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KIA GRAND CARNIVAL: THE GRAND TOURER

SUVs are popular in Nepal for a couple of reasons. The primary reason, and we’re not going to soften the blow here, it is a status symbol. For many people who own proper SUVs it’s not because of its utilitarian purposes or what’s under its hood, it is purely because of what owning a premium SUV signifies. You can’t use an SUV to get to and from office on a daily basis and expect the biweekly trips to Nagarkot justify its value. The other reason is that they fulfill two purposes; they can conquer terrains hatchback drivers wouldn’t imagine embarking on and they’re ideal for transporting large families. For people looking for capabilities of the latter description, and reluctant to use their family sedan like a clown car, the options are slim and narrow.

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If you fall in this category, then let us introduce you to the Kia Grand Carnival. People movers, or minivans, aren’t the most popular of choices for the general public but for those who seek the utilitarian purposes of these massive vehicles this might tickle your fancy. Kia gave us the opportunity to take the Grand Carnival out on drive, so we packed our picnic tables and took it out for a test drive.

EXTERIOR

Kia’s massive behemoth of a machine is a handsome thing. The Grand Carnival isn’t flashy at all and Kia is quiet content with making it as good looking as possible without going overboard. And the results are seriously good. Just because it is a people mover does not mean it has to look boring, which it doesn’t.

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Kia’s people are quick to point out that this is designed to be as close to a “normal” car as possible. And under the direction of the former Audi design guru Peter Schreyer, they’ve done a splendid job.

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The tiger nose grille sets the pace for entire design. Day time running lights are integrated into the swept back LED positioning headlights which are browed with bonnet creases that run up to the A-pillars. Elegant side molding accentuates the sporty lines of theGrand Carnival to maintain a dynamic profile view.

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The shoulder line continues onto the rear of the large yet sleek body of the Grand Carnival and stops at the wraparound hexagonal tail lamps with integrated indicators. A chrome slim chrome strip and the kia badge garnish the simplistic rear.

(Scroll below for more exterior highlights)

INTERIOR AND FEATURES

It is a beige and black combination in the cabin which is capable of seating a staggering 11 people. If you want, you can take your family and your in-laws on a road trip without any hitch. They can all pile in to the massive cabin through the automatic sliding doors that open smoothly at a push of a button. The standup second row folds in vertically so that passengers can easily access the third row.

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The Grand Carnival is a people mover and it ensures that the people are comfortable throughout the duration of the journey. Seat layout is two individual seats in front; three in the centre row; two reasonable units in the back. The centre row has its two outer pews slightly wider than the centre seat. The centre seat backrest can be folded down to form a table, or can be removed altogether to give stretch out elbow room. The third row folds into the floor to create an enormous flat luggage space that still seats five.

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The three spoke steering wheels have a plethora of controls that gives telephone controls, cruise control access. The gear shift knob for the automatic transmission hints at its inspiration from the aviation world.

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The instrument console has a MIDI display flanked by large analog dials of the speedo and tachometer. There are plenty of creature  comforts in this high-tech minivan, such as keyless entry, dual full auto air conditioning, audio remote control, Radio, CD, MP3 Player and a 4.2” LCD display. There is Bluetooth connectivity and AUX and USB as well.

(Scroll below for more interior highlights)

PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING

The Grand Carnival isn’t exclusively a commuter vehicle, and you won’t use it as one. You’ll take your family away from the bustle of the city and explore what the nation has in store for you and enjoy every moment of it. To ensure that the Grand Carnival is capable of doing that it is fitted with a 2.2 diesel automatic.

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This delivers a max power of 193ps@3800 rpm. It chugs a lot of fuel but it is smooth and made light work of inclinations we pointed it towards. The six-speed auto rarely finds itself caught off guard and is quick to respond by shifting down a gear when it is. The steering is light and accurate, but the big body leans once you speed up. It’s a heavy car and feels it. Because it has a soft suspension it dips and squats over speed bumps when fully loaded.

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Around town the Carnival is large and might be difficult to manage for novice drivers. The difficulties are compensated for with large exterior mirrors and a reversing camera. And the impressively tight turning circle helps with parking and U-turns. The Carnival also features Hill-start assist control, electronic stability control, and front and rear parking sensors to make life easier.

VERDICT

For anyone who loves to travel to far away destinations with their friends and families, this is a great option to consider. The Grand Carnival is made for the travelers. Nevertheless it does not mean that it is a boring vehicle. It is decked out with all the creature comforts and the style quotient is not compromised.

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It has a steep asking price but compared to competition it is justifiable. As an added bonus you’ll be a popular during the next wedding season. Now if that doesn’t buy you in, we don’t know what will.

EXTERIOR & INTERIOR HIGHLIGHTS:
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