Kia Australia has once again delayed the introduction of missing features for its popular Carnival people mover, and they’re now confirmed to arrive with an upcoming mid-life facelift.

    Whether a new hybrid powertrain will join them, however, has yet to be confirmed.

    Product planning general manager Roland Rivero told CarExpert that because Carnival backorder counts “never really got down to a palatable level”, the next opportunity to introduce the missing features will be at the mid-life update.

    Mr Rivero explained that all Carnival existing orders are price-protected, but there are different rules when it comes to a mid-life update. This likely spells a price rise.

    “That’s the opportunity to bring all these respective features in like rain-sensing wipers, digital cluster, Blind Spot View Monitor, all of these promised features that weren’t ready in time for launch due to COVID,” said Mr Rivero.

    “They’ll all make their appearance at PE [mid-life update] time.”

    These missing features were promised to come here when the current-generation Carnival launched in 2020, but they have been delayed a number of times now.

    The company hasn’t confirmed when the updated model will arrive in Australia, though it’ll reportedly go on sale in Korea this year.

    In addition to its new look, a petrol-electric hybrid version will join the range with the update.

    When asked about its existence and if it’ll be coming to Australia, Mr Rivero said Kia Australia has always got its “hand up for it, but for the moment right-hand drive hasn’t been secured”.

    Autospy reported earlier this year that the Carnival Hybrid would reportedly use the same hybrid drivetrain as the Kia Sportage, Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe hybrids.

    In these models, the hybrid powertrain generates total system outputs of 169kW of power and 350Nm of torque by sandwiching a 44kW/264Nm electric motor between the six-speed automatic transmission and a 132kW/265Nm 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine.

    In terms of power, that places the hybrid between the 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, and the 216kW/355Nm 3.5-litre V6 petrol.

    At this stage it’s unclear if the Carnival hybrid will be front- or all-wheel drive. It’ll likely be the former as Kia has never offered an all-wheel drive people mover.

    Over the last few months there have been a number of spied facelifted Carnival prototypes caught during testing. The exterior changes give it a look more reminiscent of the EV9 and Telluride SUVs.

    While SUVs are vastly more popular than people movers, a hybrid model could further juice Carnival sales in Australia.

    The big Kia has already been aided by the withdrawal of its closest competitor, the Honda Odyssey, last year with sales rising by 37.4 per cent.

    It now has a fresh in-house rival in the Hyundai Staria, while the new Chinese LDV MIFA has gone on sale.

    MORE: Everything Kia Carnival

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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