Monday, January 28, 2013

Used Car Review - Kia Carnival/Sedona (2001-2006)

Searching for a bargain minivan? Myk Belmonte finds a sensible choice among the sea of people carriers that gives you the cushy ride for the buck.

2001-2006 Kia Carnival/Sedona

Raising a family is one daunting task especially you need to work hard to earn some money for your daily expenses such as the house rent (unless you inherit that abode or live with your parents), the tuition fees for your kids, basic necessities like food and clothes, and utilities that you use and pay. Having a car can be good if your company would be paying for it, not good if you will pay for it. Commuting can be hard, you know what I mean. Having a car is basically a necessity for the family.

One family friendly ride that you can afford is a 2000-2006 Kia Carnival/Sedona especially that it is a steal for P300,000. First sold in 1998 under the GQ platform, this minivan sold well especially that it was priced lower than direct rivals and had more standard equipment than them. Although the Hyundai Starex was the first minivan (with the hood upfront) to be built by a Korean car maker, the Carnival was the first one to have a second generation model in 2006, as opposed to the Starex a year later. This model was replaced by the VQ Carnival in 2006 while this old body remained in production in some markets.

Started as a grey market favorite, Columbian Autocar Corporation brought this minivan to Kia dealerships in 2001 to contemplate the Pregio. It was one of the few minivans to arrive in the country which includes the Hyundai Starex, Mitsubishi Space Gear and the Chevrolet Venture during that time period. It was first available in a diesel powerplant that was followed (and replaced) by a gasoline engine in 2004. There was also some name change which became the Sedona in year 2003. Sales ceased in 2007 with the VQ Carnival that's more refined replaced it in the same year. Trim lines include the value oriented RS and the luxurious LS.

Value and Costs
Kia Carnivals and Sedonas, in second hand prices and condition, would cost between P250,000-P330,000. The good thing is that, you'll encounter both manual and automatic transmission models, gasoline and diesel variants, and units with different equipment levels. There are grey market units which are worth a look especially there is no risk in conversion problems. Your family might love this vehicle especially it is a bargain.

If there is one transmission to avoid, it would be the automatic ones. There have been reports that the slushboxes do not survive and most owners would have to spend for a rebuilt transmission. To save your money for the tuition of your children, better spare yourself by getting a manual variant. You can purchase parts anywhere and they are easy to find, thanks to the influx of imported units.

Exterior and Interior
Not much to be said about the exterior, which is a carbon copy of the American minivan. We imagine while Kia is developing this minivan they decided to print out a photo of a Dodge Caravan, place it in a photocopier, and replace everything except the body. Kidding aside, the large chrome grille, large hood scoop (available for diesel variants only), and multi-reflector headlamps brighten up this vehicle. A two-tone color scheme is an option for later year models. RS models have hubcaps while LS come with alloy wheels.

You'll never be mistaken for a bus driver inside the Carnival especially that the driving position is similar to a car. We're thankful for that, and other things that the kids would love is the easy access from the dual sliding doors and for the LS variants, easy access to the third row thanks to the standard captains chairs. RS models can seat 10 with three per row and the succeeding rows are bench seats. The gearshift is located in the center dash, thus freeing space in front. While the first two rows admits everyone, the third row and the jump seats for the RS are for kids only and those who have skills in gymnastics. Controls and switches are sensibly located where the driver can easily reach it.

It was a good thing for Kia to offer both diesel and gasoline powerplants for the Carnival/Sedona sold locally. The first engine option (and definitely the obvious choice) is the 2,902 I4 diesel engine which produces 135hp at 3,800rpm and a 315Nm at 2,000rpm. From 2004 up to discontinuation, a Rover KV6 V6 2,497cc that has 129hp at 6,500rpm and 220Nm at 4,000rpm. Going first to the diesel motivator, it decently moves this 1,990 kilogram vehicle when not loaded, filling it to the brim, progress would be slower but does not exhibit any strain. The V6, on the other hand, does well in low speeds but becomes boomy in higher speeds. Both engines excel in low to mid end torque runs but once you reach three digit speeds and the vehicle is in full capacity, the ride becomes crashy.

Driving Impressions
You wont feel any AUV driving characteristics in the Carnival/Sedona especially that it steers and corners like a sedan. While it has the handling of a sedan, steering response cannot be felt. Just remember to drive below 100km/h so you won't feel the car huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf did to the houses of the three little pigs.

Family hood is one momentous event in life, and choosing the car that your family members would depend on is a bit hard. Your Ultimate Used Car Guide has reviews on family friendly rides and added to this list is the Kia Carnival/Sedona that you can buy for less cash than brand new. If you haven't decided yet, add this minivan to your shortlist and have your whole members check it out.

The Good:
  • Your spines would like this car
  • Roomy interior
  • Dual sliding doors
The Bad:
  • AT transmission problems
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Steering feedback is nowhere to be felt
The Pick: Diesel MT variants

Engines: 2,497cc Rover KV6 V6 gasoline and 2,902cc I4 diesel
Power: 129hp @ 6,500rpm (gasoline), 135hp @ 3,800rpm (diesel)
Torque: 220Nm @ 4,000rpm (gasoline), 315Nm @ 2,000rpm (diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 5-9km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear rigid axle with 5 link coil springs

Price (New): P900,000-P1,350,000 (range from 2000-2006)
Price (Now): P250,000-P330,000
Rivals: Chevrolet Venture, Hyundai Starex, Mitsubishi Space Gear, Nissan Serena, Toyota Previa
On Sale: 2000-2006

Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490
Kia Quezon Avenue - (02) 712-2923

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