2002 Kia Carnival Classic 2.7 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Great family car


Both sliding doors are difficult to open. I need to open and shut the doors for most passengers. Its more of a nuisance, but as yet it has not been fixed to my satisfaction.

General Comments:

The Kia has been an excellent buy, I have recommended it to others.

Its turning circle is not small enough.

It is slow, but it is a people mover-not a racer.

The radio suppression is very poor. The City Trams interfere with the radio so much I have to turn it off.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2005

2002 Kia Carnival LS TDi 2.9-liter 16-valve inline-4 turbo diesel from Philippines


VIVA LA CARNIVAL!!! or maybe I'm just very lucky not to get any major breakdowns?


WOW!!! 60,000kms and still going!

I only experienced minor problems with this car! No engine breakdowns or major problems yet!


500kms- placed a device to prevent smoke belching and a catalytic converter.

40,000kms- changed the battery

45,000kms- changed the tires

50,000kms- changed engine oil to prolong engine treatment

52,000kms- changed ball bearing and shock absorber

55,000kms- refilled brake and power steering fluid

58,000kms- fixed blown, bad and worn circuits and wires.

General Comments:

After I sold my Nissan Vanette Cargo, I decided to buy a Kia Sorento, the problem is I don't have enough money, so I opted for the Kia Carnival LS instead.

I'm expecting the worst from this, maybe the engine head gasket blowing at the middle of the highway, but instead, the Carnival came out pretty darn excellent!

I can't believe that my Carnival has gone up to 60,000kms already, encountering only minor problems like tire wear!

I wonder why other Carnival owners have been experiencing lots of problems, even when it's only 1 or more months old or only 5,000kms on the odometer...

The engine is refined, creamy smooth, torquey, frugal and powerful. The van accelerates briskly, and easily overtakes almost all vehicles on the highway. But on a full load, the van is noticeably slower, but not strained.

Steering has decent feedback, but there's still some understeer, but it's not too much, and the van is easy to drive. Visibility is good too.

4-speed automatic gearbox up and downshifts are smooth and unobtrusive.

There's no shift shock or struggle during an uphill climb.

Bump absorption is good. I only feel little to moderate amounts of jiggling when going over bumps, even the worst ones.

My previous van, the Vanette Cargo however, jiggles and bangs its way through potholes, giving a nauseating and massager-like ride, and the cabin crashes very violently when going over the worst ruts.

Fuel mileage is 11km/L on highway driving, crawling down to 7km/L on city driving. Average fuel mileage is a good 9km/L. The Carnival has a 75-liter gas tank.

There are 2 problem on the Carnival.

1st, it's a smoke belcher- it belches out lots of visible gray smoke, so I took it to the dealer and let them installed a device that will prevent the car from farting lots of smoke again.

2nd, it doesn't come with a catalytic converter, so I took it to a shop and let them place a catalytic converter.

Inside, the driving position is very car-like. The steering wheel is easy to reach and tilted at the same angle as the Corolla Altis. The seat is high, and there's no need to bend, climb up, twist and turn to sit down. The instrument panel as well as the controls are logically placed and is very easy to learn and reach.

My previous Vanette Cargo however has bus-like driving position, and you need to slide and bend to get into the driver's chair, and the controls are ancient (pull-type hand brake, slide-type air-con controls, etc.) and a little hard to determince which is which.

There are lots of cubby holes and boxes here to keep your storage in place. From cupholders to dual-glove boxes, you can lose nothing here.

The seats are very comfy and provides lots of support and is adequately bolstered for long distance travel, and doesn't bore either.

In Korean tradition, the 6-speaker sound system is par excellence, sometimes turning the car to a boom-box whenever I crank up the volume.

Now that's the front, now we go to the rear.

This is the only van I know that lets you switch to different seats. You can go to the 3rd row to check if your child is OK, and go back to the front, without re-entering the van.

The seats at the middle row is very comfy. It has armrests and makes me feel like I'm in a 1st-class airplane.

The 3rd row is also very comfy, with cupholders on each side. There are also hooks to hang your bags full of things that may scatter on the floor when a child or someone bumps it by accident.

There are also numerous cubbyholes to store your other things and valuables.

And that sums up the Kia Carnival, fast, spacious, solid, refined, pailess, durable and reliable.

But I'm wondering... how come many Carnival owners experienced blown engine head gaskets, broken camshaft pulleys, squeaks, and many other problems at a short distance, lets say 10,000kms or less while mine never experienced any of the afformentioned problems, just tire wear, worn ball bearings and shock absorbers and other minor problems and still in good condition even though the odometer is registered at around 60,000kms already?

Any answers?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th June, 2005

10th Jun 2005, 19:50

Most problems seem to be with the 2.5 liter V6 petrol engine.

16th Jun 2005, 02:18

I'm pretty sure the problem with the blowing engines was rectified from May 1, 2002 onwards.

Also apparently autos are more prone to faults.

13th Dec 2009, 08:50

These engines are old Rover engineered engines with a faulty design. Many people try to change the head gasket, but the problem is the engine block itself, it's faulty on very many early cars.

10th Mar 2010, 20:16

We have purchased a second hand 2003 Kia Carnival LS six weeks ago. We have recently been told about all the problems that occur with these cars. Now were worried. It's auto and 4 cylinder. Only 128,000km on clock. Has anyone got any advice or good comments to ease our worried thoughts?

Or any bad experiences we should be aware of?


22nd Nov 2010, 21:55

I just got myself a 2003 Carnival LS 2.5 at 117 km on the clock.

Now I am really worried, I've read all these sad stories about the engine overheating, and am thinking wouldn't it be wise to let more air inside the hood so it wouldn't overheat. Now I want to sell my van.

What can we do to prevent the overheating?