After the successful launch of Kia Seltos SUV, the Korean car maker will now introduce Carnival, its first multi-purpose vehicle. Forget top-end Toyota Innova Crysta, this vehicle is much more premium, larger and more luxurious MPV and its real competition will be vehicles such as Mercedes-Benz V-Class. The Carnival is meant for buyers who want something luxurious.
The Carnival offers the option of choosing from 7-, 8- or 9-seats. The 7-seater seats occupants in a 2+2+3 layout, the 8-seater in a 2+3+3 layout, while the 9- seater is unique for its four-row (2+2+2+3) layout. The Carnival 7-seater will be available in all three trims of Premium, Prestige and Limousine, with the 8- and 9-seat versions solely available in Premium and Prestige, respectively. At present, there is only one engine-gearbox for India, that is a 2.2-litre BS6 diesel mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox.
The first thing you notice is its big size. Measuring 5,115mm long, 1,985mm wide and 1,755mm tall, the Carnival is huge. The size brings before you the picture of Mercedes-Benz V-Class. It sports well-defined front face with its imposing grille and large headlamps to impress that it is a premium vehicle. The sculpted front bumper, unique ice cube-like fog lights and a skid plate add some character too. The shoulder line, and the sleek 18-inch alloy wheels uplift the Carnival’s profile, even if the massive 3,060mm wheelbase remains the focal point at the sides. The long rear overhang leads into an upright tail that's embellished with a roof spoiler, smart-looking tail-lamps and a skid plate at the base of the bumper.
Once you enter, it is roomy inside, offering genuinely luxury experience. The large windshield and glasshouse accentuates the feeling of space. The front seats provide a great outside visibility for the driver and the passenger. The padded finish of the dashboard, the chrome details and knurled knobs are rich. The 8.0-inch touchscreen and centre console buttons are easy to reach and access.
It is easy to enter into the second and third row via the powered sliding rear doors, which can be operated through door handles, overhead controls at the front and the key fob. The middle-row captain’s seats on the 7-seat Carnival Limousine get reclinable backrests, can be slid back to maximise legroom and also feature fold-out leg rests. The Nappa leather-upholstered seats are as plush as they look. Kia has also equipped the top-end Carnival with dual 10.1-inch rear touchscreens with screen mirroring, HDMI and internet (via mobile hotspot), to get connected and watch your favourite shows.
The Limousine trim has navigation, a sweet-sounding 8-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, air purifier and Kia’s UVO e-SIM-based connected tech. The Carnival gets 37 connected features and you can operate certain features via a new smartwatch app.
The Drive Experience
The BS6-compliant 2.2-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine which produces 200hp and 440Nm of torque is a joy to drive around in low or high speed. Driving in Hyderabad the MPV’s throttle responses were good at all speeds and I felt that there is always a reserve of power on call. With such a big size, there is no noise and the engine on the whole is truly refined and impressive.
The Carnival is safe and secure on highways as it cruises along with confidence and the driver gets a good sense of control at the steering wheel. Interestingly, the speed bump absorption is really good with the suspension successfully filtering out the worst of our roads. Though, the steering is easy enough to twirl, parking may not be that easy in congested city roads despite parking sensors for the sheer size of the vehicle.
Should I buy it?
The Carnival is meant for well-heeled buyers looking for comfort and luxury experience. It is practical, plush, powerful and pleasant to drive and meant for large families for a peaceful joy ride. At present, it has no competition but if priced under `30 lakh, it will be a hands down winner. Kia will announce the price at Auto Expo 2020 in February.