magnificently and effortlessly in this respect. Passengers have even commented to me how comfortable the velour seats are, even the back row.
The V6 engine performs smoothly and has amazing torque. In fact, when I took it for a test drive the salesman managed to get wheel spin from the front wheels as we drove out of the car yard!
At the beginning one has to be careful not to push the accelerator too hard otherwise the result will be some tyre squeal!
I was a little apprehensive about fuel economy before I bought the Kia, but my concerns were put to rest quite quickly. Over 25 days of urban driving it averaged 12.9L/100 klm and on a weekend highway run with a full load only it was 10.7L/100klms. My old Nissan X-Trail, which I traded in, wasn't doing much better than that!
The interior is very roomy and gives a lovely feeling of space. Of course it IS a large car (particularly width) and you need to get used to it. I have only around 2"either side of my wing mirrors when entering my garage.
I love the deep well space at the rear where the third row seats are stowed. When they are in place I have a large sunken area for holding shopping, strollers, you name it!
However the lack of climate control on the air-con is a disappointment. Obviously on later models this would have been changed but twiddling those dials becomes something of an art.
I think the only trade off with this car is that it needs to have regular oil changes with good synthetic oil, being an alloy engine. Also the front tyres especially need regular rotation as being a front-wheel drive that's where the wear will be.
Overall I am really delighted with my Grand Carnival and it is living up to my expectations in every way. The bonus is even in 2017, I still have a year's factory warranty left on it which is extra insurance.
Note: stock image used for illustration purposes