Kia Carnival – A premium urban MPV

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There are not that many choices in Cambodian market that you can make if you are about to buy a people mover. If you are in this dilemma, Kia’s Carnival will be the answer for you.

For the 2020 model year, the Kia Carnival brings around-view-monitoring system with more varieties of exterior colours.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both voice activated, are also now standard in all Carnivals. The line-up range has two differentiations – mid and full spec.

There’s no question the Carnival cuts a striking form. It is, subjectively, a good looker in a segment where good looks are not necessarily the norm.

This model update brings some further refinements to that presence with a fresh take on Kia’s ‘tiger nose’ grille which leads into a sleeker-looking headlight cluster. The integrated ‘ice cube’ design LED fog lights add another stylish element.

Fitting up to 11 people and their accoutrements into a Carnival requires a car with majestic dimensions. It’s long, like 5,155mm long – on a wheelbase of 3,060mm – and it’s quite wide at 1,985mm.

The seats are comfortable and spacious – even the second and third rows, which is probably why the Carnival is popular with rental and hire car companies.

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There’s easily enough room for three adults in the second row with ample head, leg and toe room. The third row too, can accommodate adults easily, although you might want to line your passengers up by height and relegate the shortest three to the back row. Kids? Not a problem.

There are four top tether and three ISOFIX anchor points to ensure the little ones can be driven around safely. Airbags abound too, with all three rows covered in total 10.

And, crucially for this segment, boot space is massive, thanks largely to the Carnival’s front-wheel drive underpinnings. This has freed up a cavernous area behind the third row. With all three rows in use, the Carnival still provides a whopping 960 litres of storage space.

Kia has also beefed up infotainment, replacing the rather dated and small 4.3-inch screen with a 7.0-inch touch screen which also brings a premium eight-speaker sound system. The inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the entire range mitigates.

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The Carnival already makes sense when considering the ample space on offer, as well as the flexibility it affords for those needing to transport more than the nuclear family. But, where the Carnival really starts to make sense is on the road.

Starting out in the Carnival’s 3.3L V6 gasoline engine, it provides the perfect platform to assess what a premium-level people mover is capable with outputs of 270hp (peak at 6,400rpm) and 32.4kg.m (5,200rpm). Transmitting that power to the front wheels is a six-speed transmission.

Ride and handling remains as consistent as it does in the lower spec, despite the presence of 18-inch alloys. The automatic transmission remains just as refined as it does in the lower variant, transmitting barely a ripple of gear change into the cabin.

Kia is claiming 10.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle for petrol variants – an improvement, the company claims, of 0.8L/100km over the outgoing model.