Monday, March 3, 2014

Used Car Review - Kia Carnival (2007-2015)

It's vacation time and Myk Belmonte throws a van for the road trips you had planned.

2007-2015 Kia Carnival

In order to expand to Europe, car manufacturers having business there must offer MPVs or people carriers. Why we say so? They have narrow roads which makes an SUV cry and they are obsessed with diesels, which makes them suitable in these types of vehicles that haul people inside.

The second generation Carnival (under the VQ codename) was first launched in 2006 and one unique trait is the availability of both short and long wheelbase models. Since this is a global model, equipment levels and body configurations vary per market which is a good thing when related to the first paragraph.

2007 saw the Philippine arrival of the Carnival and undercut most rivals having a front nose and sliding doors (the Grandis and Starex are excluded here) when it comes to price, since most of them linger above the P2M mark. As with the world market, short and long wheelbase variants are made available in its existence with the model available in LX (emphasized on value) and EX (luxury focused) variants.

Value and Costs
Hate spending a million bucks for a brand new vehicle? Then the used car gods gave you one solution to your question. A decently owned unit can be had for less than a million bucks which is a bargain to begin with. June 2009 and later sold units have a five year warranty, so search for a unit sold during that period to take advantage of that.

Since this van drinks diesel fuel for lunch, maintenance costs is on the low side but do take note the engine has a common rail technology than its predecessor. Do check out the sliding door if it works flawlessly and the various parts with a qualified mechanic.

Exterior and Interior
When it comes to exterior dimensions, the short and long wheelbase models differ from one another. SWB variants has a length of 4,810mm and a wheelbase of 2,890mm while the LWB carries 5,130mm worth of length and 3,020mm of wheelbase. Some early models of the LX SWB wear steel wheels which was later changed to 16 inch alloys.

Space-wise, the LWB models gain an advantage here since the third row has little rear legroom for kids. Not tight but space found in the SWB is significantly smaller than its longer counterpart. Other than the issue of space, interior flexibility is decent with a 60/40 split third row for LWB and the second row seats (for all models) can be flipped forward or removed all together. It is practical with some high quality materials although some of the low end ones are evident. Before anything else, all PHDM Carnivals can accommodate eight people.

A J 2,902cc diesel carrying 160hp at 3,700rpm and 354Nm at 2,000rpm is the only option for the Carnival which we think you need not to look for other ones. Despite its heavy mass, it keeps up to carrying the occupants whether in a low or high speed fashion.

Driving Impressions
For a minivan, it is stable even if its full to the brim which is definitely important for such a vehicle. Ride is on the comfortable side, a plus for those sick and tired of archaic rides possessed by AUVs. Handling and not so precise steering comes standard, but you should not expect too much since it is made to haul people, not to be raced.

Going to the used route gives you unlimited possibilities of purchasing something better for less. Once a million peso vehicle, the second generation Carnival is a great bargain. Have fun conquering new paths this coming summer season!

The Good:
  • Cheap to buy
  • Spacious
  • Diesel pull
The Bad:
  • Small space in SWB
  • Heavy
  • Some cheap touches
The Pick: LWB models

Engine: 2,902cc J I4 diesel
Power: 160hp @ 3,700rpm
Torque: 354Nm @ 2,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 9-11km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual (only available in SWB), 5-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent multi-link

Price (New): P1,165,000-P1,600,000
Price (Now): P620,000-P1,000,000
Rivals: Mitsubishi Grandis, Toyota Previa
On Sale: 2007-2015

Kia Pasay - (02) 852-1490
Kia Quirino Avenue - (02) 564-3084
Kia Congressional - (02) 927-1880

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