The top-selling Kia Carnival is tipped to finally offer the full gamut of technology and convenience features from 2023 model-year production, after being promised since this generation launched nearly two years ago.
Kia Australia’s product planning boss, Roland Rivero, said the lengthy list of Carnival backorders will be cleared in the coming months, allowing 2023 models to gain rain-sensing wipers and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (the latter likely reserved for the top-spec Platinum).
“Once backorders reach a palatable level, which we think we can [achieve soon], we should be able to bring the promised features for model-year 2023 timing,” Mr Rivero said.
However, Mr Rivero shut down the idea a local steering tune would form part of these changes, despite reports from the Carnival’s local launch.
“For some reason, there was an assumption from various reports that a local steering map would be introduced post-launch. Our two stages of tuning are really all-new or facelift,” Mr Rivero said.
“There’s never a running change on steering, and we’ve never said so.”
When quizzed about what’s available in the Carnival’s global portfolio, including seven-, nine and eleven-seat configurations, Mr Rivero said the added complexity will bring minimal benefit.
“We looked at second-row captain’s chairs and our research and discussions with our dealer network, who are very close to our customers, essentially revealed that the captain’s chairs at the expense of the middle seat and the expense of eight seats was, in general, something our dealer network didn’t see as necessary,” he said.
It’s a similar story for the ultra-luxe Carnival Hi Limousine variant offered in the Korean market, which features an array of limo-inspired bespoke appointments that would make a Mercedes-Benz V-Class or high-spec Volkswagen Multivan seem basic.
Mr Rivero added that the local division already has enough trouble getting its hands on V6 versions of the Carnival due to demand for the V6-engined MPV in North America and Middle East, let alone adding further variations beyond the existing range.
Full details of the 2023 model-year changes will be detailed closer to launch, so it’s too early at this stage to say which variants will get automatic wipers and which will add the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Currently, the Carnival is available in four trim levels – S, Si, SLi and Platinum – with each offering two powertrain choices: a 216kW/355Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 and a 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre four-pot turbo-diesel.
At the time of writing, prices start at $47,480 plus on-road costs for the entry-level Carnival S V6 and top out at $67,580 plus on-road costs for the flagship Platinum Diesel – or, $51,690 to $71,890 drive-away using a Melbourne postcode.
It’s likely additional features will be met with small price rises, but all will be confirmed in due course. Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest.
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