The redesigned, fourth-generation Kia Carnival has touched down in Australia, but it’s missing a few features Kia wanted to include.

    The good news is they’re all slated to be rolled out for model year 2022.

    These include the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with Kia’s blind-spot view monitor, as seen on the 2021 Sorento and left-hand drive versions of the 2021 Carnival.

    Rain-sensing wipers are also missing from the new Carnival despite even the base S having features like automatic LED headlights, blind-spot assist and lane-following assist.

    The Carnival’s steering has switched to a motor-driven set-up instead of being hydraulically-assisted like the last car, meaning Kia can now offer features like lane-following assist and lane-keeping assist.

    However, the steering tune the 2021 Carnival will have here is the Korean market set-up.

    Kia Australia was given the option of two different suspension tunes but has opted to go with just one across the range, given the negligible weight difference between the turbo-diesel and V6 models.

    The company was forced to end local testing early when COVID-19 lockdowns were implemented last year, restricting the movement of engineers.

    Should lockdowns be implemented again this year, it could further delay the Australian steering tune.

    “I can’t even guarantee the steering at this stage. That’s highly dependent on the borders being open and engineers coming to visit us,” said Kia Australia product planning head Roland Rivero.

    “There’s nothing wrong or terribly wrong with the current set-up. I think the Korean domestic steering map is actually pretty good, it’s got good differentiation and gives you good feel and feedback

    “Nevertheless, we still want to create our own.”

    Another feature that could appear later in the Carnival’s life cycle is the intercom function available on the Sorento and the Genesis GV80.

    While both those SUVs offer the Hyundai Motor Group’s new remote smart-parking assist feature, this hasn’t been developed for the Carnival. Nor has a head-up display, with the dual 12.3-inch screens deemed to be sufficient.

    As to why – as in some other Group products like the 2021 Hyundai Venue – the smaller touchscreen without factory satellite navigation has wireless smartphone mirroring and the larger screen doesn’t, Mr. Rivero said it’s due to ongoing discussions with a major tech giant.

    “The tech giant is extremely insistent that unless their map is the default map, they won’t grant the licence. Until that matter is resolved, in fairness, from an R&D perspective, we’ve developed our own map and a lot of resources and money have been spent on developing an OEM map,” he said.

    “I can’t say when that’ll be resolved.”

    Until then, the company will only offer wireless smartphone mirroring on infotainment systems that lack factory navigation.

    MORE: Kia Carnival news and reviews
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    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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