2003 Kia Carnival LS 2.4 from Australia and New Zealand


Great value for money compared to other people movers in the market


The sliding doors had rubber seals which contained some steel reinforcement that rusted and left a stain on the paint work after a few months. The dealer ordered in the wrong replacement parts and I then decided it was best to simply fix the old parts by coating the exposed steel.

I smelled a burning smell after going up a steep hill recently and took it into the dealer. The dealer has informed me that the clutch has failed. It appears that this may be a known warranty problem as it has been previously reported on this site.

General Comments:

Overall I have been very pleased with our "family bus". It is comfortable and has great space for my family (4 kids). I have recommended it to a few of my friends.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st June, 2005

5th Mar 2006, 06:37

Your engine is 2.5 not 2.4.

2003 Kia Carnival LS 2.5 from Australia and New Zealand


Acceptable for the price in comparison

General Comments:

The finish on the paintwork was well below par with white undercoat showing through the top coat. Negotiations are still being made for a re-spray after four months. In all a very cheap paint job.

Gear shift clunks from 1st to 2nd.

The new 2004 model's interior is a very disappointing colour with insufficient thought placed into it being a people (child) mover. The colours should have been darker for busy child's fingers.

Another disappointing feature of the interior is that the fabric goes all the way to the top of the doors. Fading of the fabric is a concern with it receiving the sun's full strength.

Visually the vehicle is very appealing however when driving the visibility to the rear and that of the bonnet is very limited.

The worst feature of the vehicle in my opinion is that of the 'turning circle'. Until one is use to it, (which is probably never) beware of oncoming traffic and tight situations. It is a very bad design.

The vehicle has been tried in various situations with thumbs up being given to it on steep inclines. The motor is probably still slightly underpowered.

The vehicle is quite comfortable and is very acceptable in slightly longer trips.

Two of the best features would be the dual opening side doors and the passageway from the front of the vehicle to the back.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th February, 2004

2003 Kia Carnival LS 2.5 V6 from Australia and New Zealand


Good honest value. A better proposition than a second hand MPV, Tarago, Nimbus or Starwagon



General Comments:

My Carnival goes, handles and rides well for a people mover. My old MPV would often bottom out on the bump stops with more than four adults on board. A friend with a latter LV series MPV has the same problem. Also noisy lifters in the MPV was a problem. Friend again has the same problem with less than 100,000kms on the clock.

Performance for this type of vehicle is good given that the Carnival is a full sized people mover and not based on a passenger car like the Zafira.

Economy is good with my manual Carnival returning better than 12l/100kms in surburban driving which is much improved over my old MPV with 160,000 klms on the clock. Standard Hancook Powermax tires are a bit noisy, but bearable. Had these as replacements on my 1993 Mazda MPV and they handle and wear well.

I have compared the Carnival with the Zafira, Nimbus and Four wheel drive wagons and it certainly has more room and fully formed seating in the rear most positions. My six feet plus sons are happy to ride in the rear most seats.

Panel fit and finish is good and comparable to Australian made vehicles such as Falcon and Commodore and not as good as some Japanese imports.

I have read negative comments in the press about interior plastics used in the Carnival, but personally I think the interior looks better than a base model Tarago. Seats and switches etc have a quality feel and no rattles have developed yet. The only annoyance is the back to front location of the air/fan controls and the ariel mounted on the drivers side guard. Generally the interior finish is very good and asthetically pleasing.

I am hoping for many years of trouble free motoring. The cost of parts for repairs to my old Mazda MPV were prohibitive. Try $1200.00 for a Timing belt kit! They are only available from Mazda. A new Kia Carnival has got to be a better buy than a second hand People Mover of another make.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th December, 2003

20th Nov 2004, 07:53

I don't know about the timing belt kits for Mazda MPV's, but I have just replaced the timing belt in my Mazda MX-6 and it cost £28.

31st Jan 2006, 04:52

The above had to be written by a dealer surely. :^ (

"Employees of car companies and their families should not participate in this survey without making their commercial interests clear."

5th Sep 2008, 08:47

Just want to find out why a Carnival bought brand new in 2003/4 would start to smoke and jack, even though it has never been to a roadside mechanic but the KIA dealers in Nigeria and before its next service due date. Can anyone help on this one, what do you suppose is the fault; engine, brain box or...

18th Feb 2009, 09:19

I am really hoping that KIA Carnival should use a timing chain rather than timing belt, because it is expensive for us to change it once in 2-3 years. In Brunei it cost 1 thousand plus to change it.. we are waiting for a timing chain. I like the body of KIA Carnival.

23rd Jul 2015, 08:08

$1200 for a timing belt kit??? I am wondering when this review was written, because I checked eBay in July 2015 and there are several sellers selling full kits new from well under $200.