Australia’s top-selling people mover has just received a major update – and for the first time it’ll offer a hybrid option.

    The 2024 Kia Carnival has been revealed for the Korean market, ahead of an Australian arrival during the first half of 2024. Kia has finally confirmed the addition of a Carnival Hybrid variant too, which will use the same 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol-electric drivetrain as the related Sorento HEV.

    The brand’s local arm hasn’t committed to bringing the electrified MPV here just yet, but it says it has put its “hand up for it, but for the moment right-hand drive hasn’t been secured”. We would expect it to eventually join the local range, albeit in limited numbers should the Sorento HEV and PHEV be any indication.

    As revealed in leaked images earlier this week, the facelifted Carnival sports a significantly refreshed design in line with Kia’s latest models including the updated (and related) Sorento and Picanto, as well as the all-electric EV9 SUV.

    Kia’s head office hasn’t released imagery of the new Carnival’s interior yet, but we can say with certainty the new model will be available with Hyundai and Kia’s latest sixth-generation Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNc), which will bring wireless smartphone connectivity and over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

    The new media system will also bring Kia Connect to the Carnival for the first time, following the Niro, EV9 and Sorento in offering the brand’s net-based suite of infotainment and remote features. Expect dual 12.3-inch displays for the driver’s instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system depending on grade.

    Kia Australia’s product boss Roland Rivero has previously confirmed the facelifted Carnival will bring several missing features previously promised since the fourth-generation people mover launched Down Under in 2020 – including rain-sensing wipers, a digital instrument cluster and Blind Spot View Monitor cameras.

    The 2024 Carnival is also expected to be subject to a revised local ride and handling tune, given the current model launched with an Australian-tuned chassis, but with a Korean steering map that was approved by local engineers during COVID lockdowns.

    Other confirmed details from the Korean media release include a new Ivory Silver exterior paint option. We expect further details, including interior images and technology updates, do be detailed in due course.

    The Kia Carnival is a critical model for the Korean brand in Australia, given it’s the top-selling people mover in the country – accounting for over 80 per cent market share in the sub-$70,000 segment. Kia’s local arm has been battling supply issues for some time, particularly for V6 petrol versions which had orders closed earlier this year.

    Pre-orders for the Korean domestic market commence in November. Stay tuned for all the latest in the lead-up to the updated model’s Australian launch during the first half of next year.

    Got any thoughts on the updated Kia Carnival? Let us know in the comments below!

    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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