The fourth-generation Kia Carnival first went on sale here as a CBU fully-imported model in January this year by Dinamikjaya Motors, a subsidiary of Bermaz Auto (BAuto) and the new official distributor of Kia vehicles in Malaysia.
It was already confirmed when BAuto and Kia Motors announced their partnership last April that a locally-assembled (CKD) version of the large MPV will be offered, and that time has finally come with today’s official introduction and opening of order books. Previewed earlier this month, the Kulim-assembled CKD Carnival is offered in three variants and is quite a bit different than its CBU counterpart.
Let’s start with price and seats. The CBU version was offered in a sole 2.2D 11-Seater variant priced at RM196,340 on-the-road without insurance. As for the CKD version, the range starts with the 2.2D 8-Seater Mid that goes for RM231,228, which is then followed by the 2.2D 8-Seater High at RM247,228 and the range-topping 2.2D 7-Seater High at RM261,228.
The substantial price differential between CBU and CKD is because the former was classified as a commercial vehicle due to its higher seat count, which grants it lower taxes. With fewer seats, the CKD variants are classified as passenger vehicles and are taxed differently, hence their higher prices.
If that’s the case, why isn’t Carnival CKD sold with more seats in the first place to benefit from lower taxes? Surely you can remove the extra seats and chuck them aside if unnecessary, right? Well, one reason is that the seven- and eight-seat variants have a different seat railing configuration (three rows of seats) compared to the 11-seater (four rows).
Another is that many buyers will not be using four rows of seats, so the “wasted space” could be better used for legroom for three rows instead. If 11 seats is what you need, or if you’re in the service industry, the CBU version will continue to be sold, for now. Kia has already initiated the CKD programme for the 11-seater, and will also export it to ASEAN markets, BAuto boss Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh said. Why not launch all CKD models together? Production constrains. Ultimately, the production capacity will be 5,000 units a year, Yeoh added.
In terms of seat configuration, all Carnival CKD variants have three rows of seats by default. The 8-Seater options have theirs arranged in a 2-3-3 layout, with a nifty feature being the 40:20:40 split-folding second row that is detachable and can be repositioned to face rearwards if needed. Done this way, you can have a face-to-face meeting. Most will have the second row middle seat folded down to be a coffee table of sorts. This middle seat can also be faced rearwards to accommodate a child seat, flanked by adults.
Meanwhile, the sole 7-Seater variant has a 2-2-3 layout with individual “Premium Relaxion” captain chairs in the second row instead. These business class-style ventilated/heated seats have a one-touch recline function, besides the usual adjustments. The max recline mode sees the front of the seat base tilt upwards, and the ottoman fully extended. To go into full relaxation mode, the seat has to be moved inward first (to clear the rear wheel well) and the last row has to be folded in.
There are Isofix child seat anchors with top tethers available on the outer seats of the second and third row for all variants, sunshades for the second and third row, and the rearmost seat bench can be folded down in a 60:40 split.
Regardless of the number of seats, the engine powered the Carnival CKD is the same as the CBU, with a 2.2 litre Smartstream D2.2 four-cylinder turbodiesel providing 202 PS at 3,800 rpm and 440 Nm of torque from 1,750-2,750 rpm. Drive goes to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the setup has a combined fuel consumption of 6.5 l/100 km following the NEDC.
Common equipment across the range includes 18-inch alloy wheels (with 235/60 profile tyres), automatic LED headlamps, LED DRLs, LED taillights, LED front fog lamps, bulb-type rear fog lamps, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry and engine start, dual power-sliding rear doors, a powered tailgate, eight parking sensors (divided equally front and rear) as well as power-folding side mirrors with integrated turn indicators and heating function.
Inside, you’ll find all variants come with paddle shifters, dual-zone front climate control, single-zone rear climate control (with ceiling vents), an eight-way powered front passenger seat, Saddle Brown leatherette upholstery, a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, seven USB ports and a Qi wireless charger.
As for safety, it’s seven airbags (front, side curtain and driver’s knee) as standard, along with a host of passive systems like ABS, EBD, brake assist, ESC, traction control, Multi-Collision Brake Control, hill start assist and Rear Occupant Alert. An electronic parking brake with auto brake hold function is standard as well.
With the baseline established, we can focus on what you get as you progress up the variant tree. From the 8-Seater Mid to the 8-Seater High or even the 7-Seater High, additional features include a powered sunroof and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster in place of the base option’s 4.2-inch TFT-LCD multi-info display.
An eight-way powered driver’s seat is standard on the cheapest variant too, although the one in the High variants also come with ventilation, heating and memory functions. Also, the High options get a surround view monitor instead of just a reverse camera.
One worthwhile reason to step up to the High variants is the array of active safety and driver assists, which include things like High Beam Assist, Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Blind-Spot View Monitor (shown in the instrument cluster display), Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (AEB) with junction turning support), Lane Following Assist and Smart Cruise Control (ACC).
Compared to the CBU version, the High variants do have a better kit list with upgrades being the digital instrument cluster, a powered sunroof, a more flexible seating arrangement (at least for the 8-Seater) and most importantly, a more comprehensive safety and driver assist suite. However, the CBU does win in one regard: more seats. Its kit is also slightly better than the base 8-Seater Mid by comparison.
Colour options include Astra Blue, Sonic Silver, Meteor Gray, Jet Black and Snowflake White Pearl. That’s one less than the CBU version, with differing/additional options being Silky Silver, Panthera Metal, Aurora Black Pearl, Snow White Pearl and Flare Red. Dinamikjaya also offers V-Zion tint film for an additional RM2,300, available for all variants.
Once again, the Carnival CKD is priced at RM231,228 for the 2.2D 8-Seater Mid, RM247,228 for the 2.2D 8-Seater High and RM261,228 for the 2.2D 7-Seater High. All the figures mentioned are inclusive of sales tax as well as a five-year/100,000-km warranty and service package. Here’s our review of the CBU Kia Carnival.
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