If there’s one thing the success of the Toyota Innova Crysta has established, it’s that there’s a sizeable market in the country for a premium MPV. Spotting an opportunity, Kia is readying its own premium MPV, the Carnival, for launch in India. The thing is, the Carnival will not be a like-for-like rival to the Innova Crysta – considering its price is expected to start where the Innova range tops-off.
What we’re interested to know, however, is how much more the Carnival will offer in size, power and features to justify its (even more premium) price tag.
First things first. The Kia Carnival is a monocoque-bodied MPV while the Toyota Innova Crysta uses hardier ladder frame construction.
As the dimensions make clear, the Carnival is a whole lot larger than the Innova Crysta. Its 5.1m length and 3m-plus wheelbase put it in a whole different size category. In fact, the Kia is nearly as long (just 25mm less) and actually wider (by 57mm) than the Mercedes-Benz V-Class Elite.
The Kia’s larger cabin promises an airier experience and greater comfort for passengers in all rows. Buyers will also get more seat-configuration options on the Kia. The Carnival will be offered in seven-, eight- and nine-seat versions. Of the variants on offer, the base and mid-spec will come as eight- and nine-seaters while the top-spec trim will be available as seven-seat models only. On the other hand, the entry-level and mid-spec variants of the Toyota MPV come with seven- and eight-seat layouts, while the top-spec trims, including the Touring Sport, are all seven-seaters.
|Carnival vs Innova: Dimensions|
|Carnival||Innova Crysta/Touring Sport|
|Boot space (all three rows up)||540 litres||300 litres|
|Boot space (third row folded)||1,624 litres||900 litres|
|Boot space (second row folded)||2,759 litres||NA|
Kia will offer the Carnival with one engine-gearbox combination – a 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel unit paired to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. This makes sense, considering the demand for diesels in this segment is much higher. In November 2019, Toyota sold 3,366 diesel-powered Innovas, compared to just 48 petrol-powered models. Toyota has opted to upgrade the 2.4-litre diesel engine to comply with BS6 norms, while the previously offered BS4 2.8-litre diesel engine has been discontinued. A key point of difference between the two MPVs is that the Kia is front-wheel drive while the Innova subscribes to a rear-wheel drive setup.
Unlike the Innova diesel, which gets manual and automatic gearbox options, Kia will offer a sole diesel-automatic version of the Carnival. The near-2-tonne Kia maybe heavier than the 1.9 tonne Toyota, but the Korean MPV comfortably out-powers the Japanese one.
|Carnival vs Innova: Powertrain|
|Carnival||Innova Crysta/Touring Sport|
|Engine type||4 cyls, turbo-diesel||4 cyls, turbo-diesel|
|Power||200hp at 3800rpm||150hp at 3400rpm|
|Torque||440Nm at 1750-2750rpm||343Nm at 1400-2800rpm (MT)/360Nm at 1400-2600rpm (AT)|
|Automatic gearbox||8-speed torque convertor||6-speed torque convertor|
Toyota offers a good deal of equipment and creature comforts on top-spec versions of the Innova. Safety kit includes seven airbags, ABS with EBD, hill-start assist, electronic stability program, rear parking sensors and automatic headlights. The interiors are also a nice place to be in, thanks to the leatherette upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, arm rests for the first two rows, automatic climate control, keyless entry and go, cruise control and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Top-spec Carnivals will go the distance with even more features. The package includes a powered tailgate, wireless charging and a power-adjustable and ventilated driver’s seat, along with creature comforts like three-zone climate control, Nappa leather upholstery and a dual-pane sunroof. The Carnival’s equipment list will likely also include dual 10.1-inch rear-seat entertainment screens.
The Korean brand’s MPV also comes with additional safety features like front parking sensors, a tyre pressure monitoring system and an electric parking brake.
In BS6 form, the Innova range is priced from Rs 16.14 lakh, with prices going up to Rs 24.06 lakh for the top-spec Touring Sport version. The Carnival range is expected to start at Rs 26 lakh, with the range-topping version likely to be to the tune of around Rs 30 lakh.
There is a fairly wide chasm between the top-spec versions of both MPVs. Still, on paper, at least, the Carnival seems like a tempting proposition and worth the extra money spent over the Innova Crysta.
If the final product delivers on its initial promise, the Carnival could crack the premium MPV segment wide open.
(All prices, ex-showroom, Delhi)