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