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Honda Odyssey VTi-L
The family wagon class was a very close
race, with the Honda Odyssey proving it
has a lot to offer in areas that count. Its
greatest appeal is the ability to seat up
to seven in almost regal comfort.
Like the Kia Carnival, it was designed
from the ground up as a people-mover.
It looks, feels and drives like a large
station wagon. The cabin is thoughtfully
laid out, with logically placed driver
controls and easy access to all seats.
The top-of-the-range VTi-L has class-
leading levels of standard equipment,
excellent build quality and a five-star
ANCAP rating. Its $50,339 drive-away
pricing, while not cheap, still trumps the
SLi Carnival. Honda’s three-year
warranty, however, falls well short of
the seven years Kia offers.
3RD PLACE Kia Sorento SLi
Buyers in this category sometimes
prefer an SUV, and Kia’s seven-seater
Sorento is an attractive option. It
blends the things people love about a
high-riding SUV with a people-mover’s
functionality and versatility.
The 2WD variants are powered by Kia’s
3.3-litre V6 petrol engine, coupled with a
smooth-changing six-speed automatic.
With a healthy 199kW and 318Nm, it has
plenty of performance when needed. The
downside, though, is fuel consumption.
Getting in and out is a bit more of a
step up than the average family sedan,
but once you’re there, comfort and space
in the front and second row seats is
good. The third row is useable, but there
are a few compromises with the seats
closer to the floor and tighter head room.
Best Family Wagon
Space, comfort and peace of mind make the Kia Carnival SLi a winner
Engine: 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder Transmission: six-speed automatic Power: 147kW
Torque: 440Nm Fuel consumption: 7.7L/100km (claimed) ANCAP: HHHHH Price: $57,126 (plus
indicative drive away)
Its sheer size means there’s
still room for luggage even
with a full load of passengers
BUYING A FAMILY WAGON is a head-
over-heart decision, as functionality is
key to this category. It could be argued,
however, that this year’s winner takes
out its competitors on both counts.
The Kia Carnival still looks a little more
like a delivery van than some, but it’s a
well presented, purpose-built, family-
friendly wagon, designed to carry up to
eight people in relative comfort. Almost
car-like driving characteristics make it
easy to live with, and there’s a level of
quality and refinement that most others
in the class struggle to match.
Thanks to some important
improvements in its safety credentials,
the Carnival has now achieved a five-
star ANCAP rating, which is a critical
feature when transporting precious
cargo such as your family.
The vehicle is well proportioned and
doesn’t have some of the compromises
you get with seven- or eight-seat SUVs
trying to satisfy two masters. The extra
space is especially noticeable in the
third row, which can seat up to three
adults in relative comfort, rather than
being only suitable for carrying small
children. Climbing in and out of the third
row, however, is still a touch awkward.
The lift-up tailgate and sliding rear
doors are power operated on the mid-
spec SLi version, which helps make entry,
exit and loading a little easier. Even when
carrying a full load of passengers, the
sheer size of the Carnival means there’s
still room for their luggage – something
few other family wagons can claim.
The SLi gets a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel
engine coupled to a six-speed
automatic. It also comes well dressed
with leather trim, practically positioned
controls and instrumentation, and a
sensible range of standard features,
including an excellent infotainment,
navigation and connectivity package.
The engine isn’t the fastest in its class,
but its broad spread of strong mid-range
torque, together with a smooth-changing
gearbox, delivers good performance for
everyday driving, while still returning a
respectable fuel figure.
For such a large van, the Carnival
handles surprisingly well and Kia’s local
engineers have done a superb job with
the ride comfort on all road surfaces. Its
build quality is first-rate, and Kia’s
excellent warranty can’t be ignored.
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13/02/2017 9:50 am
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