For those familiar with the evolution of the Carnival, this current generation represents a remarkable step-change in design. Creating a larger van with improved proportions is no easy task, but it's hard to find a profile or angle where this van doesn’t look good.
The 19-inch rims combined with the van’s wide stance give the Carnival Platinum a more aggressive look, which is not a bad thing for an eight-seat people-mover. Other exterior design features, such as the front bumper and grille along with the rear taillights, have been given a little makeover.
With luggage and food supplies to pack for the long weekend, I was a little worried about whether the boot, with the third row in place, had enough space to fit everything. I needn’t have worried, as thanks to a deep recess in the floor there’s 960-litres of boot space available.
For those needing extra load space, there’s an impressive 2200 litres with the third row stashed, and a cargo van-like 4022 litres with both rows folded. The boot is electrically operated, too.
The four kids - aged four, nine, nine and 11 - piled inside and arranged themselves two to a row, with the booster seat fitted to one of the three tether points in the second row. There are also four ISOFIX points, two in each of the second and third rows. Although the Carnival offers a 2/3/3 seating configuration, the third row is pretty narrow and best left to kids only.
Getting in and out of the Carnival is made easier thanks to electric sliding doors which can be activated numerous ways; remotely via the key fob, the door handle, a button on the B pillar and a button located in the panel above the rear view mirror. There’s also a button to deactivate the electric doors should you wish, but they are on the heavy side when operated manually.
Access to the third row is a doddle from both sides, with the second-row seats folding neatly forward to allow access. Second- and third-row seats are adjustable for backrest inclination, while the second row can also be slid forwards and back on a rail system to allow for more space in the third row.
With a two-hour drive ahead of us we set off for the farm late morning, aiming to arrive in time for lunch. The distance to the farm was around 180km, covering mainly motorway and some country back roads.
Upfront, the dash layout is simple and elegant, yet highly functional and easy to navigate. There are plenty of hard plastics but they don’t detract from the premium feel of the cabin. The eight-inch touchscreen comes with nav that offers speed-sign recognition and voices warnings for camera locations, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.
The drive was incredibly comfortable and largely uneventful, with all four kids having enough space to spread out. Having roof vents for all three rows helped to maintain a decent cabin temperature, and the kids were able to charge their devices care of the USB connections in the second row. They made good use of the six cupholders located across the two rows and bottle holders in both the rear sliding doors.
Despite being a relatively trouble-free trip, the two-hour drive had maxed out the kids' patience - the farm stay and its animals were a welcome sight for all six of us.