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The updated Carnival gets Kia’s new corporate face

A comprehensive nip and tuck made this gorgeous minivan look even better

The new Carnival looks different, but somehow familiar. PHOTO FROM KIA

The current-generation Kia Carnival is one of the best-looking minivans available in our market today. Its SUV-ish looks, coupled with many creature comforts, make the people mover very attractive.

Two years since its launch, this Carnival is far from being ‘old’. But in those two years, a lot has changed with the Korean carmaker, which thought about updating the minivan. And a comprehensive nip and tuck is what Kia did with this update.

The front end looks even more striking. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The front end, for example, has been reworked. Now the Carnival features Kia’s new corporate face, similar to that of the EV9. The Opposites United design ethos can be seen here, with a restyled tiger-nose grille with nice accents and vertical projector LED headlamps.

The signature star map lighting LED DRLs extend, just falling short of being an expansive lightbar. Because of these elements, the front bumper has also been redesigned, with the front fog lights relocated in the piece’s air intake.

The rear end’s styling is very SUV-like. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The sides are largely unchanged, save for those new-design 18- or 19-inch multi-spoke rims that look far better than the ones they replace. The rear end has also been tweaked, featuring new stamping on the tailgate. While the taillamp cluster still stretches from one end to the other, it now mimics the look of the front lighting, which looks like an inverted U.

The Kia logo has moved lower onto the tailgate from the taillamp cluster, and the same goes with the rear license-plate holder. Finally, the back also features a new bumper design. However, not much has changed in the interior.

A UV sterilizer in the armrest compartment will be very useful nowadays. PHOTOS FROM KIA

The tiller, the instrumentation, and the overall design remain the same, save for new color combinations on the materials used.

Added interior appointments make the Carnival even more luxurious. PHOTOS FROM KIA

What has changed, though, at the front are the user interface of the infotainment screen with the option of a 12-speaker Krell premium sound system, the location of the hazard button, and the addition of a UV sterilizer in the armrest storage.

The second-row seats now get a back-to-calf massager function, while its seatbelt buckles are now illuminated. The USB ports have been changed from Type A to C.

And then there are the various new safety features. The steering wheel, for one, vibrates when the advanced driver-assist systems are triggered—say when it detects a collision up front, unintended lane departures, rear collision hazards, and other instances that require the driver’s attention.

The Carnival is much safer, thanks to a number of safety features added. PHOTOS FROM KIA

A godsend to parents, a rear-passenger notification has been added which determines whether the rear doors are opened or closed, or when a passenger is present or not using the in-vehicle sensors. This notifies you about the situation of your kids or elderly parents.

Notifications are sent to the driver via instrument cluster warnings, beeps, and text messages on your Kia Connect app. The safety drop-off assistance feature prevents the rear doors from being opened when a hazard on the side of the vehicle is detected.

The Gravity variant looks sick, and we love it. PHOTOS FROM KIA

There are two new variants introduced, like the Gravity that gets an exclusive black grille, black wheels, and other blacked-out accents. Then, there is a new hybrid-electric variant. More than the hybrid powertrain and a new wheel design, it has several exclusive features.

E-ride helps minimize vibrations by adjusting the torque of the drive motor, ensuring a comfortable ride. E-handling helps move the center of gravity when accelerating or decelerating, and when cornering to provide added stability and responsiveness.

A hybrid-electric powertrain finally makes it to the Carnival. PHOTOS FROM KIA

Finally, the Electrically Evasive Handling Assist (or e-EHA) controls the front and rear wheels to help you avoid hazards when doing emergency maneuvers. All of these help improve the hybrid variant’s performance.

Powertrain choices include a 3.5-liter V6 gasoline, a 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel (which our market gets), and a turbo hybrid engine with a 72hp (54kW) electric motor. Not much information has been provided about these powertrains’ outputs, so we’ll have to wait and see when those finally become available.

Another great job by Kia’s designers. PHOTOS FROM KIA

Perhaps we’ll have to wait until Kia Philippines decides to bring the updated Carnival into our humble market. But we’re sure it will be much more expensive than the prices (P2,640,000 to P3,098,000) that the distributor is asking for the local-market Carnivals.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.