The 2015 Kia Carnival is the most practical and technologically-advanced people mover for the money, but do its paper credentials justify its purchase?
As far as people movers go, it’s a segment that has been eroded by the popularity of SUVs, which provide similar levels of practicality without van-like characteristics.
Penned under the watchful eye of former-Audi designer Peter Schreyer, the new Carnival is a giant step up from its predecessor, a theme that continues inside.
The interior quality and fit and finish is the best Kia has ever done. The materials and fabrics are a cut above what we expected, and the creative use of colours to highlight features combine to set the benchmark for its class.
In all grades above S, there’s an 8.0-inch satellite navigation system that doubles as a media player (USB or DVD) that further improves the cabin ambience.
The satellite navigation works well and difficult to use, though it could take a while to get used to the strange structuring of the menus.
In the top-spec Platinum models there’s also a 7.0-inch TFT supervision display in the instrument cluster.
There is tri-zone air conditioning covering all rows in Si and above, as well as four USB ports to keep the gadgets juiced up. All models include a potentially life saving reversing view camera plus rear parking sensors.
The eight fabric (or leather) seats are comfortable and are coated in stain resistance material, meaning any accidental spills or melted chocolate will not be as big of an issue.
They are eight actual seats, too, so normal people can fit in each. The third row’s three seats are perhaps best left for people shorter than 180 centimetres, but that will hardly be an issue for the car’s buyer group. The fact of the matter is, if you need to carry five or more people with plenty of space to go with it, there’s no better choice for the price.
This top spec Platinum model even picks up heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated outer seats in the second row.
The Kia Carnival has six-airbags including full-length curtain protection, and all the electronic traction and nanny controls you can think of.
There are four child seat anchor points, but only three of them are ISOFIX compatible, which is unbeaten as far as we can tell and allows the super-safe seats to be installed.
There are 10-cup holders and four bottle holders for example, or a storage space large enough to fit a few iPads and then some. With the sheer flexibility of the seats, the Carnival can accomodate plenty of luggage, or even swallow a canoe if it needs to.
It’s a vehicle designed with kids in mind, and that makes it an ideal place for big families that take trips together.