2021 Kia Carnival Reveiw

January 12, 2021

Thinking about buying a large SUV for your growing family, with no plans of going off-road? Don’t. Buy the 2021 Kia Carnival instead.


It’s impossible to dislike a car, when it happens to be very good at its core role. And the new 2021 Kia Carnival people mover is exactly that.

This ain’t no muscular, swooping, coupe-SUV-off-road-shooting-brake-family-sportscar, like so many segment-blurring models that are currently crowding showrooms. The Kia Carnival is a god-damned, unabashed people mover. And it’s all the better for it.

It wasn’t that long ago that Kia’s previous generation Carnival impressed me greatly, even in its cheapest and most basic form. And now that Kia has an all-new Carnival, CarAdvice has been behind the wheel of a top-specification Platinum for review.

With a drive-away price of $69,990, the Platinum represents a price hike of 33 per cent over the base specification diesel (which starts from $52,390).

Good news across the range is that Kia hasn’t skimped on important safety features – autonomous emergency braking and many other features are standard across the range. While S makes do with manual cloth seats, 8-inch infotainment and manual air conditioning, it’s the cheapest of the bunch at $50,390 drive-away (petrol).


Let’s cover off some dimensions: Sharing the same new platform as Kia’s new and impressive Sorento, the new Carnival gains 30mm in wheelbase over the third generation (now 3090mm), but has retained the same overall length of 5115mm.

It’s 10mm wider and 20mm taller as well, at 1995mm and 1775mm respectively.

The look has changed dramatically also, leaving the previous generation appearing a little bloated and lethargic in comparison.

This new model is much more chiselled, although it’s impossible to hide the outright size: its long roof, slab sides and flat boot all point towards the fact that priorities of interior space, practicality and versatility were more important than a sleek silhouette.

The new generation Carnival has dropped a few kilograms, as well, with 61kgs going missing in comparison to an old diesel Platinum model. 19.5 of those kilograms come from under the bonnet, where an alloy engine block replaces iron.

Safety is improved, with Autonomous Emergency braking (covering pedestrians, cyclists and intersections), blind spot warning and collision warning, smart (adaptive) cruise control, driver attention warning, high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert and reverse braking, multi-collision braking and safe exit assist. Let’s call that thorough, then.

The Carnival is yet to be ANCAP tested, but we’re told that it’s in the works and isn’t too far away. Even though there isn’t a centre airbag between the front seats, there’s a chance that the Carnival will achieve a five-star rating.