2003 Kia Carnival Reviews - Page 2 of 2

2003 Kia Carnival LS 2.5 V6 from Australia and New Zealand

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.5 V6 Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance3500 kilometres
Previous carMazda MPV


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.

Average review marks: 5.6 / 10, based on 6 reviews