The fall of minivans started with the crossover and SUV segment getting more and more integrated. With sedan-like driving dynamics, good looks and all the practicality in the world, the crossover and SUV segment is beating minivan and the segment is getting obsolete. Only a miracle could save the minivan and luckily Kia has done it, again.
With the Carnival, Kia redeemed the name of the minivan segment and honestly, we couldn’t ask for more. With the curvy and fluidic design, a powerful engine and the most luxurious interiors, it changed the image of the minivan segment and people loved it. No other car in any other segment offers so much and is an excellent value for money product.
The only question people had was, could there be a next chapter? After making the perfect automobile, could they do any better? And magically they have given us a positive answer.
The Korean brand has debuted the all-new Kia Sedona/ Carnival and they have simply outdone themselves. Kia emphasizes on the word ‘Grand Utility Vehicle’ which is a new segment and the Carnival being the first addition. So let’s come to this absolute beauty.
The tall body, boxy shape, massive greenhouse, and sliding rear doors still make it look very much like a minivan but the SUV design cues and the A- and B-pillars been blacked out, the C-pillar having a chrome finish with a diamond pattern in the same vein as the latest SorentoSUV definitely makes it look more exclusive and stylish. It is also bigger and spacious than the previous model with overall length increasing by 40 mm (1.57 inches) to 5155 mm (203 inches) while the wheelbase has been stretched by 30 mm (1.18 inches) to 3090 mm (121.6 inches). The body’s width has been extended by 10 mm (0.4 inches) to 1995 mm (78.5 inches) while the rear overhang is 30 mm (1.18 inches) longer, at 1130 mm (44.4 inches), for more third-row space and greater cargo volume. The increased footprint comes along with a newly developed platform and a choice between three and four rows of seats. Depending on the market, the Carnival will be available with seven, eight, or 11 seats.
The interiors have been completely revamped from scratch and it literally has nothing in common with the previous model. It has a more sophisticated look now with significant additions like the adoption of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen of the same size, along with reworked climate controls and the adoption of upscale materials throughout the interior.
Its not the same car with a different shell too, many mechanical changes have been done to make it plusher and more comfortable on the tarmac. A fully independent suspension has lowered the noise, vibration, and harshness while increasing comfort. Further lowering NVH levels of the minivan is the greater adoption of sound-deadening material, a full underbody cover, and additional insulation between the engine bay and cabin.
Coming to the heart, a new massive 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 has been introduced for the Carnival churning out a blithering 290 BHP and 355 Nm of torque making it a super minivan. A naturally aspirated mill with the same displacement packs 268 hp and 332 Nm (245 lb-ft). There’s also a newly developed 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel producing a healthy 200 hp and 440 Nm (325 lb-ft). All three are hooked up as the standard to an eight-speed automatic transmission. We will surely find the Carnival on the dragstrip and possibly in the next Fast and Furious movie with such numbers!
A very big mechanical change is the replacement of the new column-mounted motor-driven power steering serving as a replacement of the old hydraulic power steering system. Not only is the steering response more direct now, but the steering ratio is 5.6 per cent quicker than before and allows Kia to integrate new driver assistance systems. It has everything from lane-keeping assist and blind-spot to forward collision-avoidance assist with car, cyclist, and pedestrian detection. Another new and important safety feature is the Safe Exit Assist system that prevents the power-sliding rear doors from opening if it detects a car is approaching from behind. In a worst-case scenario, following a crash, automatic braking is activated to diminish the severity of a possible second impact. Very thoughtful Kia!
It is set to go on the South Korean market in the 3 quarter of 2021 and possible 2022 launch in India.