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    Kia KA4 (Carnival) First Look

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    Bilal Ahmed Firfiray

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    What is it?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    Kia India had two highlights at the Auto Expo 2023. On one corner was the EV9 Concept making its presence felt with its humongous dimensions and futuristic styling. Joining it on the stage was the next-gen Carnival, which officially made its first appearance on Indian soil. However, Kia is calling it KA4, which incidentally is the codename for the fourth generation of this MPV. In fact, it was nowhere mentioned as ‘Carnival’. With this Auto Expo showcase, the Korean carmaker is gauging the response for the full-size MPV before they decide to launch the replacement of the current-gen Carnival in the country.

    Right Rear Three Quarter

    The new-gen KA4 (Carnival) was globally introduced in June 2020. It has grown in dimensions, compared to the one on sale in India, and adopts a more SUV-ish styling which is more modern and in line with Kia’s global design language. It measures 5,155x1,995x1,775mm and has a wheelbase of 3,090 mm. Compared to the current Carnival, the length has grown by 40mm while the wheelbase is up by 30mm.

    How is it on the inside?

    Dashboard

    All the familiar elements you see in the Kia models that we have in the country were first seen in the Carnival. So, you have a floating panel on the dashboard which integrates a touchscreen with an all-digital instrument cluster. Even the buttons on the centre console along with the gear lever are majorly the same as you see on the Seltos. Similarly, the buttons on the steering and the stalks behind it carry a much identical styling but are made to exude a more premium feel.

    Like the current one, the new-gen Carnival also retains the electronically-controlled sliding rear doors and its clever yet confined seating configuration. There’s a seven-, eight-, nine- and 11-seater setup for the new KA4 in either three or four rows. What Kia calls ‘slide-flex’ is a clever way of managing the different seating configurations. This includes a sliding second-row centre seat which, when in the forward-most position, allows the front passenger access to the baby or child riding in the second row. This seat can also convert into a functional table.

    What kind of features will it get?

    With the new generation, the Carnival offers loads of features which are not only modern but also practical. The useable features which benefit the MPV nature of the KA4 include rear occupants alert, safe exit assist, rear passenger camera with zoom, passenger intercom, rear screen entertainment, and all the new-age UVO-connected car tech. There’s also ADAS tech which is offered in the international spec KA4 and we expect it to be offered in India as well.

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The eight-inch screen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. The list of features also includes an all-digital driver’s display, 12-speaker Bose sound system, a centre-placed sunroof, electronic handbrake, heated and ventilated seats, electronic tailgate and powered rear sliding door, heated steering, and loads of USB and power sockets all around the cabin.

    What is it powered by?

    Front View

    Internationally, the new-gen Carnival is powered by a 3.5-litre V6 making close to 290bhp and 350Nm sent to the front wheels only and channelled through an eight-speed torque converter automatic. The KA4 also has a towing capacity of up to 1.5 tonnes. But here in India, we expect the current-gen Carnival’s diesel powertrain to be offered in the new KA4, if and when it’s launched in India.

    The powertrain in question is the BS6-compliant 2.2-litre four-cylinder oil burner. It produces 197bhp at 3,800rpm and 440Nm of twisting force which is accessible between 1,750-2,750rpm. The FWD layout with the eight-speed automatic gearbox is the same as the international spec. The Carnival that is currently on sale in the country has proven to be robust, usable, and punchy as well.

    What about its price, competition, and launch?

    Right Front Three Quarter

    The current-gen Carnival has been around in the country for about three years now. That said, the KA4 showcased at the Auto Expo 2023 isn’t gearing up for an imminent launch yet. As mentioned above, Kia is still contemplating launching the KA4 in India and the response it garnered at the expo stage will decide when and at what price the new KA4 will be launched in India. As for the competition, the Carnival – in its newest avatar – will take over where the current one will leave.

    Rear View

    So, it is expected to carry a price tag between Rs 35-40 lakh, where it will offer the D+ segment SUV buyers a choice of a practical people mover. There are some entry-level SUVs from the premium carmaker which don’t look half as SUV-ish as the new KA4, so we could see some buyers favouring this sliding-rear-door MPV over them as well. And as usual, being feature-loaded, with immense street presence, the next-gen Carnival KA4 will double-tick all the boxes that the current Carnival has already marked.

    Pictures by Kapil Angane and Kaustubh Gandhi

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