Published on April 12th, 2017 | by Amirul Mukminin


2017 Kia Grand Carnival: First Impressions

Life moves pretty fast. It seems like yesterday when you welcome your firstborn into this world and before you know it, you are blessed with four more children. Now, the need of a bigger vehicle arises and said vehicle has to be spacious enough to seat seven comfortably.

You can always be like the rest of them and splurge your hard-earned cash on a grey imported Japanese MPV or better yet, you can spend the same amount of money and drive home a brand new, fully-imported Kia Grand Carnival.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. The Kia Grand Carnival is back in town after making its debut here more than 10 years ago. Malaysian official distributor Naza Kia is adamant that their latest offering, which is fully imported from Korea, will help spur the company’s numbers and more importantly its presence in the MPV segment.

Launched in March 2017, the new Grand Carnival is offered in two variants – the 2.2 CRDI KX at RM165,888 and the range-topping 2.2 CRDI EX at RM185,888. Both feature the same 2.2-litre four-cylinder CRDi turbodiesel engine with 193 PS and 440 Nm and a torque converter six-speed automatic transmission.

As with many new Kias you see on the road today, the Grand Carnival was designed by Peter Schreyer, with the trademark ‘tiger-nose’ grille being the most telling trait. The MPV has not only grown in size, it is much better looking than the models that came before it. Halogen headlamps with LED daytime running lights are standard for both variants, and so are the LED tail lamps. As opposed to the KX, the 2.2 CDRI EX gets a black radiator grille with chrome surround as well as roof rails. Both variants come with 18-inch alloy wheels but with different finishes – silver for the KX and machined for the EX.

Looking at the interior, it is safe to say practicality and functionality are the focus here. The dashboard is exactly what one can expect with Kia, neat, tidy and nothing too fancy. Apart from the lack of a bigger touchscreen for the infotainment system, the cabin is pretty well-equipped. The KX we tested came standard with leather upholstery, rear view camera, tilt and telescopic steering, cruise control and a triple zone fully-automatic climate control system, to name a few.

Measuring in at 5,115 mm in length, 1,985 mm in width, and 1,740 mm in height, the Grand Carnival is a bigger beast than its Japanese counterpart. Having a 3,060-mm wheelbase means it can fit up to eight passengers in a 2-3-3 layout. The second row seats can be folded or put in a standing position, while third row seats can be folded flat into the vehicle floor.

Getting in and out of the vehicle is easy, thanks to the presence of power sliding doors on both sides. The Grand Carnival is also equipped with electric tailgate, which makes loading and unloading much easier.

The CRDi engine did very well throughout the short trip from the bustling Kuala Lumpur to the relaxed town of Janda Baik. With four persons on board and an abundant of pulling power across the rev range, the Grand Carnival proved that the turbodiesel mill has enough vigour to propel the huge MPV. Responsive throttle also helps in delivering the power to the ground almost instantaneously.

Power aside, the engine operates in a hushed manner and doesn’t produce the typical diesel clatter noise. Either that, or Kia has found the right solution to keep unwanted noises out for the sake of a very comfortable cabin.

The Grand Carnival maintains the MacPherson front suspension and multi-link rear suspension, resulting in a commendable ride quality that is fit for a family vehicle. The suspension setup soaks up road bumps and undulations without a fuss, and eliminates unpleasant oscillations in the process. The steering is a hit-and-miss – accommodating at low speed manoeuvres, numb when dealing with corners.

As a family car, the Grand Carnival is not short of safety features. Both variants come standard with six airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Hill-start Assist, ABS as well as rear and front parking sensors.

Sure, the Kia Grand Carnival has its shortcomings but looking at the bigger picture, it is a high-potential product aimed at those looking for space and usability on top of everything else. Some might find the prices a tad too much for a Kia but considering its origin and the enticing package it comes with, this could be the deal you don’t want to miss out on.

Kia Grand Carnival Specifications
Engine: CRDi four-cylinder turbodiesel
Capacity: 2,199 cc
Power: 193 PS @ 3,800 rpm
Torque: 440 Nm @ 1,750 – 2,750 rpm
Transmissiom: six-speed automatic
0-100 km/h: –
Top speed: –
Price: From RM165,888

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