Getting the design spot-on with a compact and sporty look that could still accommodate three and even four rows of seats had contributed to delays of at least 12 months in the introduction of the new third-generation Carnival.
While the company flagged its future people mover intentions to the outside world over three years ago at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the resulting vehicle took much longer than anticipated.
This is according to Kia Motors president of design, Peter Schreyer, talking to the Australian media at the New York International Auto Show that served as the stage for the YP Carnival’s world premiere.
“The KV7 was shown three years ago in Detroit, and at that time our intention was to stay very close to the show car,” he said.
“But as the project developed we needed to accommodate a lot of people inside the car and make it very practical – but the show car was much shorter (than it needed to be) so we had to make some quite considerable changes.
“By merely extending it would not have worked because the (KV7’s) kind of design is very straight and angular, and if extended, it would just look like a bus; we wanted to put a lot of dynamic appearance into the car… so we needed to develop a different approach.”
Despite this, however, Mr Schreyer believes there is a clear connection between the 2011 Detroit concept and the 2014 finished product as unveiled in New York.
“On the other hand I think the new Carnival/Sedona still carries a lot of the spirit of the KV7, and you can still feel it somehow, and without the showcar we wouldn’t be where we are now – and I’m glad we did it, even if it doesn’t look like it’s been done straight from the showcar.”
New-gen Carnival sales will commence locally very late this year or early in 2015, to coincide with Kia Motors’ long-running sponsorship of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne next January.
As revealed last week in New York, our versions will all be in eight-seater only configuration for the time being, and offered with the choice of a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel or an all-new 3.3-litre direct-injection V6 petrol driving the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
While Australia isn’t in line to receive the more luxuriously specified seven-seater edition offered elsewhere and featuring a pair of individual ‘Captain’s Chairs’ for the middle-row instead of a regular sliding three-person bench arrangement, some overseas Carnival/Sedona variations can carry up to 11 people.
The YP was designed (and will be built) in South Korea with strong input from Kia’s North American operations, since the latter will probably end up being the people mover’s largest market in the world.
Production kicks off in September.