When we acquired our 3rd generation Kia Grand Carnival EX 11-seater last December 2019 in time for Christmas, we knew that the all-new 4th generation replacement was imminent in other markets. The question at the time was whether we should wait another year to even two before the all-new model would be available at our local dealership in the Philippines or fully commit to the outgoing model. Obviously, we assessed the pros and cons and arrived at the conclusion that the outgoing model, especially for the price at the time, was still an outstanding deal and it fulfilled our requirements.
Now that the all-new Kia Carnival has arrived, now universally known simply as the Carnival and not the Sedona in North America or Grand Carnival in other markets, I can now perform a full comprehensive review that includes instrumented dynamic testing. The final results were very significant. The outgoing model is still a compelling and practical multi-passenger mini-van that will continue to reward its current owners with a lifetime of balanced good service however, the new model is absolutely better in every single way, from the basic switchgear to the mechanical components, at a significant price increase though.
To make better sense of the loftier price, which was inevitable, you have to understand and appreciate the sweeping improvements that were made throughout the entire all-new mini-van. For the past 5 years, beginning with the Stinger GT, Kia has exponentially elevated their game across the board throughout their entire model ranges. The levels of standard equipment, design, applied materials, fit and finish, and engineering of the new Kia’s are at their most profound without orphaning its past customers.
Essentially, the only carried over mechanical component from the outgoing Grand Carnival is the 8-speed automatic transmission with the same gear ratios, but even that transmission has been recalibrated to communicate and optimize the new Smartstream 2.2-liter engine. The only component that regressed with the Carnival is the smaller fuel tank by 8-liters (72-liters now compared to 80-liters before). The 2.2-liter engine designation may be the same as before however the engine is new with a slightly smaller displacement of 2,151 cc compared to the old 2,199 cc R-series II engine (which has a rated working life of at least 250,000 kilometers). The more efficient and marginally more powerful new Smartstream D2.2 engine is the same as the unit on the new Sorento though the smaller brother uses an even more dynamic 8-speed Dual-Clutch transmission. The new powerplant uses a full aluminum block instead of compacted graphite iron with a timing belt instead of a timing chain that is 83.6 pounds (38 kg.) lighter than before, the engine compression ratio is still 16.0:1 though the piezo-electronic injector fuel pressure was increased from operating at 1,800 bar (21,000 PSI) to 2,200 bar (31,910 PSI). The power increase may look inconsequential at 2 kW (2.7bhp) over the old engine, but the weight savings, increased efficiency, and new ECU programming working with a new electric-assisted, instead of hydraulic, steering makes the new Carnival more economical and astoundingly more alive.
The new 7-seater Kia Carnival SX is approximately 317 pounds (144 kg.) lighter than the outgoing Grand Carnival EX 11-seater despite being much larger and fuller featured. It has a longer wheelbase by 30 mm (1.2-inches), a longer body by 40 mm (1.6-inches), is 10 mm wider, and 20 mm taller. The cabin has approximately 88-liters more interior volume. The suspension is all-new and the brakes are much more powerful than before with larger calipers and larger discs (from 12.6-inch vented discs before to 12.8-inches up front while the solid disc rears are up from 11.9-inches to 12.8-inches). There are new tastefully-designed additional brake cooling ducts in the front bumper. The superior new brakes are supported with a considerably more comprehensive standard active and passive safety suite as well. The intricate 19-inch x 7.5J” alloys are half an inch wider than the smaller old 18-inch x 7J” alloys and are wrapped with much more premium Continental CrossContact RX tires instead of the old Kumho Crugen Premium units.
The overall driving and passenger experience are leveled up. With the new 4-drive modes managing efficiency, steering and engine response combined with all the new hardware, the new Carnival accelerates from naught to 100 km/h in almost a full half second quicker in Sport mode with less drama, vastly less noise, and an elevated sense of effortlessness. The steering is very smooth, precise and refined, making the Carnival perform like it is a much smaller vehicle with the compliance of a luxury sedan.
Compared to the aftermarket 13-speaker system installed in our silver C! Fastfleet Grand Carnival model, the stock 6-speaker system on the new Carnival actually sounds better overall and it comes with so much more standard features that now also include a wireless phone charger in a properly secure area for consistent charging. We still own three 11-seater Grand Carnival variants in our C! Fastfleet and we are generally still satisfied with their versatility, performance, general ride comfort, and capacity but now I severely covet the new Carnival because it does everything better and looks so good inside and out. Even if I represent the tiny percentage of premium mini-van owners that actually drive their vehicles, I recognize that most owners will enjoy being chauffeured by their drivers especially since the new adjustable captain chairs have powered ottomans and climate control (and dual moonroofs and ambient lighting). I encourage owners to drive their new Carnival like most people do around the world so you can appreciate how great a vehicle it is and how much pampering the driver and front passenger also enjoy with the plethora of standard features. Even the third row is fully adjustable and has its own USB charging points. I want to point out in particular that both the captain chairs and the third-row seats have ISOFIX mounts and are adjustable and reclinable, a still often overlooked important safety feature for growing families, so now you can fully optimize everyone’s passenger comfort without compromising safety.
The new headlights, fog lamps, and rear signature lighting not only all look aesthetically impressive but more importantly they are also much more effective than before which only improves safety and comfort. The powered smart side doors and trunk are brilliant. Every detail was improved and added where once it was not offered.
The all-new Kia Carnival is the best handling, best braking, most thoughtful, most efficient, and most balanced premium mini-van in our market. Kia built on the strengths of the old Grand Carnival and simply made it better in every way.
Specification – 2022 Kia Carnival SX
Location: Front, Transverse
Displacement: 2151 cc
Cylinder block: Cast Aluminum
Cylinder head: Cast Aluminum, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Fuel Injection: Direct Commonrail Fuel Injection, Intercooled E-VGT Turbodiesel
Max power: 199 bhp @ 3800 rpm
Max torque: 325 lb-ft @ 1750-2750 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, Front-Wheel-Drive
Front suspension: Independent MacPherson Strut with Gas-Pressurized dampers and anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: Independent Multi-link, coil springs with Gas-Pressurized dampers and anti-roll bar.
Fuel Capacity: 72 liters (19 gallons)
Load Capacity: 1,133 liters
Ground Clearance: 172 mm
Approach Angle: 16 degrees
Departure Angle: 20 degrees
L x W x H: 5155 mm x 1995 mm x 1740 mm
Wheelbase: 3090 mm
Brakes: Front 12.8-inch (325 mm) ventilated discs with 2-piston calipers / Rear 12.8-inch (325 mm) solid discs with single piston calipers Integrated Electric Parking Brake, ABS, HAC, ESC, MCV, TSA
Wheels: 19”x 7.5J Multi-spoke Two-Tone Glossy Black Aluminum Alloys.
Tires: P235/55R19 101H Continental CrossContact RX
Weight: (kerb) 1963 kg. (4319 lbs.)
0-100 km/h (0-62 mph): 9.1 seconds
Top Speed (mph): 205 km/h (128 mph) Governed
Fuel Mileage: 8.4 L/100 km Overall
Price as tested: PhP 2,988,000.00 (Astra Blue)
C! RATING 10/10
+The absolute best in its class, the new standard in Grand MPV travel, very full-featured, tastefully attractive.