Kia Carnival Platinum petrol is spacious, comfortable, well-equipped and even handsome. But does that powerful V6 make a stronger argument than the diesel?
When we first tested the all-new Kia Carnival Platinum, we were impressed by its abundance of cabin space that could easily cater to eight adults, along with the blend of luxury – heated and cooled front seats and a heated steering wheel, convenience and safety with blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control along with electrically operated doors.
And it was good – actually, dare we say nice – to drive too. Not just by people mover standards, but by car standard. And perhaps the biggest surprise of the whole package, it was a rather handsome thing. A sexy people mover? What? Really? Sort of.
To read about our experience with the Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi (diesel) in greater detail, click here.
There have been some slight changes for the 2018 model year Kia Carnival Platinum. The new version is now fitted collision mitigation and pedestrian avoidance systems, along with an impressive 360 degree camera system which generates crystal clear imagery of a number of different angles from around the car.
Many of these changes have resulted in the Kia Carnival Platinum being upgraded from a four to a five star ANCAP safety rating, important when you’re buying a car designed to lug around eight people and their stuff.
Additionally, the Carnival is a much newer design than its nemesis the Toyota Tarago, and that is reflected in tis packaging, comfort, driving experience, technology and value.
The Kia Carnival Platinum petrol is powered by a 3.3 litre petrol V6 that develops 206kW @ 6000rpm and 336Nm @ 5200rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a smooth-shifting six-speed automatic.
Let’s start with the good: the engine is smooth, it’s willing and it even makes a nice noise when the tacho needle is hovering around the upper echelons of the rev range. A cruising speeds it’s wonderfully hushed and refined.
The not so good: while those power and torque figures look decent on paper, they are developed fairly close to redline. This is perfectly acceptable if the engine was bolted into a performance car – the Stinger’s V6 may actually have a bit in common with this engine – but the Carnival is a people bus, not a sportster. And people are heavy (sorry) and their associated paraphernalia adds weight making things heavier again. In short, such a peaky engine will have to work hard to get things moving, and this translates to excess noise filtering into the cabin and unfavourable fuel consumption.
The chassis seems to struggle in containing the power too. On the odd occasion we chirped the front tyres unintentionally, which was embarrassing.
Kia quotes an official combined fuel consumption figure of 11.6 litres per 100 kilometres, but we found 14.0 to 14.5 litres to be more accurate. And to buy the Carnival Platinum petrol isn’t that much cheaper than its diesel sibling.
The Kia Carnival GDi (petrol) retails for $58,790 plus on roads – our test car was painted in Silky Silver metallic paint for an extra $695, and the Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi (diesel) retails for $61,290 plus on roads. That’s a difference of a mere $2,500 not bad when you take into account the fuel savings, less frequent fuel stops and vastly improved drivability.
Should I buy one?
If you need a large people mover, that’s commodious, practical, well-equipped and almost luxurious, then yes, you should buy a Kia Carnival Platinum. Just make sure it has a CRDi badge on the rump.