Prior to owning this car, we had a 1999 Kia Carnival, which we bought because it was big enough and comfortable enough to carry around our four teenage kids, and was far more affordable for us than most other new MPV's.
However ours suffered the head gasket problem, twice, which was fixed under warranty, but still seemed to reinforce that the car was cheaply built. Besides these quality issues, the car served us well, considering how hard it had to work.
Anyway, this year it seemed like it was time for an update. I went to our Kia dealer to check out the newer version of the standard Carnival, but saw one of the ex Australian Open Kia Grand Carnivals was for sale as a dealer demo. I was really impressed, it is incredibly spacious inside and the 3.8 V6 produces excellent power, the tiptronic transmission also helps to keep dad entertained on the longer trips.
The car is very comfortable and very luxurious with leather, climate control and electric sliding doors. It also feels much safer and more solid then the smaller Carnival. Ours has ABS, EBD and the 6 airbags.
The car can easily seat 8 adults, and still has heaps of room for luggage, unlike any other MPV on the market, besides perhaps the much more expensive Grand Voyager. The quality also seems to be much improved.
There are not many things I dislike about the car, the only real negative I can think of is the two point seatbelts on the middle seats, but these are rarely used. I was also impressed with the fuel economy, which although higher then the average sedan, has returned the same figures as the smaller engined Carnival, about 13.5km/l.
The Grand Carnival is definitely worth the little bit extra, and it really shows how Kia products have matured. I only hope the engine is a little more reliable then the old model, at least we have a pretty good dealer who helped us with the old one.
Anyway, I highly recommend this car as an affordable and very very comfortable full size MPV.