Kia Carnival 2020 review: Platinum diesel long term
Malcolm Flynn is spending three months with his family aboard the Kia Carnival Platinum diesel, to see if the grass is greener on the people mover side of the fence.
Browse over 9,000 car reviews
Sorry, there are no cars that match your search
Sorry, there are no cars that match your search
If Darth Vader drove a van, the Mercedes-Benz V250 d Avantgarde would be it. But not just any V250 d Avantgarde, it would have to have the 'AMG Line' pack, as ours did, and the black metallic paint, of course.
So, is the V250 d Avantgarde just about the looks, then? Could this stealthily beautiful van actually be a good fit for a big family of little Storm Troopers with all their gear or maybe a hire car business ferrying passengers and their luggage?
You’ll know after you read this review.
|Mercedes-Benz V-Class 2020: V250 D Avantgarde MWB|
|Engine Type||2.1L turbo|
There are two grades in the V-Class range and the V250 d Avantgarde is the top spec with its list price of $93,799, which is about 14 grand more than the V220 d entry-level model below it.
Our test car was fitted with $12,420 worth of options. There was the AMG Line pack ($4500); the centre console fridge with cooled and heated cup holders ($4556); eight-seat configuration ($1750) and the black metallic paint ($1614).
You can read about what the AMG Line pack adds in the design section below, but the seriously dark-tinted windows are actually a standard feature of the V250 d Avantgarde, and so is the 15-speaker Burmester stereo, and the digital radio, CD and DVD player, display screen with sat nav and surround view camera, three-zone climate control and black 'Lugano' leather upholstery.
Is there anything missing? There’s a lack of USB ports (just two up front), no proximity unlocking, and you have to use a key to start the car, not a button. I was constantly leaping climbing into the van, buckling up and then had to fish the key out of my pocket after remembering I needed it to put it into the ignition.
There is a cigarette lighter in the second row and ash tray, and air vents in all three rows.
Is it good value? Well, $100K is getting up there, but for a hire car that will impress with its looks, comfort and practicality I think it’s almost worth the money – just not terribly great value.
There aren’t many vans which cost as much as the V250 d, the closest rival is the Volkswagen Multivan Highline TDI 450 for $83,390, then the Toyota Granvia VX which is $75K. The Kia Carnival Platinum is a lot more affordable at $63,290 and while it’s plush and great value, it doesn’t have a big star on the front.
Heck yes, just look at the images. I mean it’s difficult for any van not to look like a loaf of bread, but the V250 d is pretty rock star with it blacked-out side rear windows and features the AMG Line pack adds.
Yep, it might cost $4500 but the pack adds the diamond grille, front and rear aprons, side skirts, a rear roof-top spoiler and those gloss black 19-inch wheels.
Add the optional black metallic paint and the stealth bomber look is complete.
Inside, the AMG Line pack adds a dash, which, while not really carbon-fibre, still looks stunning.
There’s the black roof lining, AMG floor mats and brushed stainless steel pedal covers. The black Lugano leather is standard kit on the V250 d and it feels, looks and smells expensive.
Apart from the carbon-look trim another standout feature of the cockpit is the media controller. The big circular silvery thing (it’s called a "touch pad finger gesture controller") looks as though its off the bridge of an alien spacecraft but it’s a pretty intuitive way to move around the menu on the display.
How big is the V250 d? Not overly large. End to end the V250 d measures 5140mm long, while it’s 1928mm across and 1880mm tall.
That means it fits in a regular size car space, and it’s low enough to fit into most garages and multi-story car parks and narrow enough to handle laneways without much drama.
Not the case with the Mercedes-Benz V250 d. Watch the video to see how much cargo space there is behind the third row, because my own pictures just don’t do it justice.
The boot space can be divided by a pull-down shelf and within that shelf is a hidden compartment containing pop-up shopping crates. Again, see the video, where I demonstrate how easily it all works.
I also love the way the boot can be accessed through a lift-up rear window, rather than always having to open the large tailgate just to grab a bag out of the back.
Our van had the optional eight-seat configuration, with two rows of three seats behind the front seats. Actually, they aren’t individual seats, they just look like that.
Really, the rear is a bench seat and the second row is composed of a two position bench, with a single seat alongside.
Room for passengers is excellent. I could sit behind my driving position with about 20cm between my knees and the seat back, and then fit in the third row behind that with plenty of space.
That said, the rear seats are narrow and having been in the back of a packed V-Class in the past, with every seat taken by well-fed men, it’s a bit squeezy.
The Mercedes-Benz V250 d has a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder. Well, that’s what Benz will tell you. Really, it’s a 2.143-litre, but the manufacturer rounds it up.
I dare you to go into a dealership and say: “So, the V250 d has a 2.2-litre?” And when they agree, just reply with “No it doesn’t!” You can thank me later for giving you the upper edge in the price bargaining.
Anyway, that’s not important, what you need to know is that this engine is quiet, responsive and smooth with 140kW power and 440Nm of torque. Also, super smooth is the seven-speed automatic which sends drive to the rear wheels.
Benz says the V250 d should use 6.7L/100km over a combination of open and urban roads. Our van was punished with peak hour traffic, hilly suburbs, 40-degree days and me driving in Sport mode almost constantly.
After 278km the van needed just 29.3 litres of diesel tipped into it at the pump. That comes to 10.5L/100km which is great considering there weren’t many motorway kays in there.
The Mercedes-Benz V250 d is one of the most comfortable vans I’ve driven, and that engine is responsive, with only a sniff of turbo lag.
Steering is accurate and natural feeling. Visibility isn’t bad, although the headrests do block rear vision. Toyota gets around this in the Granvia van with a digital rear view mirror, but there’s no such thing in the V250 d although the surround view camera is fairly clear.
The driver’s seat is on the smaller side, however, and while I wasn’t uncomfortable, I was snug, and my elbows were constantly bumping the backrest side bolster.
While I never drove the V250 d completely loaded up with people and their cargo, I found that with four big blokes and their bags on board acceleration was good, especially for something which weighs 2.3 tonnes.
5 years / unlimited km warranty
ANCAP Safety Rating
The V250 d was given the maximum a five-star ANCAP rating when it was tested in 2014.
In 2019 the V-Class was updated with new styling, but the more major change came in the form of AEB being made standard across the range.
The V250 d also had auto high beams added as standard joining existing equipment such as blind spot warning and lane keeping assistance.
Also standard on the V250 d are six airbags, with curtain airbags extending back to cover the third row.
For child seats you’ll find four ISOFIX points and six top tether anchor points.
The V250 d is covered by Mercedes-Benz’s three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Servicing is recommended annually or every 25,000km.
Benz offers three service packages. If you want to pay as you go, the entry level 'Best Basic' costs $565 for the first service, $1925 for the second, and $565 for the third. Alternatively, you can pay $2138 up front for the Best Basic and save $917.
The Mercedes-Benz V250 d is impressive in so many ways – the way it drives, the fuel economy, the practicality and cargo room, the high-end interior, and with the AMG Line pack it looks stealthily sexy. Yes, you’re paying more for the V250 d than most other vans this size, but if you’re running a chauffeur business and you want to impress, this is the way to do it. If it’s for a family it’s hard to go wrong here, too, plus you’ll look damned cool arriving at footy, rather than in an SUV like everybody else.
|V250 D Avantgarde MWB||2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$67,000 – 84,700||2020 Mercedes-Benz V-Class 2020 V250 D Avantgarde MWB Pricing and Specs|
|V220 D MWB||2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO||$59,200 – 74,800||2020 Mercedes-Benz V-Class 2020 V220 D MWB Pricing and Specs|
|Price and features||7|
|Engine & trans||8|