An executive ride

The all-new Kia Carnival SX8 AT

The all-new Carnival is sleek, modern, with an upscale look. It goes above and beyond the basic people mover with a more executive look and feel. It may be outfitted for executives, but that also makes it better equipped for out-of-town trips with friends or family.

We drive the all-new Kia Carnival SX8 AT to see if its new all-business approach is what the family needs.


The Carnival has an aggressive, yet classy front end with LED projector type headlamps, LED daytime running lamps and LED fog lamps. When you look at it from the side, the first thing you’ll notice are the C pillars which stand out as an accent piece. Power sliding doors give you access to the second and third row seats and it rolls on stylish 19-inch alloy wheels on 235/55 tires. You get a skid plate in brushed aluminum on the chin of the front bumper and the bottom of the rear bumper.


The 2.2-liter SX eight-seater is the top-of-the-line variant. Puddle lamps are standard, illuminating where you step when getting in. Inside, you get leather seats for all and a four-spoke leather adjustable steering wheel. The driver gets an eight-way power plus four-way lumbar support seat with memory and cooling. The front passenger gets similar perks too.

The dash and door trims are done in a tasteful mix of black, cream, grey and brushed aluminum. It also has a brushed aluminum surface with a dimpled texture seen around the cabin and the exterior.

This Carnival definitely has enough interior space to be comfortable. The second row has Relaxation Seats which have power recline, with cushioned leg rests. It has long slide and lateral shift adjustment, and is equipped with armrests and cooling. The third row reclines, folds and has a 60:40 split/sink.


The driver can make various adjustments without taking hands off the wheel thanks to controls for audio, Bluetooth, the Multi Function display, Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist.

Keeping passengers comfortable is a standard three-zone air conditioning system.

Entertainment is care of a six-speaker entertainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen with AM/FM, MP3 with USB ports, Bluetooth hands-free and voice control, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and wireless charging.

There are two 180W 12V outlets located at the rear console and luggage area. There are also USB ports, with one connectivity port and two charging ports on the front center console. There are two charging ports on the front seat back panel, and two charging ports in the third row. There are six cup holders and six bottle holders evenly distributed around the cabin. The second and third row are equipped with sunshade blinds.


Starting up the engine is done with remote start or the illuminated Push Start button. Under the hood is the Smartstream four-cylinder 2.2 liter CRDI VGT diesel engine. It puts out 202-Ps at 3,800 rpm with 440-Nm of torque between 1,750-2,750 rpm. It’s paired with a Smartstream eight-speed automatic transmission which drives the front wheels. There are four selectable drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and Smart.

The car is governed by Kia’s driver assist technologies like Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keeping Assist, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Reverse Camera with Dynamic Guideline and Parking Distance Warning with front and rear sensors. It also comes with Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Multi-Collision Brake System (MCV), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Stability Assist (TSA) and an Anti Theft System.


The new Carnival’s work-oriented incarnation isn’t something that should be limited to the boardroom. Space is plentiful, the captain chairs are comfy, and the foldable rear bench seat can easily convert into a mobile conference room. There’s even a panoramic moon roof to feel more of the outdoors.

The “relatively” small diesel engine puts out a good amount of torque at the low end of the rev range.

It goes without saying it’s quite a zippy vehicle for something quite large. The ride is plush enough to absorb the bumps on the road but still firm enough to offer good road holding on winding country roads.

The all-new Carnival SX8 AT is priced at P2.988M. It gets a five-year or 160,000-km warranty and 24/7 Roadside Assistance.

Whether you’re looking into it as an executive mover or a practical family choice, it’s a sure hit, no matter who the passengers are.