When Kia introduced the all-new Carnival earlier this year, it looked very different from the old one. Specifically, the 2021 Carnival looked more like an SUV instead of a minivan with its new design. The South Korean automaker went as far as calling it a “Grand Utility Vehicle” as opposed to a minivan.
At the time, the 11-seater “Grand Utility Vehicle” already looked very luxurious, especially when compared to the previous-generation model. Over in South Korea, Kia has taken it a step further with the new Carnival Hi-Limousine variant.
From the outside, you won't mistake the Carnival Hi-Limousine for any of the lesser variants. It may look like a roof box was tacked on top, but that’s the Hi-Limousine’s new taller roof. A less visible upgrade is a redesigned step board for easier ingress and egress. Completing the exterior makeover are the Hi-Limousine emblems.
Step inside, and you’ll find a very luxurious cabin. There is 291 mm more headroom over the standard thanks to the higher roof design. Captains seats with leg rest come standard on the second row that can fully recline. Meanwhile, a 21.5-inch monitor provides on-board entertainment for 2nd- and 3rd-row occupants. Other features include a built-in air purifier, LED reading lights, and hot/cold cup holders.
Due to the high roof, you do lose the sunroof. In its place is a center LED room lamp paired with ambient mood lighting. There are also pleated curtains to give passengers some privacy, just like a traditional limo.
Powering the Carnival Hi-Limousine is a 3.5-liter gasoline V6 engine rated for 294 PS and 355 Nm torque. Down the line, a diesel-powered version will be available in the future. Kia’s full suite of safety features is also standard on the luxury minivan. These include lane-keeping assist, blind-spot detection, and forward collision-avoidance assist. There’s also Safe Exit Assist that prevents doors from opening if an oncoming vehicle is detected.
Compared to the standard Carnival that can seat 11, the Hi-Limousine is available as a 7- or 9-seater. However, Kia says a more luxurious 4-seater variant is in the works. A possible Lexus LM fighter, perhaps?
The 2021 Carnival Hi-Limousine now available in South Korea and starts at 60.66 million won (PhP 2.622 million). Do you think Kia Philippines should bring in this variant together with the standard Carnival? We reckon it would give the Toyota Alphard some competition in the luxury minivan segment.