2021 Kia Carnival long-term review: Introduction | CarAdvice

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I never thought I’d catch myself saying this, but purple is one hell of a colour for the 2021 Kia Carnival.

But technically, I’m wrong. I was surprised to find out that this hue is actually called Deep Chroma Blue, but it strikes me as more of a deep purple in person. It does change a bit in different light, and has loads of metallic flecks in it.

MORE: 2021 Kia Carnival pricing and specs

Regardless, a colour like this would have once upon a time caused laughter and consternation when applied to a people mover. Do you reckon a Tarago or Stavic would be able to pull it off?

This Kia Carnival is our latest addition to the CarAdvice long-term stable and in top Platinum specification.

2021 Kia Carnival Platinum diesel
EngineFour-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Displacement2.2 litres (2151cc)
Power148kW @ 3800rpm
Torque440Nm @ 1750–2750rpm
DriveFront-wheel drive
TransmissionEight-speed torque converter automatic
Fuel consumption (combined cycle, claimed)6.5L/100km
Fuel consumption (on test)7.6L/100km
Fuel tank size72L
Boot size (5-seat/8-seat)2785L/627L
CompetitorsHonda Odyssey, Volkswagen Multivan, Toyota Granvia
Price as tested$70,490 drive-away

Priced from $70,490 with the 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine, this Carnival has loads of trinkets to run through. These include: perforated leatherette trimming, heated and vented electric front seats with memory and lumbar support, 360-degree camera, electric sliding doors and tailgate, bi-LED projector headlights, 12-speaker Bose sound system, three-zone climate control, 12.3-inch infotainment, wireless phone charging, twin sunroofs and four sunshades.

Less obvious improvements include the acoustic windscreen glass, additional USB points for the second row, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and the rotary dial gear selector, which is reminiscent of luxury sister brand Genesis.

Safe to say, then, this is all-you-can-eat.

But wait, there’s more! The 2021 Kia Carnival Platinum will get even more technology later in the year, with a digital instrument cluster, automatic wipers, and an Australian-tuned steering map slated to arrive before 2022. These inclusions didn’t make the initial batch of Carnivals because of COVID-19 complications.

Although the basic recipe and layout haven’t changed, this is an all-new model from Kia. It’s sitting on a new platform, and the 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine is a new iteration also.

MORE: 2021 Kia Carnival launch review

Claimed fuel economy for the diesel Carnival is 6.5 litres per 100km, with the front wheels being spun by an eight-speed torque converter auto gearbox. We’ll see how this one fares over the long term, but we’re currently averaging an indicated 7.6L/100km.

On the outside, Platinum specification grabs 19-inch black alloy wheels, along with a mix of black and chrome highlights around the place. Normally, people movers aren’t much chop at catching your eye, but this Carnival ain’t bad.

Some small foibles of the interior have made themselves present during the day-to-day living. Firstly, the piano-black materials show up dust and smudges quickly.

Maybe it’s because my kids are constantly harking for a snack when they are in the car for a decent stretch of time, but the tracks on which the seats slide are an effective trap for crumbs and discarded small biscuits. Fishing them out takes some practice and patience.

Otherwise, the key drawcard of the Carnival is the packaging. There is enough room for seven long-legged adults to sit comfortably in this vehicle, and all are afforded amenities like air-conditioning, power outlets and cupholders. You can squeeze three into the third row as well, which gives the Carnival a numerical advantage over most of the competition.

And when the third row is employed, there is a healthy amount of boot space on offer – 627L in fact, according to VDA measurements.

During our time with the Carnival, it will be changing hands amongst the team during the weekday grind and weekend escapades. In my case, my two kids will throw their worst at it in terms of wear and tear, and will seek out any weaknesses of the interior.

While we’re in the midst of testing, let us know any questions you have about the 2021 Kia Carnival. While we still have the car with us, we can do our best to answer them. No question is too strange, and no detail is too small.

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