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Wheels of the Week: A carnival on the go

The Kia Carnival delivers comfort for the whole family, writes SHERYL GOLDSTUCK.

One can get the whole family and more into a Kia Carnival. It is a minivan that seamlessly combines style with practicality, delivering excellent value for one’s investment.

Its roomy and cozy interior, refined powertrain, and a plethora of standard features make it an appealing choice. In terms of design, the Carnival stands out with its stylish and modern appearance, featuring a striking grille, LED headlights and taillights, and a sleek roofline.

The Carnival boasts one of the most spacious and comfortable interiors in the minivan market. The front seats are supportive and offer ample legroom and headroom, while the second row is roomy, featuring three reclining captain’s chairs -seats made for one person – that can be adjusted for more legroom in the third row. Although the third row is not as comfortable as the second, it’s still relatively spacious. Eight adults can be comfortably seated in this minivan.

It has a sunken boot, which allows for sufficient cargo capacity. The third row of seats can also be pushed down to allow for more cargo space.

Under the hood, the Carnival is powered by a standard 3.5L V6 engine, generating 290 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, coupled with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain is smooth and refined, delivering ample power for most driving scenarios.

The Carnival impresses with a generous list of standard features, including a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and a lane departure warning system.  

I loved that I connected my phone, wirelessly, via Bluetooth and it worked immediately for Android Auto. Every time I got into the Kia after that, it connected automatically to my phone once I switched the engine on.

Playing my music via my phone on Android Auto was like sitting in a cinema with surround sound. This meant that I felt less stressed while encountering the lucky-packet drivers on the road.

If I have one criticism of the Carnival I drove, is that it did not have a 360-degree camera. This would have made reversing and parking that much easier, considering the length and size of the vehicle.

Driving the Kia Carnival does not feel like you are driving a bus, as is the case with most minivans. It is comfortable and the steering is easy. The turning span is phenomenal.

* Pricing for the Kia Carnival starts at R896,995.

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