One thing is for sure that today the Indian market does not lack in choice being offered to the car-buyer. Just look at the number of compact SUVs/hatchbacks/sedans that you can choose from. However there is one area which has been completely dominated by one player. That’s right the Toyota Innova Crysta has been dominating its segment since many years with no rival in sight.
Why so? Well other car-makers were scared and nothing could match the Innova in terms of its reliability, re-sale, comfort plus luxury. Until now that is as Kia wants to crash the Innova party and in-fact go a step higher with an outright challenge. Will it be successful? Here is our take.
You cannot miss the Carnival on the road as it easily dwarfs the Innova for sheer size. In terms of dimensions it’s a huge 5115 mm in length with the design being quite flashy yet also looking premium. You can see the ‘Tiger nose’ grille but the large LED headlamps plus the unique fog-lamp cluster further gives it a mean look. The side gets a slightly tapered look and is not a boring slab-sided design like the Nissan Evalia or something like that.
The rear is less flashy but the thick layer of chrome plus the nicely rounded off tail-lamps do the trick. The sheer quality and look is enough to make it look like a more expensive car that it actually would be. It also gets a lot attention on the road- more than the now ‘common’ Innova.
Interior and space
The biggest USP of the Carnival has to be its interior. The space plus comfort along with the number of gadgets offered here is amazing to say the least.
The cabin design is not as futuristic as the Seltos but is more restrained. The steering wheel is sporty while the dash is functional with a neat slab of buttons. The 8 inch touchscreen though is a bit small. That said the quality is fantastic with excellent grade materials while beige/black really adds to the premium look.
However it is when you step into the rear seat that realize the worth of this car. We drove the top-end Limousine trim and that meant two captain seats. At first the legroom is outstanding and you can put your feet to relax by stretching out. The seats in Nappa leather are also soft plus comfy.
Also we might add that getting requires only a button thanks to the electrically operated doors which slide open quite well which makes ingress plus egress easy.
The third row is also easy to access in this trim while even the third row can be moved backwards or forwards with good headroom/legroom.
With all rows in place the boot is quite big to swallow most of your luggage. Plus being a family luxury MPV the storage is well looked at with big enough door pockets and ample storage spaces.
Kia has put in everything and I really mean in. Basics are covered like touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple Car Play, nav etc but you also get a smart air purifier, dual rear seat entertainment screens, 8-speaker Harman Kardon audio, sunshades, UVO connected tech with 37 features, powered tail-gate, Tri zone Auto AC, Electronic Parking Brake, 6 airbags , Hill-start assist, front parking sensors etc. It is way more loaded than the Innova here!
India spec Carnival gets a 2.2l BS6 diesel with 198 bhp and 440Nm of torque with an 8-speed auto. There is no manual option.
To drive you will love the refinement of this engine as it is so smooth and it’s surely, one of the best diesel cars in terms of refinement. The gearbox also works in the city with traffic handled well. The whole car is quiet, smooth and just a gem of a luxury car in the city.
I also felt that to drive the car felt much smaller plus is manageable despite the huge size from the outside. Adding to this is the light steering which further aids agility. However make no mistake- it is big but the Innova feels heavier to use in city.
Out on the highway the Carnival cruises well and you will be impressed by the lack of noise. However it lacks a bit of grunt for enthusiastic driving or overtaking but for cruising, it works. The ride is soft and it absorbs the bumps very well. Of course it is big and handling shows its size but it not bad, that said the slightly low ground clearance when packed with luggage means you need to be careful on bad roads or speed-breakers. You can expect 10 kmpl overall.
Trim to buy
There would be three trims namely Premium, Prestige and Limousine with Prestige available in 7 plus 6+3 seater form while Premium is a 7/8 seater. The top-end Limousine is 7-seater only.
All variants are naturally well loaded but the top-end Limousine is the one we would buy as the extra luxury adds to the experience.
Also check: Kia Carnival Colors
The Innova Crysta is Rs 15-24 lakhs and we expect the Carnival to be much more expensive at 25-34 lakh. There is a reason for that as it feels a notch higher. The quality, luxury, space, refinement and the whole car screams luxury car but with added practicality. We think it is worth the extra over an Innova.
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