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Richard Blackburn
Reviewed & driven by
CarsGuide

4 Mar 2015

Kia Grand Carnival and Hyundai iMax go head-to-head in this comparative review.

Value

Kia Carnival Si, +4

Equipment includes conversation mirror, roof rails, three 12V outlets and three USB ports, 14 cupholders, lockable glove box, four-inch infotainment screen and Bluetooth with audio streaming. Aircon vents extend to the third row. Industry's best warranty coverage, at seven years and unlimited kilometres. Capped price servicing for seven years (for three years, $1307) and roadside assistance if you get your car serviced at a Kia dealer. Resale 61 per cent after three years.

Honda Odyssey, +3.5

Sharp starting price. Equipment includes LED daytime running lights, cruise control, hill start assist, two 12V power outlets, electric passenger side sliding door, 10 cupholders, seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth with audio streaming, HDMI port and two USB ports. Warranty only average, though, at three years or 100,000km. Capped price servicing costs are high at $1973 over three years, with six-month intervals. Resale strong at 64 per cent.

Technology

Kia Carnival Si, +3.5

Powerful V6 makes light work of hills and overtaking manoeuvres, with enough power to spin the front wheels if you're not careful. Combined with a smooth-shifting six-speed auto, the engine feels relaxed on the open road. The downside is a big thirst. It uses a claimed average of 11.6L/ 100km, but expect to use a lot more in the city.

Honda Odyssey, +4

The 2.0-litre four-cylinder (129kW/225Nm) won't win any drag races but combined with the continuously variable transmission it makes a good fist of moving eight people at a reasonable pace, if a little noisily. Its biggest drawcard is fuel economy. Partly thanks to an engine that switches itself off at the lights, it uses just 7.6L/100km. With petrol at $1.50, that's about $900 less than the Carnival each year.

Design

Kia Carnival Si, +4

The Carnival is huge. Cavernous luggage area means it is one of the few people-movers that can swallow an entire family and their luggage. All eight seats are full-sized and a clever folding design for the second row seats allows for easy access to the third. The cabin ambience trumps the Odyssey, while a huge centre storage bin swallows two-litre bottles.

Honda Odyssey, +3.5

The Odyssey may not look as sleek as the previous generation but its gawky looks allow for a big cabin with decent leg room in the second row and enough space for full-size adults in the third row in relative comfort. The interior is comfortable enough but looks fairly plain. Trumps the Carnival with a bigger, more useful centre screen and an electric sliding rear passenger door. Cargo area behind the third row is useful, if not as huge as the Carnival.

Safety

Kia Carnival Si, +2

Achieved only a four-star crash rating because of a below average frontal crash test and no seat belt reminders for second and third row seats. Has six airbags and the curtains extend to the third row. Reversing camera is standard but the screen is too small.

Honda Odyssey, +4

Six airbags, including curtains that extend through to the third row, earn the Honda a five-star rating. Reversing camera standard, with clear readout.

Driving

Kia Carnival Si, +3.5

Suspension and steering have been tuned for Australian roads but overly light steering feel detracts from the driving experience. It feels better on the open road, soaking up bumps without fuss and feeling predictable through corners despite its size and weight.

Honda Odyssey, +3.5

New model takes a backward step in driving dynamics, with bumpier ride, more body roll through corners and vague steering. But vision is good and the seats are comfortable and supportive, with plenty of room for all occupants.

Verdict

The Carnival is roomier, more powerful and has a much better warranty but its sub-par crash rating means the more efficient Odyssey comes out on top.



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