THE first-generation Kia Carnival was launched in 1998. It was manufactured and marketed differently for specific regions. In the United States, it was marketed as Kia Sedona, while in Malaysia, it was rebranded as Naza Ria.
The Naza Ria, which was the first multipurpose vehicle (MPV) that could comfortably fit six adults, had 4,000 pre-orders even before the price was announced. In 2005, Kia launched its second-generation Carnival. However, that version never made it to Malaysia.
Last month, Naza Kia Sdn Bhd, the automotive arm of the Naza Group, launched the third-generation Kia Grand Carnival that comes in three variants — a base, low-spec 2.2D, the 2.2 CRDI KX and the 2.2 CRDI EX.
The Kia Grand Carnival entry-level 2.2D is priced at RM153,888, while the 2.2 CRDI KX variant goes for RM169,888. The highest specification 2.2 CRDI EX comes with a price tag of RM185,888. All prices are inclusive of six per cent Goods and Services Tax and insurance. It also comes with a five-year unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty and Naza Kia’s “Value 5” smart financing package.
All three variants of the Grand Carnival are powered by a 2.2-litre CRDi turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It churns out 190hp at 3,800rpm and 440Nm of torque from 1,750rpm to 2,750rpm.
The Grand Carnival is an eight-seater MPV that provides comfort, generous legroom and 960 litres of luggage space with all of its seats up.
It has won a few awards, including the JD Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) award, Top Safety Pick from the United States Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the 2015 Ward’s 10 Best Interiors award. It also been awarded a maximum five-star safety rating by independent crash test authority ANCAP and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
On its exterior, all models come with projector halogen headlamps with LED day running lights, front and rear fog lamps, LED-type rear combination lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, shark fin antenna and electric-folding side mirrors with LED indicators.
The range-topping 2.2 CRDI EX comes with a roof rack and a black and chrome radiator grill, while the CRDI KX and 2.2D comes with plain black radiator grill. The entry-level 2.2D is equipped with manually-operated sliding rear doors and a standard key fob, while the 2.2 CRDI KX comes with power sliding doors and keyless entry with push-start button. On top of that, the 2.2 CRDI EX has an additional smart power tailgate.
All variants come equipped with the MacPherson front suspension and the multi-link rear suspension. It has improved suspension to give a more comfortable ride for its passengers.
Meanwhile, the interior is fitted with a 3.5-inch Supervision TFT-mono OLED instrument cluster, 4.3-inch TFT colour touchscreen entertainment system, six-speaker audio system with USB and AUX-in connectivity, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, manual adjusted with powered lumbar support driver side seat, foot parking brake and auto cruise control, manual air-conditioning and manual sunshade blinds for the second and third row windows.
The CRDI KX gets a rear-view camera and fabric seats, while the CRDI EX comes with a rear-view camera, two-tone leather seats, leather steering wheel, triple-zone automatic climate control with cluster ioniser, and a powered 12-way front driver seat.
As for its safety aspect of the Grand Carnival, all variants come with six airbags, front and rear parking sensors, electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system, hill assist control and Isofix child seat mounts.
Naza Kia organised a media drive to Janda Baik and we were invited to test the Grand Carnival to see what it has to offer.
Thirty media personnel took part in the Grand Carnival media drive to Janda Baik. The convoy consisted of seven test vehicles in a mixture of CRDI KX and CRDI EX variants.
We clocked around 200km through highways, city, rough and damaged road conditions. As we departed from the Naza Tower in Platinum Park, we found the Grand Carnival to be smooth and powerful. Just tap on the accelerator and the MPV dashes through traffic with ease.
Its six-speed transmission was smooth with no jerk and little hesitation. The transmission shifts seamlessly and accurately. The MPV’s medium hard absorber and suspension setting is designed to smoothen uneven and rough road conditions.
The multi-link rear suspension, however, could be improved for highway driving. During high speed driving, it felt a bit wobbly at the rear.
However, the MPV performs perfectly within speeds of 120kph. It is like the Grand Carnival’s sweet spot for both its driver and passenger. It tackles the corner firmly and absorbs the road conditions with comfort. Its low centre gravity chassis design, reduces the body roll of the full size MPV.
The Grand Carnival’s steering gives the driver accurate road feedback. Even though it is a full size MPV, it handles like a sedan.
Tyre, engine and wind noise is very well isolated. Even during high speed driving, there is only minimal noise penetrating into the cabin, which is easily overcome by low volume music or even a casual conversation.
We were impressed with the amount of storage space available in the Grand Carnival. Right on top of the large glove compartment, there is a multi-box storage compartment. It even has a large centre console compartment that can easily fit a 13-inch laptop in it.
After a long day of activities, the media headed back to Naza Tower. At the end of the drive, the trip meter showed that it consumed 9.6 litres per 100km with a distance to empty of more than 700km. After an aggressive drive and hard accelerations, it only consumed about 10.7 to 11.4 litres per 100km.
Overall, we were impressed with the performance, design, and features of the Grand Carnival.
But there is still room for improvements. The MPV is short of a blind spot warning system and as it is a large size vehicle, the system can enhance the safety of the vehicle when switching lanes.
Another aspect of the Carnival that can be improved is to have a larger touchscreen entertainment system as at 4.3 inches, even some of today’s smartphones have a larger screen.