Dave Conole road tests and reviews the 2015 Kia Carnival.
Right, so you’re considering a Kia Carnival? My advice is to opt for the version with the diesel engine.
I had a week getting about in the entry-level model, the 2015 Kia Carnival S, and while I quite liked the overall feel of the new Kia people mover, the fuel consumption of the petrol engine is less than impressive.
It’s a 3.3 litre V6 petrol engine and while you get a meaty 206kW and 336Nm, in the Kia Carnival you can expect the power plant to drink up to 15.9L/100km in urban use! With a quoted average of 11.6L/100km combined, I think I’d be side-stepping it straight to the diesel.
Sure, you lose two cylinders, but the 2.2 litre diesel engine in the Kia Carnival brings more torque – 400Nm and a usable 147kW of power. Best of all, fuel consumption drops a mammoth 6L/100km urban and combined usage drops to just 7.7L/100km.
Both diesel and petrol versions get a six-speed transmission as standard and I’m pleased to say that it’s one of the best around. Mated to the very willing V6 engine, gear changes were invisible and it does a great job of reacting to throttle input instantly.
The Kia Carnival weighs in at over two tonnes and Kia has given the people mover the brakes to match, very impressive.
While the ride was surprisingly good, and a fair bit softer than I had expected. I think some of this can also be put down to the 65 series tyres on the base-models 17” steel wheels, I reckon the Carnival ride might be a bit firmer on higher-grade models with lower profile tyres.
Responsive steering, an amazingly good turning-circle and impressive handling complete the package.
Inside the cabin, probably what you want to hear is that there was plenty of space, and that’s exactly what I can report.
With seating for up to eight people, the new Kia Carnival is extremely family-friendly. For example, the mechanisms for folding the seats are no more complicated than pulling a lever.
There’s not just split folding either, as each seat is individually mounted on rails. There’s air-conditioning controls for the rear and vents for both middle and rear seat occupants.
The seats are comfortable, there’s a huge centre console storage locker, three USB charging ports and 12V sockets, 14 cup and bottle holders and a quality look and feel throughout the cabin.
Being the entry level model, the Carnival S come with just a small screen for the radio and at this end of the range sat-nav isn’t available. You do however get a reverse camera and rear parking sensors.
Safety is covered by a four-star ANCAP safety rating (read more about why the Carnival missed out on a maximum safety score here).
Naturally, the Kia Carnival boasts Kia’s seven-year warranty.
Summing it up; Even though the S is the base-model Kia Carnival I really enjoyed my time living with it. There’s plenty of space, nice styling outside and enjoyable ergonomics in, it also drives a whole lot better than you might expect.
As I said at the top though, for the sake of the $2,500 price premium I’d be heading straight for the diesel version.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Kia Carnival S Petrol
Engine: 3.3 litre V6 petrol producing 206kW and 336Nm or 2.2 litre turbo-diesel producing 147kW and 400Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (only)
Safety: Four stars
Warranty: Seven years
Origin: South Korea
Price: From $41,490
Dave Conole owns and writes the independent vehicle review and news website – A Wheel Thing.
With over 15 years of automotive journalism and reviewing experience, plus front line experience in vehicle sales, Dave is proud to be aligned with Behind the Wheel.