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Thursday, May 4, 2017

NEW CAR: Kia Grand Carnival. A Practical Luxury

There comes a time in most of our lives where everything from the way you dress to the car you drive goes through a major paradigm shift. While continuing to wear the sneakers is largely fine, a car tight on space becomes obsolete and impractical. A growing family and commitments at this point in life is usually followed by the arrival of an MPV. 

Of the many MPVs already in the market, the latest one has moved the game up a notch through added convenience, lots of style and smoking performance. The recently launched 2017 Kia Grand Carnival is the latest MPV in Malaysia, and the current third generation Grand Carnival is probably the most stylish and fun to drive ever from the Korean car maker. 

From the outside, the Grand Carnival makes its presence felt by its sheer size alone. It is like shaking hands with someone who has big hands, you notice it immediately. And then you notice the next thing about the Grand Carnival, and that would be its bold good-looks, like the signature ‘Schreyer Grille’ and the sleek white LED daytime running lights. It actually gives this one-time mundane MPV a touch of much welcomed modernity. 

And besides good looks and an imposing presence, the other feature that every MPV should have is power-sliding doors. Of course Kia understands that and the top of the line Grand Carnival comes with powered doors that are easily operated at the touch of a button. There is nothing quite like stepping out of a large MPV without the hassle of having to open and shut the doors yourself, it is like having your own personal valet. 

The Grand Carnival sits eight regular sized people comfortably, and access to the third row seats is done by simply pulling on a lever. You have a choice of opting for fabric seats or the plush, smooth dual-tone leather seats – the latter gives the Grand Carnival a true upmarket ambiance that rivals the most luxurious of MPVs. 

Comfort is the name of the game and the Grand Carnival is one of the best players. All passengers are kept cool and comfortable by their own dedicated air-conditioning vents. Cool, crisp air is distributed throughout the cabin, and no passenger is left hopelessly uncomfortable as passengers seated in any of the three rows will be able to choose their own temperature. 

Then of course there is the entertainment factor, which again the Grand Carnival does not skimp out on with a six-speaker system that is connected to a touch-screen entertainment system with a 4.3-inch TFT colour screen. This system lets you connect a USB disk and even has AUX connectivity. But that is not the best part about the Grand Carnival. 

The fact that this MPV has ample storage room deserves a paragraph to itself. The centre storage space between the driver and passenger alone is able to fit your Louis Vuitton Neverfull handbag, or your 13-inch Macbook. This is particularly useful for keeping your handbag away from the snatching hands and prying eyes of thieves. There are also other cubby holes scattered around the cabin that makes this MPV practical for the children or for nights out with the friends. 

And with the seats folded up, the interior of the Grand Carnival transforms into the perfect companion for trips to Ikea (say goodbye to those exorbitant transport fees) as it will easily fit a two-seat sofa, and the electrically powered booth makes opening and closing as simple as touching a button. And there is also enough space inside to stack four golf bags vertically without compromising sitting space for your golfing buddies. Did we mention that the Grand Carnival is big on practicality as well? Well it is. Very practical!

Driving the Grand Carnival is a breath of fresh air as it is the perfect balance of power and fuel economy. On one side is the ease of driving such a big MPV. The driver’s seat is adjustable in 12 different ways, making it super easy to find your perfect sitting position without any blind spots hindering your line of sight. And then there is the fact that the 2.2-litre diesel engine gives you 190hp and 440Nm of torque. If that sounds like gibberish to you, it basically means the Grand Carnival offers decent amounts of power without guzzling too much fuel, because diesels are frugal engines. 

On the road, the steering is light and precise, you really do not feel the size of this thing at all. Parking is a breeze too as it comes equipped with front and rear sensors as well as a reverse camera. Falling short of having someone else park the car for you, you really do not need much else. 

And of course, safety is top notch too. The Kia Grand Carnival comes standard with electronic safety nets like stability control that gives you maximum control in all situations; there is the anti-braking system that lets you stir the car when the wheels lock up. Then there is the hill start assist that prevents the car from rolling backwards on a hill, and topping it all off are six airbags conveniently placed at the front and at the sides of the Grand Carnival to protect passengers from any side impact. Also important for day to day driving and safety are the daytime running lights that ensure oncoming cars and motorcycles are able to see you, as well as the projector headlamp that do a brilliant job at illuminating the road ahead. 

Topping it all off is what seems like a bargain of a price. With seemingly everything you could want in a top end MPV, the Kia Grand Carnival starts from just RM153,888 for the basic model that does not offer luxuries like the leather seats, powered doors, reverse camera, electronic driver’s seat, among others. Then there is the mid-range model called the 2.2 CRDI KX priced at RM169,888 and the top of the range 2.2 CRDI EX priced at RM185,888 which comes with everything just mentioned. 

The relationship with Kia does not just begin and end with buying the Grand Carnival. The company will even take care of your MPV through its five-year, unlimited mileage warranty program, and it even has a special financing program designed to help you own this car. If there ever has been a real good deal on an MPV, it is happening right now with the Kia Grand Carnival. 

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