The facelifted Kia Carnival has been spied completely undisguised, revealing various styling updates inspired by the brand’s electric EV9 flagship.

    In photos published by Autospy, we can see the car’s refreshed exterior ahead of its local launch in the first half of 2024.

    The headlight clusters are now vertically oriented, with daytime running lights that rise from the bottom, kink back towards the cabin, and then run across to the centre of the car. There’s also a redesigned grille and bumper.

    The look resembles not only the EV9, but also the recently revealed facelifts for the Picanto and Sorento.

    There’s a distinctive new wheel design with black square elements contrasted with silver, while down back there are vertically oriented tail lights connected by what appears to be a full-width light bar.

    Apart from the new wheels, the centre portion of the Carnival appears unchanged, including the distinctive patterned metal trim at the C-pillar.

    While we don’t yet know what visual changes the interior will get, as previously reported the updated Kia Carnival is set to receive the brand’s next-generation infotainment system which will support wireless smartphone mirroring and over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

    “Our rollout of the sixth-generation Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNc) will commence with the EV9 later this year, followed by the updated Sorento and Carnival,” said Kia Australia product planning boss Roland Rivero to CarExpert in June.

    “This next-generation infotainment system will have the hardware to facilitate OTA updates and wireless smartphone mirroring for models with built-in satellite navigation.”

    Mr Rivero also said the updated Carnival will finally introduce a range of features to Australia that have been missing since the fourth-generation model launched locally in 2020.

    “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.”

    In addition to its new look, a petrol-electric hybrid version of the Carnival is set to join the range with the update.

    When asked about its existence and if it’ll be coming to Australia, Mr Rivero previously 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 will 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 that’s currently off-sale in Australia.

    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.

    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 has some fresh competition, however, in its Hyundai Staria corporate cousin, as well as the new LDV MIFA.

    MORE: Everything Kia Carnival

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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