Let’s begin with a family background. So five kids, within seven years. We had a Mercedes GL350 7-seater, but with the cost of ongoing maintenance and the kids climbing around inside it, we thought it was time for a van for my wife.
My daily driver is an 8-seater Land Cruiser 200 series. But with such a small boot, it is not suited to a young family with a pram and the daily grind.
We looked at the Mercedes vans but they were too pricey. We considered the Toyota Tarago but it really wasnt as family friendly as either the Honda Odyssey or (as we discovered) a Kia Carnival. With the absolutely huge boot, which fits a pram, our son’s special-needs walker, shopping and bags, we were quickly impressed with the Kia.
With a test drive and after looking over the model variants, we were sold on the Platinum with the automatic doors, LED headlights, heated and cooled seats and even a heated steering wheel!!!
We have removed the centre seat from the middle row to allow ease of access for the kids to the third row.
My only regret is purchasing the petrol model instead of the diesel, as it is thirsty in start and stop traffic at the school drop-off times. We now average 14L/100km, but initially the figure was around 18-20L/100km.
The only flaws are that Kia argue with us on each and every warranty item we’ve ask to be fixed. Sometimes they’ve just flat-out said, “No.” A replacement key was quoted at $1,000 as it controls the doors and boot (thankfully we found ours in the end). Also the head unit is temperamental and doesn’t always do as you ask.
We have, in 2 years of ownership, had the interior lights fail twice and a split CV boot. So no major issue whatsoever.
It does go through front tyres, but it is a heavy car.
As a car person (five cars currently in my ownership) I truly enjoy driving our Kia Carnival, as it does not feel like a van and it is very enjoyable.
Other features my wife loves are :
- The 360 degree cameras when parking
- A sensor goes off when reversing out of the driveway if there is a car coming.
- the boot; she can fit in the five kids and a load from Costco.
- electric memory seats
- automatic doors and boot; all can be controlled from the drivers seat.
Some things we would like to see improved:
- head unit; when it is turned off, changing out of reverse gear turns it back on with the volume loud.
- fuel economy
- cheaper spare tyres
NOTE: With no image supplied, we have used a CarAdvice photo for this story.