Kia Australia will launch a limited-run Carnival Special Edition in the coming months, according to a confidential dealer bulletin obtained by CarExpert.

    Scheduled to commence production this month (February), the 2023 Kia Carnival Special Edition will be “available for a limited time” and sits between the mid-spec SLi and the flagship Platinum as an additional high-spec option in the current component- and supply-constrained climate.

    The Carnival SE will be available with both 3.5-litre V6 petrol and 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel powertrain options, priced from $61,190 and $63,190 before on-road costs respectively. That represents a circa-$3400 premium over the equivalent SLi, and a $3400 saving compared to the Platinum.

    Over the SLi, the Carnival Special Edition brings a suite of appointments and features previously reserved for the top-shelf Platinum.

    Carnival Special Edition highlights:

    • 19-inch black alloy wheels
    • Platinum grille trim
    • Chrome bumper
    • Chrome door garnish
    • Chrome skid plates
    • Dual sunroofs
    • LED interior lighting
    • Front, rear heated seats
    • Wireless smartphone charger
    • Rear occupant alert
    • Interior 3D-pattern mood lighting
    • Manual rear sunshade blinds

    That’s on top of the SLi’s specification which includes:

    • Electrochromatic rear-view mirror
    • LED front fog lights
    • Rear cross-traffic alert
    • Safe Exit Assist
    • Keyless entry and start
    • 360-degree cameras
    • 10-way power driver’s seat incl. two-way lumbar
    • Smart power sliding rear doors and tailgate
    • Acoustic windscreen film
    • 3rd-row USB charge ports

    It’s worth nothing the dealer bulletin explicitly states the lack of auto up/down operation for all but the driver’s window, which also includes a ‘Safety Function’ that stops the window if there’s an obstruction. Presumably, this is the part worst affected by semiconductor shortages.

    Effectively, the Carnival Special Edition will have the look and feel of the top-spec Platinum minus some key features like the 12-speaker BOSE premium sound system, ventilated front seats and Smart Temperature Comfort Control for the driver – all notably absent from the SE’s feature highlights.

    Kia Australia has been battling crippling supply challenges with its top-selling people mover for some time, confirming in July last year that V6 petrol availability was severely restricted throughout the latter half of 2022, and once again delaying the rollout of promised features like a digital instrument cluster and Blind Spot View Monitor as it struggled to get on top of a growing order bank.

    That didn’t stop the Carnival line from setting an all-time monthly sales record in June 2022 (1101 units) and posting 37.4 per cent growth year-on-year to 8054 units, compared to 2021.

    Further, the Korean MPV owned a massive 73.3 per cent of the mainstream people mover market, meaning almost three in every four sales in the segment are Carnivals.

    MORE: Everything Kia Carnival

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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