2003 Kia Carnival SL 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand




The driver's side window is temperamental.

The air conditioner needs re-gassing.

The carpet balls. With four children, the non-carpeted Kia would have been better.

Head light bulbs are difficult to replace yourself, but not impossible.

It is not fuel efficient.

General Comments:

Other than the issues mentioned above, we have experienced no issues with our Kia.

The car drives well.

Being able to walk down the centre isle to the children is a bonus.

It has done well pulling a horse float with one horse loaded.

The seats are roomy and comfortable.

The only real downfall is that the car is a bit heavy on its fuel usage.

The air con is powerful, which is useful considering the back windows don't open fully.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th April, 2014

2003 Kia Carnival LS from Australia and New Zealand


Catastrophic failure


Critical functions such as power windows, central locking, instrument lights and rear lights will be inoperative if battery is replaced or jump started.

Always have the windows up. Any issues with the battery will mean a very expensive fix to have the computer 'reset', so the windows will work again.

Fuel gauge reads 1/4 full if the car is driven for more than 20 minutes. Always drive on a full tank.

Factory spark plug leads are useless.

Oil warning light only operates after the engine seizes. It will not illuminate if there is any pressure, no matter how minute, in the system. Check oil before using the vehicle.

Plastic parts snap off easily.

Suspension not very robust.

General Comments:

Not recommended for towing trailers.

Comfortable seating arrangement.

Not popular with mechanics.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 6th January, 2011

12th Sep 2012, 00:20

Bought a 2002 Kia Carnival from new.

Engine replaced at 40,000Kms - Kia gave me a new engine outside the warranty period, but the labour cost me >$2000.

Engine problems again at 88000kms - head gasket fault causing severe overheating - this time just <$5000. Have been advised by my mechanic that this will happen again because of faulty engine design. Also tells me there are 3 cambelts. 2 of 6 spark plugs are at the back of the engine, and can only be replaced when the engine is removed.

Basically, stay away from the older models.

28th Dec 2015, 03:21

The back plugs can be changed easily! You simply remove the plenum chamber, then remove the leads, then insert a plug socket (I used 3/8 drive). Then add a short extension followed by one more, then once you have unscrewed it, you remove each extension as you raise it up till you get the socket back with the plug in the rubber insert! You can use a mirror if you need to see what you're doing, or particularly if you are removing the valve cover bolts to replace the gasket!

2003 Kia Carnival LS 2.4L from Australia and New Zealand


Aside from the price, don't expect too much!


Paint faded a few years after purchase.

KIA badge faded.

Interior "wood-grain" finish rubbed off easily.

Engine had to be replaced at 42,000kms.

General Comments:

At the time of purchase, good value for the money.

2.4L engine is underpowered. An option for a larger engine is available.

Comfortable to drive.

However, the exterior/interior looks of the vehicle quickly declined and within a few years, it looked much older than it really was.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th September, 2008

2003 Kia Carnival 2.5 6 cylinder from Australia and New Zealand


Grown from citrus trees



Broken down 6 times now; only 60000 kays old. That's a break down once every 10k.

Head gasket blew a couple months after purchase; $1400.

Then it blew again a couple of weeks later; $1100.

The hand brake cable snapped.

The seats are worn out already.

Leaks oil from the gearbox.

The bonnet support things don't hold, so the bonnet falls on people.

Blows smoke under moderate throttle.

Various other things; can't remember what they were now.

General Comments:

It's comfortable on trips

Good air con.

The performance is not good; it struggles at highway speeds.

It is just so unreliable; every morning when I go to start it, I think will it go?

My old car was a Daihatsu Charade and it never failed me once; it had over 300 000 kays and was fine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th January, 2008