Kia’s humble people mover is heading upmarket.

    We’ve already seen the exterior of the new Carnival, dubbed a Grand Utility Vehicle by Kia.

    Now, the Korean carmaker has revealed what’s hiding within the next iteration of Australia’s best-selling people mover.

    The driver is faced with two 12.3-inch displays, housed in an MBUX-style widescreen display sitting proud of the dashboard.

    Kia has integrated the air vents into a slim strip of chrome slashing across the dash, and there are capacitive touch controls for the air conditioning below the main infotainment display.

    Three layouts will be offered depending on market with seven, nine, or 11 seats. In the seven-seat setup, the second row features sliding, reclining captain’s chairs, with the promise of business-class accomodation.

    Kia says a 30mm longer wheel base and 10mm wider body frees up more space for passengers and luggage, although it hasn’t revealed exactly how much more just yet.

    Externally, there’s new headlights and LED daytime running lights which glow in a new signature. Kia says the high beams are integrated into the corner of the ‘tiger nose’ grille, while the low-beam lamps sit at the outer edges.

    A strong character line spans the length of the vehicle, linking the headlights and tail lights, while the prominent C-pillar chrome fin gives the impression of a floating roof – Kia says this signature design was inspired by that of the new Sorento.

    The tail lights themselves are a full-width light bar, encompassing the Kia logo, while chunkier bumpers and contrast cladding all round give the Carnival a more rugged, SUV-like aesthetic.

    Despite being near the end of its life cycle, the current Carnival dominates people mover sales in Australia, accounting for over 50 per cent of the market. An all-new model is a big deal, especially given the Honda Odyssey and Hyundai iMax are getting long in the tooth.

    An Australian launch is likely either in the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021, with next year’s 2021 Australian Open tennis Grand Slam to serve as a launchpad for the company’s flagship people carrier.

    Scott Collie

    Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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