Bigger boot SUV for large family Kia Carnival Platinum 2021 review

Review of Kia Carnival Platinum: A winning combo of room and thrifty engine

This was once the favored vehicle for huge families, and there are persuasive reasons to chose it over an SUV.

People-movers used to be the vehicle of choice for big households, but SUVs have driven them out of the spotlight. However, if you need to easily seat eight people, take a look at this.

Five things you need to hear about Kia Carnival are here.

1 It's the new Tarago, for instance.

For decades, the now-defunct Toyota Tarago was the go-to ride for larger communities, but the Carnival finally supplanted it. The Carnival beat the Toyota favorite at its own game, taking roughly half of the people-mover market, thanks to more room, a longer seven-year warranty, and the option of a fuel-efficient diesel engine. No other people-mover has enough room to swallow eight individuals and their baggage, other than maybe Hyundai's dated iMax. To put this in context, with the third row occupied, the Carnival has more luggage space than a Toyota Prado or Kluger with the third-row seats folded down.

The new Kia Carnival is more spacious and safer than the previous edition.
The new Kia Carnival is more spacious and safer than the previous edition.
2. It's more than just a one-trick pony.

The Carnival provides more than just acres of land. To keep the family happy and, almost as importantly, busy on long road trips, all three rows have their own air vents and USB ports. It also has a smart intercom system that amplifies the sound of the driver through the rear speakers so that when taking Macca's instructions, you do not have to yell. Both the sliding side doors and the tailgate are electric and can be unlocked with the key fob remotely, while a manual but fuss-free method is to get into the third row.

The Carnival can comfortably seat eight.
The Carnival can comfortably seat eight.
3. The price tag is overwhelming.

Any of this real estate and technology is not inexpensive. Our diesel Platinum test vehicle costs $69,990 on the track, but a cheaper variant can be had for about $50,000. The 3.5-litre V6 petrol variant is $2000 less expensive, but it wouldn't take enough road trips to erode the discount — the petrol's official fuel consumption is 9.6L/100km, opposed to 6.5L/100km for the diesel. In the real world, the gas version will be pushed through town in the mid-teens. We averaged a shade over 7L/100km on a circa-1500km ride with five passengers, their baggage and a package of golf clubs. That gives long legs to the Carnival; without struggling, we almost got 1000km out of a tank. A ripper is the engine. On the open road, it's calm and refined, occasionally breaking a sweat when asked to overtake or scale a slope.

With both ranks up, the Carnival has a wider boot than the Prado or Kluger with the third row folded down.
With both ranks up, the Carnival has a wider boot than the Prado or Kluger with the third row folded down.
4. The criterion for peace of mind is

Any customers may be overwhelmed by the thought of driving such a huge vehicle, but the Carnival seems much smaller than it seems. Thanks to a 360-degree view rear camera that assists with close parking spaces, Visibility is good all-round. If you reverse out of a driveway into the direction of an approaching vehicle, the Carnival will sound an alarm and slap on the brakes. It may also prevent the side doors from opening if it detects that children will try to escape as a vehicle approaches. Auto emergency braking for pedestrian and bicycle identification provides other safety tech, automatic cruise control with warnings if the speed limit increases and active lane keeping.

Nice looks make a convincing argument and a punchy and thrifty diesel engine
Nice looks make a convincing argument and a punchy and thrifty diesel engine
5. It's not that rough a trip,

People-movers aren't the most entertaining vehicles on the planet, but they have their own appeal at Carnival. The seats have excellent comfort for longer journeys, the Bose 12-speaker audio setup is above average and the multimedia wide-screen monitor provides some wow-factor up front. On rougher bitumen, the Carnival smooths out bumps and corrugations and sounds safe and comfortable when negotiating corners, with strong steering wheel input. With a touch of Land Rover in the front-end styling, it doesn't look that bad either.

The fourth-generation 2021 Kia Carnival has finally arrived Down Under and if you thought it was just another people mover, you’d better think again.