Kia Carnival, known in the USA as the Sedona, is the best selling people mover in the country according to VFACTS, and Kia.

It’s the sensible choice for those who fancy tea and Tim Tams at three. It is tough and reliable. Above all has enough space to transport the team to a game, then double as the playing field upon arrival.


Kia calls Carnival a CUV, or Crossover Utility Vehicle, making it sound like something requiring a séance on a beach. Please note, the Kia USA website says it is a Mini Van, a term to strikes terror into the hearts of thousands.

“No No,” Kia OZ says. Carnival is a sort-of stretched version of a Sorento.

That means it is based on an SUV instead of a fridge, like most other people movers. Most people movers are called mini-vans for a reason, they’re small vans. Small vans are very unattractive, Victor.

Rather than laboring the point any further, let’s move swiftly to particulars.

The likeness to Sorento is uncanny, especially at the front end. S, Si, SLi and Platinum models look similar but don’t be fooled. Platinum is a precious metal, and that means it costs a lot.

Because it is the most expensive offering, Platinum gets sexy“ice cube” 4-point DTRLs (daytime running lights), like a Porsche 718. It is finished off with shiny chrome 19” wheels, like a Jaguar, and electric rear side doors like a Tesla. Kia is more modest than the show-off-look-at-me Tesla, so the doors slide rather than swinging upward. We like that.

If you linger round the back too long, the hatch will beep at you, then sweep majestically skyward with the campest of flourishes, as long as the key is secreted about your person.

LED tail lights stop people from banging into you from behind, and LED head lights are so bright that they look like the Christmas lights the Queen would choose.

The Si is the model fleets will pick, but pleb does not mean pov, at least not in this case. It misses out on the LED headlights, and makes do with 17” alloys, but still looks a million bucks. SLi is in-between, so has in-between alloys of 18”.

If you think Carnival is big, you’re right, it is. It is around 700mm longer than a Mazda 3.


The cabin is more capacious than Lady Bracknell’s handbag, and far better kitted out too. Smart entry means you don’t need a key (in the upper models), and it has push button start.

Leather has been lavished upon the furnishings with gay abandon. The top model looks positively posh.

All designations have a fabulously punchy audio system, but only the bottom model misses out on the JBL 8-speaker system. It makes do with a 7” colour touch screen instead of the 8 incher of the top 3.

It doesn’t miss out on the Apple Carplay or Android Auto though. Pairing your phone through Bluetooth is a simple 20 second affair following on-screen instructions any fool could manage.

A simple dash includes driver instruments with MFD (multi function display) which has a digital speedo mode. Hooray!

Menus are accessed via simple steering wheel buttons where settings can be found, including that nifty magic tailgate. You can turn the auto-open function off if you simply can’t abide unbridled convenience.

Further settings be fettled in the centre console screen. There, traffic camera warnings should be turned firmly off if you value your sanity. If not, the nagging lady in the dashboard will bark commands at you every five minutes. She is telling you about so many cameras, so many