SUVs are more popular now than ever before – and seven-seat models remain a top choice for buyers with young kids.
But for similar money, those who need practicality ahead of potential off-road ability have options they may not have previously considered.
We’ve brought together two closely priced models to see which is a better family buy – the Ford Territory Titanium and the Kia Carnival Platinum.
So – should you buy an SUV or a people-mover? Let’s find out.
The Kia Carnival is fairly big thing, both inside and out. It’s longer, wider and taller than the Ford Territory.
The Carnival is front-wheel drive, which means there’s no complicated hardware under the floor of the vehicle. As a result, the boot of the Carnival is enormous with the seats in place and perhaps even more impressive when they’re folded away.
But there are a few things worth noting – these seats are a bit heavy, and the fact it’s front-drive means you can spin the wheels quite easily.
However, there is enough space to store several large suitcases with ease.
Move over to the Ford, and you instantly notice there’s not as much space as you get in the Carnival. The boot is smaller in all aspects – and because it’s all-wheel drive, the floor is higher and hard to load stuff in to. With the same amount of luggage, there’s noticeably less room. One thing that the Territory delivers on is the much-desired high driving position, and its true, you do sit up higher in the SUV.
However, the conventional doors means getting in and out of the rear row seats can be quite hard work. And there are only two back chairs, and they’re best left for littlies. If you plan to use the back seats a lot, the Carnival is a far more user-friendly thing. These huge sliding doors make for simple access, and the seats offer a clever fold-up function to make getting in and out easy, even for big units like myself. On top of that, the seating position is commanding enough, and the outward vision from the driver’s seat is excellent. Add to that the fact the Carnival has eight seats – or seven, if you remove the middle second row chair – and the Kia is a clear winner for those who will use their seats more of the time.
We understand the appeal of an SUV over a big people mover like the Carnival. But with a smaller engine producing almost identical amounts of power, the Kia still manages to be more efficient, lighter, and more spacious than the Territory. Buyers with big families - or ones that could grow, expectedly or otherwise, should definitely keep this people mover in mind.