2011 Kia Grand Carnival_01Kia Grand Carnival Platinum lives up to its grand title by being positively replete with quality features. Goodies include leather trim, sunroof, rear air-conditioning controls, interior metal-look finish, Bluetooth access with audio controls on the steering wheel, roof rails, powered third row quarter windows, and heated exterior mirrors.

On the outside, Kia design head Peter Schreyer, famed as being the man behind the original Audi TT, has recently spruced up the Grand Carnival. The Carnival has the so-called Schreyer grille and even comes with sporty 17-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, the big Kia people mover is a genuine eight-seater. Its versatility is highlighted by three rows of seats that can be folded every which way to take up to 2380 litres of luggage.

The second row is made up of three separate seats which are removable, while the third row is a 60/40 folding bench which can be folded into the well of the cargo area to produce a perfectly flat area right up to the front seats.

2011 Kia Grand Carnival_02Access to the two back rows In the Grand Carnival Premium is via electrically operated side doors. A power driven upper-hinged rear gate opens up to give access to the cargo area, making loading and unloading convenient.

There’s a so-called ‘conversation mirror’ above the windscreen. This is a feature we don’t like as it encourages the driver to look away from the road while the vehicle is in motion, with potentially dangerous consequences. Sensible drivers will use the retract feature of the mirror to avoid the temptation of keeping an eye on the little terrors in the back seats.

Grand Carnival Platinum seats are swathed in leather; the driver’s position is power adjustable six ways. Another luxury feature we really like is a small table with drink holders which folds down between the front seats. All but one of the third-row seats boasts height adjustable headrests. All safety belts are height adjustable for comfort.

2011 Kia Grand Carnival_03 (interior)There’s a tilt/slide electric sunroof, and powered windows for all seats. Kia has specified privacy glass on the side and tailgate.

Buyers of the Kia Grand Carnival Platinum have a choice of either the 3.5-litre V6 DOHC petrol engine or Kia’s new four-cylinder, 2.2-litre CRDi R-series diesel motor. These engines are now matched with a new design of six-speed automatic transmission.

The Grand Carnival V6 petrol we have driven over the Christmas / New Year period moves off the mark in a spritely manner, so much so that with a light load it’s possible to spin the driving wheels embarrassingly.

The V6 engine was rarely stressed in city traffic and cruised quietly at motorway speeds, allowing normal conversation to take place around the cabin. Automatic gearshifts are smooth and unhurried, making for a comfortable ride.

Cruise control has steering wheel-mounted controls and there’s a dual trip meter and digital clock. Twelve-volt power outlets are fitted, one at the front and the other at the back. Safety continues to be a priority across the eight-seater range with ABS and ESC with traction control standard. Front, side and curtain airbags and side door impact beams also offer peace of mind for passengers.

Being a big vehicle at more than five metres long and close to two metres wide, reverse parking alarms earn their money. However, a rear-view camera projecting vision onto the interior mirror is of limited use due to its very small image.

The Grand Carnival tops the people mover sales tree in Australia, with more than one in three of new people movers sold here being from Kia. The Platinum version of the Grand Carnival is an impressive vehicle providing a lot of luxury items at a pretty modest price of just $52,190.

Kia Grand Carnival Platinum 3.5-litre petrol, $52,190
(Manufacturer’s list price excluding government and dealer delivery charges)

Capacity: 3470cc
Configuration: V6 DOHC
Head Design: Four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.6:1
Bore and stroke: 92 mm x 87 mm
Maximum Power: 202 kW @ 6300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 336 Nm @ 4500 rpm

Driven Wheels: Front
Transmission: Six-speed automatic (Sportsmatic-style)

Length: 5130 mm
Wheelbase: 3020 mm
Width: 1985 mm
Height: 1805 mm (with roof rails)
Minimum ground clearance: 167 mm
Luggage space: 912 litres (all seats up); 2380 litres (3rd row folded)
Turning Circle: 12.1 metres
Gross vehicle weight: 2830 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres
Towing capacity: 750 kg (unbraked); 2000 kg (braked)
Max towball download: 200 kg

Steering: Hydraulic power steering. Tilt adjustable, energy absorbing steering column
Suspension: McPherson strut (front); multilink (rear)
Front Brakes: Ventilated discs (11.7 in)
Rear Brakes: Solid discs (11.9 in)
ABS anti-skid with electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability control with traction control.

Wheels: Alloy, 17 in
Tyres: 235/60 R 17
Spare wheel: temporary

0-100 km/h Acceleration: N/A
Top speed: N/A

Type: Petrol 91RON, E10 compatible
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 10.9 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: 259 g/km
Emissions: Euro IV

Greenhouse Rating: 5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 5.5/10

Five years/unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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