Kia Motors India started trial production yesterday at their massive, neat and swanky new facility in Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh. With a capacity to churn out 300,000 cars annually, the plant is capable of building electric and conventional cars, both. On a historic day which will be marked on their timeline, the upcoming Kia SP2i was also taken for a spin by the Chief Minister of the state around their virgin test track. However, what caught our fancy was the Kia Carnival MPV, which has been mentioned as a product in their portfolio for India, along with the SP2i.
During a brief chat with Mr Manohar Bhat, Head, Marketing and Sales, Kia Motors India, we asked if the MPV will follow the launch of the SP2i SUV, which is slated for introduction in the second half of 2019. In line with their tagline, “Power to Surprise”, and to keep it alive, Mr Bhat in his measured response mentioned that the carmaker is assessing all options to launch such a product and asked us in return if it will be appreciated by buyers in India. In our response, we replied with what he already knew, where the Carnival could present a strong case for itself for those who wish to upgrade from a Toyota Innova. Because as of now, the only alternative to the very popular Toyota MPV, is another Innova.
However, while visiting their wall of fame and history, a caricature of the Kia Carnival (codename YP) was displayed alongside the SP2i as a product meant for India. Almost certain then that they will bring it here. However, when and whether it will be built here or arrive in the CKD form could be anybody’s guess for now.
Showcased during the Auto Expo 2018, our guess is it could be announced at the Expo next year, at a price which places it slightly above the Toyota Innova Crysta.
At that price, what you’d get is a feature-packed MPV with power sliding second-row doors, 3-zone climate control, sun shades, heated/ventilated seats, dual-stage sunroof, and a well-appointed cabin with the focus on second-row luxury. Since buyers in this segment are biased towards diesel motors, the KIA MPV could only be offered with an oil burner.
Powering the Kia Carnival is a 2.3-litre turbocharged diesel engine tuned to produce 199 hp at 3,800 rpm and 441 Nm between 1,750 rpm-2,750 rpm. This engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Internationally, the Carnival is sold in 7, 8, and 11-seater formats. However, for India, the 7-seater variant could be introduced initially. We’ll bring you more updates about Kia’s upcoming products. Until then, stay tuned.