Whether you call it a people mover, an MPV or a minivan, the Kia Carnival is far and away Australia’s favourite vehicle of this type and it’s just been redesigned.
It’s pricier than the last-generation model. The base petrol S, for example, costs $3690 more than last year’s model, while the rest of the range has also been subject to price increases of over $3000.
There’s been a significant upgrade in safety kit across the range, however. All fourth-generation Carnivals come standard with blind-spot assist and rear cross-traffic alert with rear cross-traffic assist standard on the SLi and Platinum.
That’s in contrast to the outgoing model, which offered only blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert and only in the two highest grades.
Also standard is autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection and junction assist, plus safe exit warning, lane-keeping assist and lane-following assist.
The 2021 Carnival rides a new platform shared with the freshly redesigned Sorento SUV.
The 3090mm wheelbase is 30mm longer than before, while the body is 10mm wider (1995mm), and 40mm longer (5155mm) overall, most of which is behind the rear axle to improve cargo space.
All Carnival models seat eight.
Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of a new 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 216kW of power and 355Nm of torque (up 10kW and 19Nm on last year’s 3.3-litre) and an updated 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 148kW and 440Nm, essentially identical outputs to before.
Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Sadly, we appear to have missed out on the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster available in other markets, with Australian-market Carnivals instead featuring analogue gauges with a 4.2-inch colour display screen between them.
We do, however, get the new 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system in Si, SLi and Platinum trims. The entry-level S has a smaller 8.0-inch unit, but it’s unique in featuring wireless instead of wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
- 2021 Kia Carnival S: $46,880 ($50,390 drive-away)
- 2021 Kia Carnival S diesel: $48,880 ($52,390)
- 2021 Kia Carnival Si: $52,380 ($55,790)
- 2021 Kia Carnival Si diesel: $54,380 ($57,790)
- 2021 Kia Carnival SLi: $56,880 ($60,290)
- 2021 Kia Carnival SLi diesel: $58,880 ($62,290)
- 2021 Kia Carnival Platinum: $64,680 ($67,990)
- 2021 Kia Carnival Platinum diesel: $66,680 ($69,990)
Prices exclude on-road costs except those in brackets, which are drive-away.
The 2021 Kia Carnival offers a choice of two engines: a naturally-aspirated 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 216kW of power and 355Nm of torque and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine producing 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque.
Both variants are front-wheel drive and use an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The 2021 Kia Carnival uses 9.6L/100km in the V6 and 6.5L/100km in the diesel.
The petrol engine requires only 91RON regular unleaded fuel, while both engines have a 72L fuel tank.
The 2021 Kia Carnival measures 5115mm long, 1995mm wide and 1775mm tall including the roof rails. It has a 3090mm wheelbase.
Luggage space, following VDA measurements, is 627L with all seats up. Fold the third row and it extends to 2785L. Underneath the floor is a space-saver spare.
All models have a 2000kg braked towing capacity, or 750kg unbraked.
Kia has yet to reveal service prices for the 2021 Carnival.
All models have a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
The 2021 Kia Carnival has yet to be tested by ANCAP or Euro NCAP.
All Carnivals come standard with the following safety equipment:
- Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection and junction assist
- Blind-spot assist
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Lane-following assist
- Lane-keeping assist
- Lane-departure warning
- Driver attention monitoring
- Safe exit warning
- Front and front-side airbags
- Driver’s knee airbag
- Curtain airbags for all three rows
The SLi and Platinum add rear cross-traffic assist, which brakes the car in addition to sounding a warning if it detects an imminent collision.
The safe exit warning is also upgraded to safe exit assist in the SLi and Platinum, which locks the rear doors if it detects a passenger is about to step into the path of an oncoming vehicle.
The Carnival S comes standard with the following features:
- 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- 4.2-inch instrument cluster display screen
- Six-speaker sound system
- 17-inch alloy wheels
- Eight seats
- Reversing camera with rear parking sensors
- Adaptive cruise control
- LED headlights and daytime running lights
- Automatic headlights
- Automatic high beam
- Air conditioning
- Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
The Carnival Si adds:
- 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Eight-speaker sound system
- 18-inch alloy wheels
- Front parking sensors
- Dual-zone climate control
- LED tail lights
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter
The Carnival SLi adds:
- Surround-view camera
- Keyless entry and start
- Power sliding doors
- Hands-free power tailgate
- 10-way power driver’s seat with two-way lumbar
- Auto-dimming electrochromic rear-view mirror
- LED front fog lights
- Rear privacy glass
The Carnival Platinum adds:
- Bose 12-speaker sound system
- 19-inch black alloy wheels
- Dual sunroofs
- 12-way power driver’s seat with four-way lumbar
- Eight-way power front passenger seat
- Matte chrome exterior trim
- Paddle shifters
- Heated steering wheel
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- Ambient lighting
- LED interior lighting
- Rear occupant alert
- Wireless phone charging