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Review: 2017 Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi

About Mark

Mark Holgate is the driving force behind Exhaust Notes Australia, one of this country's premier automotive websites, with in excess of 1 million visits every year, and literally hundreds of car reviews and motoring stories.

With more than 20 years experience as a journalist, and five years as a professional blogger, he brings a wealth of knowledge about cars, bikes and everything in between.

Learn exactly why this people mover has tonnes to offer.

World class, loaded with technology, comfortable and reliable. Words to live by for the 2017 Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi – with the overall Carnival model holding the title of Australia’s best family wagon, according to the Australian Automobile Association and its member bodies.

There's something about the Carnival Platinum.

There's something about the Carnival Platinum

For a once maligned brand, the title is proof of just how far it has come as a car maker here in Australia. Established in 1944, Kia was often seen as a dark-horse brand because of the poor reputation of its original low-budget models. Oft considered cheap and cheerful, their reputation was average. Those days, however, are long gone.

Let’s face it, it’s a BIG vehicle and there is just no getting around that point, but it’s a plus in many ways. It can hold up to eight people and still have room for luggage or groceries thanks to the enormous well at the rear that normally houses the last row of seats when they are not needed. That said, it takes up a lot of room in the driveway.

Step inside and despite the luxurious looking interior, you could be excused for thinking that things might be tight or somewhat uncomfortable, like many people movers, but we’re here to tell you, you’d be wrong. Eight people in relative comfort or six in extreme comfort – no problem for the Carnival Platinum.

When the seats are all stowed away, you can fit a king single mattress in the back and have room for the bed frame, with a lot of room left over on top for other things. We tried it and it worked a treat. We were not really surprised at this, but were still pleased nonetheless.

Having all electric side doors and tailgate made it easy to load and unload the vehicle, especially as the tailgate can be opened using the fob. Great when your hands are full of grocery bags. There is A LOT of room in the back of this vehicle, so moving the Millennials out of home will be easy.

There’s plenty of power at hand too, even when fully loaded up, this wagon has loads of it. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel in our test vehicle is exceptionally punchy and there was very little lag when the loud pedal was applied, thanks to 147kW of power and 440Nm of torque from the power plant.

The initial thought we had was that it would be a little like a commercial van or mini bus to drive, a little slow to take off at lights and be hard to drive in traffic, but this was definitely not the case. The Carnival kept up with traffic with ease and did not feel like it was trying hard at all.

Inside, it was definitely lovely and quiet to cruise around in, even under acceleration. The driving position is comfortable too, and the electric seats can be adjusted to suit almost any comfort level. The front seats are also heated, as is the steering wheel, which is perfect for those cold winter mornings.

In the summer months the seats can also be cooled, so no more sweat-stained backs on arrival at work or family get together’s on the weekends. Adding to the driving experience is the excellent climate control system that is not only dual zone for the front passengers, but has a separate control panel in the rear for passenger comfort.

This can be also be controlled from the front control panel, just in case it’s the little people in the back who really shouldn’t be playing with the airconditioning controls. Other technology in the car included lane-departure warning, hill start assist control, smart cruise control, and blind spot detection.

For the device-hungry family, there are three USB and three 12V sockets available to charge everyone’s phones and tablets, and additional safety features include a forward-collision warning system, while the reversing camera includes 360-degree viewing on the Platinum only.

With a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, this people mover has tonnes to offer. It’s got all the bells and whistles inside, although we didn’t like the foot pedal hand brake, which in 2017 should surely be a thing of the past. Externally, the finish is exceptional, and the doors feel solid and sturdy when you close them, reinforcing the quality of the new Carnival.

Our test vehicle also came with awesome looking, shiny chrome alloy wheels, which added to the funky look of the Platinum edition, and made it feel far less like a soccer mum car. If you’re keen, the 2017 Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi comes in Clear White, Platinum Graphite, Aurora Black, Silky Silver and Snow Pearl White.

Comparisons to other manufacturer offerings in the same class put this one in the middle to top-of-the-range options. Value for money is excellent when you consider that Kia offer a 7-year warranty. It hits the road at a drive-away price of $67,184.25 (including premium paint).

Our 2017 Kia Carnival Platinum CRDi was Kia Motors Australia. To find out more, your local Kia dealer.

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