The all-new 2021 Kia Carnival officially goes on sale in Australia on January 5. It proves humble MPVs needn’t be all utilitarian without style or technology. Or without power for that matter.
Four main trim levels are going on sale, spanning from the S, Si, SLi, to the top Platinum. All are based on Hyundai Motor Group’s latest mid-size vehicle platform, like the new Sorento and Santa Fe, and all are available with either a 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre Smartstream turbo-diesel, or a 216kW/355Nm 3.5-litre Smartstream GDI petrol V6. All feature front-wheel drive and an eight-speed auto.
As we saw during the initial unveiling, the 2021 Carnival takes on a fresh and quite futuristic exterior design. The theme seems wider and lower, making it look sportier than ever before. You’ve also got Kia’s latest almost-full-width front grille, and the full-width taillight layout at the back. There’s also new-look alloy wheels and some dark highlights for a fashionable contrasting theme.
The interior has undergone a big overhaul, bringing in the company’s latest wide-screen media interface which sits on an elegantly floating instrument panel. Like the new Sorento, a physical T-shape gear selector in the outgoing model is replaced by a more refined rotary dial. The climate controls are then housed within a separate cluster on the dash.
Kia Australia says the full specs and features for each variant will be confirmed tomorrow, however, the local arm says the new model will come “stacked” with kit across the range. It will also pack an “extensive range” of passive and active safety systems as standard. We will update this story tomorrow with more details. In the meantime, the starting prices are as follows:
2021 Kia Carnival S 3.5 V6: $46,880 ($50,390 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival Si 3.5 V6: $52,380 ($55,790 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival SLi 3.5 V6: $56,880 ($60,290 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival Platinum 3.5 V6: $64,680 ($67,990 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival S 2.2 diesel: $48,880 ($52,390 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival Si 2.2 diesel: $54,380 ($57,790 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival SLi 2.2 diesel: $58,880 ($62,290 drive-away)
2021 Kia Carnival Platinum 2.2 diesel: $66,680 ($69,990 drive-away)
UPDATE: Kia Australia has now confirmed the S features an 8.0-inch touch-screen media interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while the Si and above include a 12.3-inch screen. All models also come with a 4.2-inch TFT display for the instrument cluster.
All models come with nine cup holders, four bottle holders, four mobile phone holders, and five USB ports. The top Platinum has seven USB ports, and comes with a 12-speaker Bose sound system, and special 19-inch black alloy wheels.
As for safety, all come standard with rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist, autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. The SLi and Platinum add a surround-view parking camera and safe exit assist, among other things.