Kia Carnival


Dec 20th, 2019

Kia Carnival

The number 1 and top-selling people-mover – that is what Kia Carnival is to Australia’s riding and driving population. Classed as a minivan or an M-segment passenger car, the Carnival sits five. The front-engine, front-wheel-drive minivan went in production since 1998 and is currently on its third generation. In other parts of the world, it also goes by the name of Kia Sedona and Naza Ria, Kia VQ, Kia Carnival Royale, and Hyundai Entourage. Other markets have a long-wheelbase version called the Kia Grand Carnival or Grand Sedona. 

Kia’s design intent for the Carnival during its development was to build a car that would enable the driver to 'assert absolute control' over their driving environment. It was an attempt to combine luxurious styling with optimum efficiency and simplicity. The people mover became an instant hit on its release and is still going strong even in its third generation, rivaling the Toyota Tarago and Honda Odyssey.

First Generation (KV- II; 1998-2005)

Production and marketing of the Carnival were region-specific, adapting to various production opportunities, market uniqueness, and legal requirements in the different countries. For the Chinese and Malaysian markets, production took place through joint ventures with D.Y. Kia and Naza Ria, respectively.

In Australia, Kia brought this model in 1999. It soon became the best-selling minivan by 2001, even managing to outsell the Toyota Tarago. It led in successful sales later in 2004 and then again in 2005 with a peak of 5,259 units sold. The model came with the usual five-speed manual gearbox and V6 2.5L engine producing 132 kW, though a four-speed-automatic version was also offered.

In Europe, Kia Carnival van was offered with the Rover KV6 2.5L, 24V petrol engine at 163 Nm, adhering to the Euro 2 guidelines. The other version was a turbo engine ran on diesel with 2.9L capacity and 126 Nm horsepower. Complying with Euro 3 requirements in 2001, Kia released the newly-improved 2.5L KV6 engine (rated at 150 Nm torque) and the CRDi 2.9L diesel engine (rated at 144 Nm).

In North America, it used the name Kia Sedona and packed under the hood a 3.5L V6 with 145 kW peak power and 4-speed automatic transmission, later upgraded to 5-speed. Compared to other minivans, however, the Sedona lacked certain features such as a rearview camera, backup sensors, a navigation system, a foldable seat in the third row, power liftgate and power sliding doors. Early into its release in 2002, its mileage within the city was 15.6L/100 km and on the highway 10.9L/100 km. However, the mileage improved a little to 14.8L/100 km and 9.6L/100 km respectively for the 2005 models.

Powertrains available in Australia (1999-2005):

  • (People Mover) - 2497cc, V6 ULP engine, four-speed automatic transmission (220Nm, 132kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2497cc, V6 ULP engine, five-speed manual gearbox (220Nm, 132kW)

Second Generation (VQ; 2006–2014)

Introduced with a short and long-wheelbase model in 2005, the second-generation Kia Carnival was wider in the front and back by 2 and 3 inches respectively. It now had a reduced turning radius in comparison to its predecessor. It shares the same platform as Kia Magentis. Weighing approximately 400 lbs less than the first generation, this model had a lighter transmission, a lighter rear suspension and an engine that weighed less. There was also a much better use of high-tensile steel in the assembly. Kia introduced this minivan globally with four engine variants, all of which were available in manual as well as automatic transmissions.

The SWB model was specially designed for the European market, where it became the second top-selling vehicle in the large MPV class. In 2010, it received a new grille, new equipment and a one-engine choice. 

On the other hand, in the United States, a very basic SWB model was released with a 2-2-3 seat layout while the luxury options were limited to the LWB models. Introduced in early 2005 in North America, the second generation Sedona was equipped with one engine, five-speed manual/ automatic transmission choice and the 179 kW V6 Hyundai Lambda 3.8-liter engine. This North American model received a 5-star rating for safety from the NHTSA in a test that involved all kinds of crash, those that exposed the front and other with a side impact. 

The Carnival was Australia's best-selling minivan between 2007 and 2013, initially marketed as the long-wheelbase Grand Carnival alongside the former models. Production for it was stopped with the entry into the market of the second-generation SWB Carnival in August of the same year. Both models could fit eight passengers. In March 2009, a 2.9L-capacity turbo-engine ran on diesel replaced the previous one in Grand Carnival, but by June 2010, both models went through a small facelift. The LWB model got a 3.5L V6 engine and an upgrade to 6-speed automatic, while the SWB was now only available in automatic. In 2011, the LWB model received the latest "R" series diesel engine. The same year also saw the SWB Carnival discontinued altogether. 

Powertrains available in Australia (2006-2011):

  • (People Mover) - 2497cc, V6 ULP engine, four-speed automatic transmission (220Nm, 132kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2497cc, V6 ULP engine, five-speed manual gearbox (220Nm, 132kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2656cc, V6 ULP engine, four-speed automatic transmission (246Nm, 136kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2656cc, V6 ULP engine, five-speed manual gearbox (246Nm, 136kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2656cc, V6 ULP engine, four-speed automatic transmission (249Nm, 139kW)

Third Generation (YP; 2015–present)

The third-generation models debuted in 2014. Standard equipment includes keyless entry, an A/M-F/M stereo, a CD player, Bluetooth with A2DP streaming facilities, iPod, USB and AUX jacks, SiriusXM Satellite Radio capability, and alloy rims. 

In the US, the Sedona comes with the 3.3L V6 Lambda Gasoline Direct Injection engine producing a peak power of 206 kW and torque equalling 336 Nm. It is an automatic front-wheel drive. In 2015, the trim levels further expanded to five versions including a Limited Edition.

The market in Malaysia initially imported the Grand Carnival, which was available in three versions. At the start of 2018, Kia localized the assembly in Malaysia but discontinued the 2.2D. In April, the 2.2 CRDi SX became the new topper of the range. A 2.2 litre CRDi turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine motorized this version, distributing power via a 6-speed automatic transmission, which was later upgraded to an 8-speed. In Vietnam, Kia closed a deal with THACO to produce the Grand Sedona.

In Australia, four different trim levels are available for the Carnival, which Kia introduced in 2015. It has since made a mark in the market by bagging the country's best-selling people mover title. 

In Saudi Arabia, only the Grand Carnival version is available, which comes in the LX and EX trim levels. Kia recently released the 2020 model of Grand Carnival with slight changes to its 2019 predecessor. By June 2018, the South Korean manufacturer partnered with the Yunus Brothers Group to release the Kia Grand Carnival in Pakistan, which locally formed Kia Lucky Motors. The vehicle fitted with a 3.3-litre engine and paired with a 6-speed auto transmission produces 270 hp at 6,400 rpm and 318 Nm at 5200 rpm. 

Introduced in 2016 in Indonesia, the Grand Sedona comes in three trim levels here. In 2018, the people mover was not only given a facelift, but a diesel variant was also introduced in the market.

Powertrains available in Australia (Since 2015):

  • (People Mover) - 2199cc, DT4 diesel engine, six-speed automatic transmission (440Nm, 147kW)
  • (People Mover) - 3342cc, V6 ULP engine, six-speed automatic transmission (336Nm, 206kW)
  • (People Mover) - 2199cc, DT4 diesel engine, eight-speed automatic transmission (440Nm, 147kW)
  • (People Mover) - 3342cc, V6 ULP engine, eight-speed automatic transmission (336Nm, 206kW)

If you’re an existing Carnival user, you’d surely appreciate the improved equipment and quality. Should you need parts for it, we at would be delighted to connect you to the top sellers of Kia car parts and accessories in Australia. Check our latest listings now!

-Amara Z.