2021 Kia Carnival Review: Space Jam [w/video]



1.Intro/Design and Appearance
2. Space and Practicality 
3. Interior and Features 
4. Driving Experience
5. Competition, Conclusion

Driving Experience 

With a focus on moving people, here’s where MPVs usually drop the ball. But the Carnival can hold a netball team, and it doesn’t trip up when it comes to footwork either. 

There are four drive modes, but you’ll do best just leaving it in ‘Smart’ all the time. There are no paddle shifters, and you’ll have to supply your own exciting engine noises since it’s a diesel. 

The car’s 2.2-litre turbodiesel is a great match for a seven-seater – as it was in the Sorento. It sounds like a diesel, with the extra clatter, but it’s no more troubling than a European diesel, or Volvo’s direct-injection petrol units. The 440Nm of torque allows for quick acceleration whenever needed, though as a diesel it hasn’t much of a top end.

Still, the Carnival gets up to speed with pleasing alacrity, and the eight-speed gearbox is buttery smooth, with almost seamless shifts, making it feel almost electric vehicle-like. 

The ride quality is impressive, lacking the stiff crash many MPVs have. There’s a little thump over more obtuse bumps such as expansion joints, and you’ll feel a little flex in the rear seats, but it’s not an old-school MPV where you hear the windows and doors shake and rattle. 

While the steering’s a little lazy, the Carnival handles well, staying planted and predictable even at high speeds. Pair that with a good level of refinement, and we can imagine this to be a great car for a Malaysian getaway (remember those?). 

As a diesel the Carnival’s kinder at the pump than many large cars. At the end of our test drive of 150km (shared with Ju-Len, no less) we nabbed 8.1L/100km, which is excellent for a car of this mass. 



On to Page 5 and the one Big Butt But of the Carnival

1.Intro/Design and Appearance
2. Space and Practicality 
3. Interior and Features 
4. Driving Experience
5. Competition, Conclusion

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong