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Kia Carnival 2007 Review

There are still a few van-style people movers - Toyota's Tarago and the Chrysler Voyager for example - but they cost a bomb and are out of the capacity of the average family to afford.

Apart from the small VW Caddy Life, the Koreans have the affordable end of the people mover market to themselves with Hyundai's Trajet, the Ssangyong Stavic and Kia Carnival all vying for the largest slice of the family transporter cake.

Kia recently launched a new Carnival to complement the larger Grand Carnival. They are new vehicles from the ground up and have nothing to do with the earlier Carnival which was plagued with engine problems from its Rover-sourced 2.5-litre V6.

The new VQ Carnivals share the same styling and it is easy to mistake one for the other but the Grand is longer and has a more powerful 3.8-litre V6 petrol engine and five speed auto. The Carnival runs a 136kW/ 246Nm, 2.7-litre V6, used in numerous other Kia and Hyundai vehicles and a five speed manual or optional four speed automatic.

Both are front wheel drive which boosts interior room.

Carnival is available in base spec' and auto- only Luxury with the latter scoring leather, six air bags, rain sensing wipers and other goodies. It's at a $3500 premium over the manual base model which sells for $32,990 drive away. The four speed auto adds two thousand bucks.

We have been driving the auto base model Carnival and it's an impressive vehicle especially when you need to take a crew anywhere. Mum, dad, the kids, friends and the grannies can all fit inside its cavernous body. But only a small luggage space is available with all three seat rows deployed. The rear row is easily foldable or even removable if you want to maximise load space and don't need the extra seats.

Access is easy through the front or side sliding doors that have power operated up and down windows, not pivotting or fixed glass. The rear side windows pivot from the front and are also power operated.

The rear top-hinged tailgate opens a large aperture and is easy to lift.

The V6 engine features variable valve timing and is good for 136kW/246Nm output com- pletely addressing the power deficit of the previous model.

It gives the Carnival good performance across the engine rev range and plenty of pulling power when a full load is aboard with the dual aircon blasting away.

Though the more sophisticated five speed auto misses Carnival this time around, the four speed auto we drove is satisfactory thanks to an internal upgrade and sequential shift mode. It makes quick smooth changes and willingly kicks down when required.

Sequential mode allows manual gear selec- tion if you want more control.

The interior is a friendly place that also looks good with a nicely rounded dash and multiple hues to the upholstery.

The steering is light, the brakes are powerful and it possesses a tight turning circle for a vehicle this size.

Minimal engine noise intrudes into the cabin and the luxury feel is accentuated by a smooth, well controlled ride.

We took out the rear pews and they're fairly heavy but once out, load space increases dramatically. The centre row also comes out. The vehicle looks good with big headlights, large tyres and smooth lines set off by roof rails and expansive glass house. You sit high affording a good view in all directions.

The seats are supportive and the textured upholstery is comfy.

Go over the Carnival with a magnifying glass and it's impressive build quality is evident.

It's bigger brother scored a five star US crash test rating so the SWB Luxury model should be the same.

Like the Kia cars we have driven in past months, this vehicle bats well above its price point.


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Range and Specs

EX 2.7L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,500 – 8,580 2007 Kia Carnival 2007 EX Pricing and Specs
EX Luxury 2.7L, ULP, 4 SP $6,500 – 10,120 2007 Kia Carnival 2007 EX Luxury Pricing and Specs
LS 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,500 – 5,610 2007 Kia Carnival 2007 LS Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on 26 car listings in the last 6 months

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