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Perfect for Australia? Kia Carnival becomes a pop-top camper van, complete with kitchen and bedroom

Kia doesn’t offer a camper-style Carnival, so Unicamp took it into their own hands.

As a country populated by people that, generally, love the outdoors, it seems like some manufacturers are missing out by not offering more camp-ready options or accessories for customers.

Take the Kia Carnival for example, a car that’s so popular it’s breaking the trend of SUV-hype by being not only the most popular people-mover in the country right now, but also Kia’s third-most sold car this year so far.

But how good would it be if you could buy a specialised Carnival for camping? 

New American company Unicamp, an offshoot from a mod company called Caleche Customs, has built “the world’s first Kia Carnival electric & manual rooftop tent”.

This week it revealed the completed model, with a pop-top tent and cut-out roof allowing standing space inside the Carnival. It's a much more modern way to van around than a hired 1996 Toyota HiAce that still smells a bit like… incense.

The top is able to be opened and closed electrically in five seconds, is big enough for two adults to sleep comfortably and comes with a mosquito net. It can also be set up to be operated with the Carnival’s smart key.

As a new operation, Unicamp not only doesn’t have Australia on the radar - it hasn’t even properly kicked into gear with customer deliveries yet.

In the US, someone car order a conversion for US$16,000 (AU$24,200) as an introductory price before the company settles at $18,000 (AU$27,200). 

Unicamp doesn’t have Australia on the radar. Unicamp doesn’t have Australia on the radar.

Unicamp also offers installation of a kitchen and bed module, costing US$4000 (AU$6000). All up, if it were to be carried out here in Australia, a Carnival with the conversion would set a buyer back more than AU$80,000 (including the entry level Carnival S before on-roads) all up.

If a current-gen people-mover with a pop-top camper sounds familiar, it could be because you’ve read about the Hyundai Staria Lounge Camper, an official Hyundai variant of the Staria van that sadly isn’t available in Australia.

Build for the South Korean market, the Lounge Camper can be set up for two sleeping spaces and can be fitted with a built-in fridge, sink, and water tank.