Kia introduces the all-new 2021 Carnival. The fourth-generation “grand utility vehicle” has been revealed in full as the Carnival for domestic market South Korea and will be called the Sedona in the western part of the globe. The new Carnival represents a design evolution for Kia’s flagship minivan, with a sense of solidity, futuristic details, and SUV-inspired forms and surfaces. It brings a stronger, more stylish presence to the MPV segment as a result.
Its new ‘tiger-nose’ design spans the width of the vehicle, integrating LED daytime running lights (DRLs), headlamps, and grille to give the new Carnival a confident, futuristic new look and a unique light signature. The sculpted bumpers and lower air intake at the front are matched with metallic trim and a black lower bumper – a treatment evident on the brand’s SUVs.
Compared to the outgoing car, it features a shorter front overhang, with the base of the A-pillar moved backward to create a longer hood. Its increased wheelbase contributes to greater space throughout the cabin, and the extended side profile hints at the new Carnival’s more refined dynamics. A single character line runs the length of the car, with bold wheel arches and sharp lines giving a more modern, sculpted appearance. A key design highlight its new ‘island roof’ design, with blacked-out A- and B-pillars beneath a body-colored roof. An eye-catching new C-pillar signature design also stands out, with a chromed fin bearing a subtle diamond pattern.
At the rear, the Carnival is robust in stature and boasts a wide, distinctive new look accentuated by a full-width light bar. Another element of its SUV-inspired design is the metallic lower skid plate, further affording a more robust appearance. The new Carnival offers customers a choice of up to eight exterior paint colors, as well as a range of aluminum alloy wheel designs, 17, 18 or 19 inches in diameter, depending on specification.
Inside, the cabin of the new Kia Carnival is based on the concept of ‘Spatial Talents’, providing a relaxing, high-tech, and stylish environment ideal for family travel. The high-tech ambiance is most obvious in its wide, panoramic-screen dashboard design, which integrates dual-screen 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 12.3-inch infotainment screen technologies, haptic touch controls, and a compact shift-by-wire dial for the transmission that is located at the base of the center console.
Thanks to its new platform and larger body, the fourth-generation Carnival boasts massive space for passengers. Depending on the market, the Carnival offers owners three- or four-row seating configurations, with space for seven, eight, or 11 occupants in total. The car is also more versatile and spacious than ever before, offering intelligent and flexible interior packaging and an abundance of cabin storage areas.
In its popular seven-seat configuration, the Carnival boasts Kia’s reclining ‘Premium Relaxation Seat’ for second-row occupants, with adjustable back-, arm- and leg-rests providing ‘business class’ seating. This also offers a one-touch ‘Relaxation’ mode, automatically reclining and adjusting the seats for maximum comfort on a long drive. Combined with the Carnival’s flexible seating arrangements, this ensures the new model is easy to set-up as the ideal car for any situation.
The front passengers will be able to check on those rear passengers without turning their heads thanks to a Rear Passenger View & Talk feature that pipes a camera feed of what’s behind the front row onto the infotainment screen, then amplifies the voices of the front passengers through the rear seat speakers when they talk to the folks in the back. There’s also a Rear Passenger Voice Recognition feature that allows second-row occupants to issue voice commands to the infotainment system.
With only the first row of seats in use, the Carnival offers a best-in-class trunk space of up to 2,905 liters, with 627 liters available to use behind the third-row seats. Furthermore, the lift-over height for the trunk is 26 mm lower than its predecessor, at 640 mm, making it even easier to load. The power tailgate and smart power-sliding rear passenger doors also facilitate access to the trunk and cabin.
Depending on market and specification, the new Carnival is available with a choice of up to three new engines, all offering swift, easily-accessible performance. The most powerful engine in the line-up is a 3.5-liter GDi (gasoline direct injection) V6, producing up to 294 PS and 355 Nm torque. A 3.5-liter MPi gasoline V6 is also available, producing up to 272 PS and 332 Nm torque. A new 2.2-liter ‘Smartstream’ diesel engine is offered that makes up to 202 PS and 440 Nm torque. All engines are paired as standard with eight-speed automatic transmission.
Safety technologies include Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with the car, pedestrian and cyclist detection; Lane Keeping Assist (LKA); Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA); Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA); Driver Attention Warning (DAW); Blind-Spot View Monitor (BVM), High Beam Assist (HBA); Smart Cruise Control (SCC) or Navigation-based SCC (NSCC); Lane Following Assist (LFA); Highway Driving Assist (HDA); and Surround View Monitor (SVM).
Safe Exit Assist (SEA) is an important new addition to the suite of safety technologies for the fourth-generation Carnival. SEA prevents the power-sliding rear doors from opening – and young passengers exiting the vehicle – if the system detects a car approaching from behind on either side. Kia’s ‘Level 2’ autonomous driving technology, Highway Driving Assist (HDA), controls acceleration, braking, and steering depending on the vehicles in front. Using front view camera and front radar, it helps maintain a set distance and speed from the vehicle ahead when driving on a highway and helps center the vehicle in its lane while driving.
In addition, it features a Rear View Monitor (RVM), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA), and forward and reverse Parking Distance Warning (PDW). The RCCA system helps to avoid collisions with vehicles crossing behind from the left and right sides of the Carnival while reversing. This assists the driver by braking the car automatically if it detects an obstacle crossing behind it.
The new Carnival is offered with Kia’s innovative Multi-Collision Brake system, which enables the car to mitigate the severity of secondary collisions. It automatically applies the vehicle’s brakes when the airbags have been deployed after an initial collision, further protecting occupants from secondary frontal or side impacts. The Carnival is fitted with up to seven airbags, as well as a suite of electronic vehicle safety systems.
All models are equipped as standard with Kia’s Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) and Electronic Stability Control, helping drivers maintain control under braking and cornering. The bodyshell is comprised of different grades of high-strength steel, maximizing torsional rigidity while keeping body weight low.
The shell of the new model features newly reinforced pillars, and features a higher proportion of Advanced High-Strength Steel and hot-stamped steel than its predecessor, increasing torsional rigidity and adding strength. The more rigid bodyshell reduces road vibrations and enhances occupant safety in the event of a collision. Kia will have the Carnival on sale in South Korea starting with the third quarter of the year, with additional markets to follow.