THE Seekers may have sung that The Carnival Is Over (if you’re actually old enough to remember that), but in reality it’s just getting started with the arrival of the third generation 2015 Kia Carnival.
Featuring a bold and distinctive CUV-style (crossover utility vehicle) design and substantially higher quality interior, the new Carnival offers both greater use of space and a range of safety and convenience features not seen in the previous models.
Completely redesigned for 2015, and built on a new chassis, the Carnival introduces a wider-looking stance, a clean profile, and Kia’s typical bold ‘face’.
Inside, the dashboard offers a feeling of spaciousness in the cabin, with an emphasis on wide, horizontal forms to provide a modern look, echoed in the shape of the instrument cluster, fascia and highlights that run across the full length of the dashboard.
In a major styling change, Australia’s version of the Carnival will feature a classy two-tone light/dark grey interior leather trim in SLi and Platinum grades and stain resistant grey cloth with black contrast dash in the S and Si models.
The new model also benefits from greater interior capacity than the outgoing vehicle, with a longer wheelbase and a range of intelligently-designed features to ensure a more efficient and flexible use of space for up to eight occupants.
A feature of the new Carnival is the innovative ‘Stand-up’ seats in the second row, which allows the base cushion to fold forward and the rest of the seat to slide forward and ‘stand up straight’, allowing easier access to the third row in the back.
Additional storage space in the cabin is particularly generous, with a large storage area under the front armrest to accommodate items as large as a laptop. The front passenger has access to two gloveboxes for added utility, as well as a small document-sized tray built into the centre console.
Similar compartments can be found further back in the cabin for rear occupants, ensuring every passenger has access to ample storage space for maximum comfort and convenience.
The cargo area grows by 77 litres to 960 litres (SAE) behind the third row of seats. This grows to 2,220 litres behind the second row and 4,022 litres when all rear passenger seats are stowed. Despite the lower roofline, the shape of the tailgate also enables a taller cargo opening height for the cargo bay.
Technology is big in the new Carnival too, with a hands-free Smart Power Tailgate automatically opens when the key is ‘sensed’ in close proximity to the trunk, while the Carnival’s two power-sliding rear doors also open at the touch of a button located on the driver’s overhead console on SLi and Platinum.
The entry-level S model will feature a 3.5-inch mono LCD screen located between two analogue dials in the centre of the instrument binnacle, displaying major trip computer information in one place, including average and instant fuel consumption data, distance to empty and outside temperature.
For Si and SLi models a Premium 3.5-inch OLED instrument cluster offers additional information, including digital speedometer, service schedule and an array of user selectable options such as headlamp escort function.
The Platinum grade will highlight a 7-inch colour TFT LCD screen, with an electro-luminescent instrument cluster and digital speedometer, further improving the interior’s modern function and ambiance, while displaying all relevant journey information which the driver can select from the multi-function steering wheel (with SatNav and a range of driver assist technologies available as part of the upper end of the model range).
The new Carnival will offer a pair of strong engine packages, a 3.3-litre GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection) petrol engine and the proven 2.2-litre R Series diesel already a firm favourite in the outgoing model. For the new model, both units have been engineered for greater efficiency and performance and, combined with the standard six-speed automatic transmission, ensure smooth application of power for a relaxing drive.
Pricing starts at $41,990 for the 3.3L GDI petrol model in its S form (up to $57,490 for the Platinum), and $43,990 for the S version of the 2.2L CRDI ($59,990 for the Platinum). The 2015 Kia Carnival goes on sale today (27 February).