Old against new: 2020 vs. 2021 Kia Grand Carnival


Kia launched the fourth generation Grand Carnival in the middle of last year, revealing a minivan with plenty of SUV smarts. Expect the vehicle to arrive on our shores soon, as it’s a matter of when and not if, what with Ayala-backed AC Industrials now at the helm of the South Korean car brand.

With every iteration, Kia's big family car has managed to deliver quality space and comfort, and car buyers have certainly expressed their agreement—the Carnival nameplate has already sold over two million units globally, making it a respectably selling model for the South Korean brand since it launched in 1998.


So how is the 2021 Kia Grand Carnival different from the model it replaces? We count the ways in this comparison of the old vs. new model.


The locally available Kia Grand Carnival is driven by a 2.2-liter turbocharged intercooler VGT diesel engine that dishes out 197hp and 441Nm. This Euro-4 compliant power mill is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic, a unique transmission feature allows the driver to override the automatic transmission and manually shift gears to gain more control over the car's performance. MacPherson Struts provide suspension support up front, while a multi-link system takes care of the rear. Brakes are disc types front and back.

Kia says that 2021 Grand Carnival will have three updated ‘Smartstream’ powertrains to choose from. The most powerful engine available is the 3.5-liter direct-injection V6 which doles out 289hp and 355Nm of torque, aided by a new cooled exhaust gas recirculation system for better fuel efficiency. The second engine is a 3.5-liter MPI gasoline V6 that produces less power and torque at 268hp and 332Nm, respectively. Third option is a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel engine, the same one found in the Santa Fe, albeit with a block made of aluminum instead of iron. This one makes 199hp along with 440Nm of torque. Suspension and brake systems remain the same as the old model.


The old Grand Carnival is as minivan-y as Kia can get, with big minivan proportions and a conservative minivan design. The two rear doors are sliding, just as a minivan should. Noteworthy upmarket exterior features include LED position lamps, projection type fog lamps, integrated turn signals, dual sunroof, and power tailgate, although it’s worth mentioning that most of these are found solely in the top ranging 7-seater variant.

kia grand carnivalKia Carnival

The new Grand Carnival takes on a more SUV-like silhouette, with its more upright stance and beefier sides. Given that the SUV is now the most preferred vehicle type in many of the Carnival’s target markets, the move toward a more SUV-like appearance is not at all unexpected, and appears like a natural evolution over the vehicle’s previous minivan leanings. The signature Tiger Nose grille is now more prominent, complimented by a crisscross design and futuristic slit-type headlamps with equally advanced-looking DRLS. The sculpted front bumper lower air intake complement the space-age façade, along with a metallic trim and a black lower bumper that emphasize the Carnival’s robust, SUV-inspired appearance.

At the rear, a vertical rear combination light bar now connects the sliding door rail on one side to the other. A chrome line above the light bar and a metallic lower skid plate below it finish off the look of the 2021 Kia Grand Carnival's backside.

kia grand carnivalNew Kia Carnival


Kia describes the Grand Carnival cabin as “a supremely elegant and spacious cockpit,” with well-thought-out design and function cues all around. For infotainment, the Grand Carnival has an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. The leather-upholstered seats are extremely flexible thanks to stand-up 2nd row seats and pop-up sinking third row seats, allowing owners to maximize storage as necessary.

kia grand carnivalKia Carnival

Just like the exterior of the new Grand Carnival, the cabin is a complete departure from the design of the previous model. The highlight of the dashboard is a magnanimous display panel with twin 12.3-inch screens – one behind the steering wheel for the instrumentation, and the one on the center dash for the infotainment system. In keeping with the times, the touchscreen infotainment system is complemented by touch-sensitive buttons found in strategic locations inside the cabin.


Though not immediately obvious, Kia reports that the wheelbase has increased some 30mm, from 3,060mm to 3,090mm. This increase contributes to greater space throughout the cabin, while giving the car a longer and sportier stance. “The result is a side profile that reveals the Carnival’s more dynamic DNA,” the Korean carmaker described. Just like before, the Kia Grand Carnival can come with up to four seat rows for up to 11 passengers.

kia grand carnivalKia Carnival

As for luggage space, it seems that this is one area where the old Carnival beats the new. Reportedly, the former can carry 4022 liters of storage with all the rear seats folded. The latter on the other hand, is good for only 2905 liters worth of cargo should all of the seats be stowed away.

Pricing and options

Philippine car buyers have three Kia Grand Carnival trims to choose from, with 11-seater and seven-seater options available. Price ranges from PHP2 million for the base LX AT, to PHP2.2 million for the EX AT, and on to PHP2.4 million for the top-ranging EX AT. There are six body colors to choose from including Clear White (LX only), Snow White Pearl (EX only), Titanium Brown (EX 7-seater only), Silky Silver, Panthera Metal, and Aurora Black Pearl.

kia carnivalNew Kia Carnival

With three different engine configurations, the 2021 Kia Grand Carnival has more trims than ever before, boasting 16 different trims in all in some markets. We’ll have to wait and see which of these models reach our own car market, and how much they will cost. If industry experts are to be believed, Kia’s latest people mover will be arriving sometime this year.

Shopping for a Kia Grand Carnival? Check out what’s available on Carmudi today.

Photos from Kia

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