Review Kia Carnival 2019: SLi diesel
So you have married children. Active kids, with lots of friends who love their weekend sports, picnics with Gran and Pop, and go on vacation, camping or just walking to a family-friendly destination.
You may be eyeing a three-row SUV with all the rugged outdoor credit that goes along with it. But face the facts, you do in the people area. Or at least you should be.
The prestigious discomfort that once belonged to owning a family box truck ‘one box has been removed, largely thanks to the car you see here, the third-generation Carnival Carnival.
Launched in 2015, the current Carnival somehow somehow combines everyday practicality with a handsome design, a holy grail of many though impossible.
Significantly upgraded with new cosmetic and safety technology improvements in mid-2018, the Cleary family spent a week on the second SLi Diesel from above, covering about 800km from Sydney to the Coast. South NSW’s beautiful south and back to see the eight-seater car handle a vacation stress test.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 8/10
The Kia brand’s upward trajectory has accelerated over the past decade, and much of that success could stem from its subsidiary recruitment firm, Peter Schreyer, in 2006.
With superstars like the original Audi TT and Volkswagen New Beetle already in their portfolio, Schreyer quickly applied discipline, consistency and creative flair to the entire Korean brand.
And Carnival is a big picture to work on, with just over 5.1m long, under 2.0m wide and 1.7m taller.
But miraculously, the super-large size of the tiger nose grille (with additional bling from last year’s update) and the sweeping headlamps bring a car-like appearance that hides a significant proportion of Carnival.
The mid-life refresh also brings HID LEDs and a more aggressive handling for lower intake, now integrated with the front fog lamps. The rest of the exterior is virtually unchanged, except for the LED taillights and the taller and wider diffuser on the rear bumper.
Kia says that in developing the Carnival interior layout, its design team was inspired by first-class air travel. And while that desire is a great reach for a humble person, the results are impressive.
The approach is simple and limited, but far from bland. Two-tone ‘leather-specified’ seats, with red contrast stitching, premium look and feel, while strategically using ‘piano black’ finishes and soft touch materials around The dashboard, doors and dashboard of our SLi version (second from the top in a four-model model) really give the cabin a ‘pointed plane’ feel.
Although the interior layout has remained essentially unchanged since 2015, two thoughtful design pieces still deserve special mention. The first is the flexible and very user-friendly folding function of the outside second row. A not too heavy traction of a single lever on the basis of lifting each position into the upright vertical position close to the front seat, immediately provides a wide access lane to the rear seats. Beautiful.
And talking about the third row, pull a central handle in the back seat and the 60/40 split will gently fold into the deep cargo compartment below to form a larger, flat loading floor. And the opposite process is just as easy. Excellent.
How realistic is the inner space? 10/10
The need for practicality is fundamentally the basis for everyone’s purchases, and Carnival brings appeal. The end result of its immense capacity and smart versatility is our happy family on vacation, with enough room for all luggage, snacks and drinks, as well as the power for Its many devices. Number of complaints involving cars in seven days? Zero.
For starters, the driver and front passenger are offered plenty of room and plenty of storage options, including two large mugs in the center console and a large door barrel combined with spacious bottle racks.
There are two glove boxes on the passenger side (cooled bottom), a fairly large storage box between the seats (with sliding tray), two storage trays in the center console, a useful storage compartment on the lower passenger side of the center console, and a drop-down sunglasses drawer is integrated into the overhead light and the door control unit.
The connection runs to two USB ports – one for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (in the control panel) and one for the power source (in the storage box) – a pair of 12 volt sockets and an ‘auxiliary” audio jack.
The SLi has an electric one-touch sliding door, so accessing the second row is easy. There are three seats in the center with a down armrest on the outside of each window position.
Three adults in the middle row are possible with reasonable comfort, not to mention plenty of head, foot and toe room. Since there were only five Clearys on the tour, we chose to fold the center backrest forward to create a wide central armrest with two cupholders and an integrated small storage tray. With an additional two cupholders at the rear of the front console, the door enclosures once again include significant bottle holders, and there are mesh pockets and bag hooks on the front seats.
Those in the middle row get another USB (power) port grouped with a small drawer and an open tray built into the back of the front center console. A direction and temperature control panel for the rear of the three-zone climate control system is mounted on the roof (as well as multiple air vents serving the two rear rows).
We touched the ‘skillful’ seats that stand up at the two center rows, making it easy to access the ‘back’ seats, and once placed in the third row it’s surprisingly good. .
At first glance, the boot space looks modest but there is a huge amount of 960 liters (SAE) available with all seats, largely due to the low cargo floor. With a wheelbase of nearly 3.1 meters to play with, there is enough real estate available at the bottom of the vehicle to accommodate space-saving accessories (with a lowering mechanism integrated into the driver side of the middle floor. mind) so very deep.
Useful highlights include three pickpockets in the backseat (plus one on the boot wall), 12-volt outlet and useful lighting. Hands-free electric tail is also a welcome addition.
In this configuration, Carnival swallowed the CarsGuide three-piece suitcase (35, 68 and 105 liters) and / or pram like a pelican throwing up a sardine. Holiday equipment for the year is a cinch.