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Kia Carnival Ex vs. LX

1. Exterior Design

The changes in design to the new Kia Carnival are drastic compared to its predecessor. The new Carnival is a very strong and attractive vehicle. It is lower and wider than the previous model. The front end design gives it a strong start and an attractive ending. The new Kia Carnival Ex comes with regular projector-style headlights, whereas the LX comes with an eye-catching design. The two-tone color on the LX model works very effectively here. The multi-reflector halogen headlights with an auto-light control give it a demanding look on the road. On the Carnival Ex, the black radiator grille comes with a chrome radiator. It has a variety of wheels ranging from 16-inch steel wheels to 17-inch alloy wheels. The Ex wheel looks flat and boring, whereas a simple upgrade to the LX and you have a shiny look that makes it much more attractive. [1][2][3][4] Learn More about: Kia Sorento in our guide 'Introduction to Kia Model Specific Reviews and Features'

1.1. Headlights

The Kia Carnival is available with the standard halogen lights or they feature an LED DRL line around the edge of the projector headlight. Buyers looking at the Kia Carnival will be spoiled in the fact that both the feature an LED DRL line around the edge of the projector headlight and LED positioning/parking lights. This will make the projector on the EX/Limited very clean looking with the modern LED touch. Overall, the Kia Carnival has some pretty decent lights. They are clear and provide a good amount of light output. The LED positioning/parking lights give a modern look and the optional LED DRL line is a great added touch. The headlights are not difficult to access or remove, and this will be beneficial for future projector retrofits should the owner wish.

Projector Headlights A projector is another method of light output and is far superior to a reflector. A projector is a very high-intensity light that is emitted from a small source. Inside a projector, there is a front lens that acts as a magnifying glass, and an ellipsoidal reflector that is built into the light source. The light is emitted from the source and directed forward into the lens. The lens is used to project the light from the source onto a focused spot and shape the light into a beam pattern with a sharp cutoff. The projector has a very wide array of light output and can be styled and matched with halo rings, and LED and Xenon technology in many different colors to give various effects for the car enthusiast. Due to the high-end technology and quality of light output that a projector provides, they can be found as a factory OEM replacement for many cars today and are also a common aftermarket upgrade. This style of light, along with HID, is also the best housing to use in terms of retrofitting.

Reflector Headlights A reflector is the most common style of headlight found on cars today. It is very simple in appearance and has a very simple method of producing light. Reflector headlights have been around since the 1980s, so if you're driving a car that's younger than 30 years old, it probably has a set of reflector headlights. The way a reflector headlight works is that a light source (halogen, Xenon, or LED) is placed inside a bowl-like housing that has mirrors inside it. The matched pair of lights are intended to mimic each other. A cutoff shield is used to block the light from going above a certain line and to prevent blinding oncoming traffic. The light is projected forward on the road, and the reflector's mirrors shape the beam pattern. This style of headlight is very simple to make and normally very cheap since no high-end technology is involved. Due to this, reflector headlights are often found on low-end base model vehicles. Reflectors are also used in fog lights and high beams, and a few companies have started building OEM replacement reflector headlight assemblies with Halo or LED DRL rings.

The lights on a car can come in many different forms. These days cars are coming with various different styles of lights ranging from a standard halogen to LEDs and even Xenon or HID styled lights. These different styles of lights also come in different housings too. Sometimes the same style of light can be found in different housings, e.g. a projector (more on projectors below) or a reflector. The technology and style of the light can be a big selling point on some vehicles.

1.2. Grille

Although the PVC model has a more expensive look on the headlight, the projector beam on both vehicles shows remarkable and reliable visibility during nighttime driving. [5][6][7][8]

The headlight on both of these vehicles has a projector beam on the front. While the EX model only has a single system projector, the PVC model is equipped with a twin projector headlight with a clean lens. The color scheme of the headlight is amber for the turn signal and sunglass. Both models don't have fog lights on the front bumper, which is why the headlight also contains an LED positioning lamp on the left and right of it. This helps differentiate whether the car has its headlights on during the night. The LED positioning lamp is incorporated within the headlight itself. Its function is to provide a visual signal without the use of the headlight at nighttime. This is a very handy function to prevent battery drainage.

The 2020 Kia Carnival EX and PVC have a lot in common, especially when it comes to the grille. However, there are some differences. The PVC model has a dark metallic color attached to the grill, while the EX model has a silver color at the bottom of the grille. The PVC grille has a full chrome design with black inserts in between. Both PVC and EX models have the same tiger skin image and the Kia Motors logo placed in the center of the grille. This shows that Kia Carnival has a certain image that the company wishes to bring forward regarding the brand of the car.

1.3. Wheels

Kia Carnival EX comes with 17-inch machine finish alloy wheels, while the LX model has 17-inch alloy wheels. The difference in their appearance is due to the material finish on the wheels. The Carnival EX has a shinier outlook with a machine finish, which makes the wheels look polished and gives them a nice and shiny appearance. This is because the area of contact with the road has a glossier finish, and the paint around it may or may not have been removed, depending on the wheel. This gives the wheels a two-toned look, with the painted area usually being silver and the rest of the wheel being black. The areas exposed to the machine finish before painting create a contrasting look. In the case of the Carnival EX, the contrast comes from silver and the usual alloy wheel look, making the wheels more striking. Machine finish is usually done on OEM wheels and is rarely done aftermarket. This is because aftermarket wheels are often painted in a specific color and do not have the contrasting black-silver look that is achieved by removing the alloy and adding the shine of the machine finish. A wheel that is only painted looks good in its specific shade, but once the machine finish contrast is lost, it can be an expensive mistake if the wheel gets scraped in situations like accidental parking, potholes, or off-road activities. In such cases, one Carnival EX wheel can cost nearly as much as a new fancy aftermarket wheel. The transition from wheel to tire has negligible differences on both variants, with the same plastic hub-caps provided. An easy upgrade would be to replace these hub caps with alloy ones, which cost about the same as an OEM steel wheel and give a good upgrade to the existing wheel style.

2. Interior Features

The EX and SX models come equipped with a "Passenger One-Touch" 2nd row seat, allowing easy access to seats in the 3rd row. Unfortunately, with all models, the 2nd row seats are not as comfortable as they should be. The "Slide-N-Stow" seats in the 2nd row are split, but not equally, as the narrower part of the 60/40 split is on the passenger side. Third row seats are comfortable, but low to the ground. In all models, the 3rd row seats are split 60/40 and sinking them into the floor to increase cargo space is quite easy. LXS, EX, and SX models come with the option of removing the seats, but the 2nd row seats are quite heavy (approximately 60 lbs each). More expensive SX-Prestige models have "VIP Lounge Seating" for the 2nd row, leather 2nd and 3rd row seats, and a heated steering wheel.

In terms of interior dimensions and design, the Kia Carnival took a step back when compared to its predecessor. Granted, while the previous Sedona was more of a minivan, the new Carnival makes moves to differentiate itself as a "multipurpose vehicle". While the Carnival can't hold a flame to the previous Carnival/Sedona (which was one of the best minivans available in terms of space and function), Kia was still able to instill it with a sense of utility. Seating and storage are done well, with a plethora of seating configurations and easy folding/sliding of rear seats. Dual power sliding doors and a power liftgate (features that come standard on the EX and SX) also add a touch of convenience.

2.1. Infotainment System

Now, we had a business on this, right? Time to be a political science graduate. But I think readers, you all too had this confusion in the past or might be now also.

Also, regarding the display of the infotainment system, through my gathering, I came to know that specific variants for some countries offer a different resolution display. Even though it sounds interesting, I also heard that a few top-end variants offered in some other countries are not available in the home country. For example, the Australian regression Sorento car had a good resolution back camera display, which was not offered in the Indian top-end variant Sorento car. So, this case may not be, but can be practically seen in the near future.

For the first time, the Carnival comes offered with a captain seat option, in which this infotainment system will be at the backside of the front seat, and the other second-row seat people need to operate. Then, the higher variant, the Kia Carnival LX variant, offers a bigger 10.1-inch screen with all connectivity options, plus the added feature of a navigation system. Now, the sound output is a quad feature, with an added center speaker situated centrally in the cabin and an additional feature of a rear speaker. Both variants have rear parking sensors, mandatory for this big car.

The recently launched Kia Carnival, available in two variants, is embedded with an infotainment system near the gear lever and just above the climate control console. The Kia Carnival EX variant has an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen with radio, AUX, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto connectivity. The sound output is a dual feature, coming from individually controlled speaker settings with a console speaker and a soundbar at the front. Dual feature means the audio or sound output from the infotainment system can be muted or listened to at two different places simultaneously.

The residing position in the vehicle was different in each car. Some cars have an onboard display between the driver and passenger seat, some cars have it in the center console portion between the two front seats, and a few 7-seaters have an onboard display or screen hanging between the front two seats and a bit higher up.

Approximately a decade ago, the auto industry has been guided by the so-called infotainment system in the vehicle. In earlier days, it was a 1DIN music player or tape recorder, and in some high-end cars, there used to be a navigational system people used to buy as an aftermarket product from the shop and install in the car. All these inventions and tweaks have been replaced by a modern single product called the infotainment system.

2.2. Seating Capacity

Kia Carnival has much space for seven or eight passengers with slim and tight seats, but the L trim seat bench can increase the capacity to nine. The ride is comfortable, thanks to a nicely tuned suspension that holds up well on rough pavement. The driver sits high, enjoying good visibility, while the front passenger is a little lower. Both get comfortable seats and ample space, as do the passengers in the second row. The second row consists of two captain's chairs, but a three-seat bench is optional. The third row is split in thirds and each piece is light enough to be removed by one person. All Carnival vans are quite roomy inside and its feature-packed interior is as good as some full-size SUVs. Dual sliding doors are a big plus, providing easy access to the second and third rows. High-end models offer power sliding doors that can be opened via buttons in the front and closed at the front or rear. The power liftgate is also a great feature but comes only on high-end models.

2.3. Climate Control

Overall, the climate control at the EX level is a much-enhanced and luxurious experience with its greater functionality and features, although the LX climate control provides a similar enough experience while still achieving the same standards.

The LX climate control is a step down from the EX's system, although it still provides a similar experience. The manual control system has the same functions and outlets at the front to control the climate in the front of the cabin. The second-row passengers have a similar experience with both EX and LX models, providing identical functions and outlets to control the climate at the rear of the cabin. One difference is that the EX model's second-row climate control is automatic, although this is not a feature that many will notice. Both models provide a similar enough experience with the climate control, and it’s not until the third row of seating that the LX model starts to show its limit. The EX model has a separate climate control system unique to the LX model for the third-row passengers. This ensures that all passengers in the cabin have the best experience with maintaining the right temperature.

The Kia Carnival EX comes with a tri-zone full automatic control, which is a step up from the LX's tri-zone manual control. The EX’s system includes a cluster ionizer to help purify the cabin and electronic deodorization to prevent unwanted odors from entering the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. The EX also includes second and third-row sunshades, which are perfect for protecting young passengers from harsh sunlight. The system at the EX level is definitely a luxury climate control package. On top of the enhancements to the climate control system, the EX model comes with acoustic windshield glass, which blocks out wind and road noise. This is an additional feature that isn't available on the LX.

2.4. Storage Space

Storage space is definitely not an issue when it comes to the Kia Carnival. There are multiple storage compartments scattered throughout the rear and front, most with bottom liners for easy cleaning. Storage options vary in the two models with the lower spec LX having 4 cup holders and 4 bottle holders, other countries may also receive an LX with 8 bottle holders. The range topping EX has 8 cup holders with 4 bottle holders throughout the vehicle. Both Carnival's have a tray in the centre of the dash with AUX/USB inputs and iPod compatibility. The glovebox in both models is large and has a cooling vent, perfect for storing items such as chocolate. In the rear, the Carnival has the option of a centre storage box or seat, the storage box can be removed and placed between the 2nd row seats if the seat is chosen. A good idea for those who use child seats. Third row passengers have access to cup holders and the EX model adds a centre console with large drink cooler. Another key difference is in the cargo carrying area, with the LX having a reversible luggage board and the EX having a 'Slide-N-Stow' 2nd row seat, creating much easier access and the ability to carry large objects. Both models have 10 cup holders and 4 bottle holders.

3. Performance and Engine

The Kia Carnival EX and LX both have the same engine. This 3.3-liter V6 Lambda II powerplant is the same one found in the Sedona MPV as well as the Sorento SUV and Cadenza sedan, making 276 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 248 pound-feet of torque. For those keeping score, the Sorento gets away with running regular old unleaded fuel, but the Sedona and Cadenza require premium fuel, so those models are slightly down on power when it comes to the official specs. The Carnival doesn't require premium fuel, so the full 276 horses and 248 torques are on tap. Both the EX and LX are available as 7- or 8-passenger models and both weigh about the same. The EX comes with 19-inch wheels that replace the LX's 17-inchers. Whether it's the additional rolling resistance of the 19-inch tires or a different tune on the available AWD system, the EX's fuel economy takes a bit of a hit. The EPA ratings are 12 city/19 highway/16 combined for the LX, whereas the EX gets 12 city/18 highway/15 combined with FWD, and 12 city/19 highway/15 combined with AWD. All of that is with regular old unleaded fuel. So the LX on average gets 1 MPG better in the city, 1 MPG better on the highway, and 1 MPG better combined. While on paper the difference only looks like a few miles per week, AWD models of both trims will have an annual fuel cost difference of $150 based on 15,000 miles per year. The EX and LX share the same 8-speed automatic transmission and both have similar driveability. This smooth shifting transmission is a likely contributor to the Carnival's notable powertrain refinement.

3.1. Engine Power

The Carnival features a 3.3L V-6 engine that produces 276hp. The LX has the same engine, with the same power, while the EX also has the same engine as the other two, but with a difference in power of 8hp. The EX has Idle Stop & Go (ISG) technology, giving it a slight edge in fuel economy due to this feature. Both engines are perfect for the vehicle class. At 60mph, the 220hp 2012 Carnival can manage 21-22mpg, so the EX is much more fuel efficient in comparison with the 276hp engine doing the same amount of work. This largely depends on your driving environment and style, and how much load you are carrying. If you are doing a lot of motorway driving, or living in a hilly area or using the van to tow heavy loads, the extra power is preferable. The 0-60 time of the Carnival is around 8.5 seconds, with the 2012 model LX being slightly slower. This is very respectable for a minivan and is quicker than most large SUVs or crossovers, and with that Kia are confident there are plenty of buyers out there for this vehicle. Step on the throttle and the Carnival moves off with no drama, much like a large European car. Overall, the Carnival has adequate power to move a fully laden vehicle at a reasonable pace, with the LX being enough for most people's needs, and the EX having a slight edge in this area.

3.2. Fuel Efficiency

More open street. Less oomph. With the all new 3.5 MPi engine and 8-speed automatic transmission for a smooth, durable ride, fuel utilization is reduced but genuine family execution is expanded. Ideal for every school run or a weekend escape, Kia Carnival will save you money to invest in the family. It replaces the 2.2 Diesel as the Core model engine. With an improved torque of 279.6 Nm on 3.5 MPi versus 216.3 Nm on the 2.2 Diesel, it offers a similar capacity to pull weight, just requiring further revolution to access this power because of the essential difference between diesel and petrol engines. Usually, petrol motors have a higher RPM limit and provide more of their power at the top range. In any case, this motor will still give Carnival the ability to tow and/or carry large loads comfortably, albeit with higher revolution ranges to access this power. This should be remembered if you have previously towed with a diesel Carnival. The Carnival's 3.5-liter V6 engine has been rated at 22 miles per gallon combined on the front-wheel drive models and 21 miles per gallon on the all-wheel drive models. This is compared to the 20 miles per gallon combined on both the front-wheel and all-wheel drive modes with the 3.3-liter V6 engine. The new motor wouldn't be classed as 'efficient' in terms of fuel economy and well-being or economy models, yet makes a positive stride the correct way in keeping with the 2.2 Diesel engine it replaces in the LX model. The LX and EX models additionally include Idle Stop and Go (ISG), which is a fuel-saving feature that turns off the engine when the car is not moving, for example, at a stop light or in gridlock traffic but restarts the engine quickly when the driver needs to move. This technology was previously only available on the high-specification platinum model with the 2.2 Diesel engine. This brings Carnival within close proximity of the most efficient people mover on the market, being the Toyota Tarago, which is a hybrid but does not offer the same spaciousness as Carnival. Both EX and LX models have an EPA fuel economy estimate of 19-26 city-highway combined. Finally, among all trim levels for the new Carnival, one of the most cost-effective ways of running a Carnival still is running an AWD S trim with a 3.5 V6 that has an EPA fuel economy estimate of 19-26 city-highway. This is exactly the same fuel efficiency rating as the LX and EX models.

3.3. Transmission Options

The EX comes equipped with a 6-speed automatic Steptronic transmission with overdrive. These are often marketed in the same range as a luxury geared CVT type transmission, with the key difference on the CVT being elusive "gear slippage" that is meant to simulate the same driving sensation one feels in a conventional geared car. The Steptronic transmission actually still uses conventional gears, but by locking and unlocking the torque converter, it can simulate gear slip as well as lock in certain gear ratios depending on driving conditions, which can also sound similar to a conventional automatic CVT. This transmission will enable a smooth transition between gears, and the locking and unlocking torque push for different situations will help maximize the fuel economy on the EX to 18 MPG in city driving and 25 on the highway. The transmission will also enable the full 271 HP the engine produces to be available when desired without the horsepower loss felt with many other types of automatic transmissions.

The LX comes with a conventional 6-speed automatic transmission, which will appeal to gearheads and people who want to save money by having more control over a vehicle's transmission maintenance. The LX transmission is tried and true and has been around long enough for Kia to work out any kinks, so people needing a reliable form of transportation should feel confident without the added loss of confidence a new technology often brings. The downside to this is that the conventional 6-speed automatic transmission will sap some fuel economy from the engine design that was actually intended to be mated to a different sort of 6-speed transmission technology. At best, the LX will be rated at 18 MPG in city driving and 25 on the highway.

4. Safety and Technology

The automated emergency braking on the LX model brings the Carnival to a stop if it detects an imminent frontal collision, and it can even detect pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. It provides added convenience by precisely stopping or avoiding a collision. This is a step above automated emergency braking systems that only work in side and forward-facing conditions. The lane departure warning is the most reliable in testing; it provides a wide range of alerts, including beeping and displaying a warning on the instrument cluster, and it also applies counter-steering force to gently steer the vehicle back into the correct lane. The blind spot detection system can detect a slow-moving or stationary object in the driver's path, giving the driver time to avoid it. Additionally, the adaptive forward and reverse braking system can prevent a collision with obstacles on the road or in a parking lot. This is a significant amount of technology for such an affordable vehicle, but it also represents the increasing competition in the people mover class. A compromise between these technology levels would be ideal.

Safety and technology are something most people expect from their vehicles, and the 2022 Kia Carnival delivers on those expectations with its extensive list of standard safety and tech features. It includes an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that offers various technologies to enhance safety. These include automated emergency braking, lane departure warning and assistance, blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view monitor. This is a significant amount of technology provided by the Kia Carnival's sleek exterior.

4.1. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Prevention is better than cure. The features provided in the KIA Carnival EX are to prevent accidents from happening. The Lane Keeping Assist System is designed to alert the driver. There is a visual alert on the cluster and an audible alert. This feature is under the function of Camera vision and electric. Where the camera has to detect the line and the electric will control the steering. This is because to avoid the car from moving out of the lane. If the driver didn't put the turning signal on and the car is moving out of the lane, the electric will control the steering and move the car to the middle of between the 2 lines. This is to make sure the car is actually in the correct lane.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) are designed to automate, adapt, and enhance vehicle systems for safety and better driving. It is a lot that improves human and car safety. Some are avoiding the car from moving out of the lane, some control the speed and apply the brakes, and etc. This feature is on the KIA Carnival EX with the price of USD 32,300. Whereas for the KIA Carnival LX, there is no such feature provided in the car. The difference of USD 2,000 actually is worth it because the safety of the passengers is guaranteed. This feature helps the driver to feel safer while driving and in case of an emergency, the car can help to prevent accidents from happening. This is one of the selling points for the KIA Carnival EX compared to the LX. With all the facilities provided, it is worth it for the additional USD 2,000. This feature actually gives confidence to the parents to place their children at the back seat because it can avoid accidents from happening and protect the passengers in all aspects.

4.2. Connectivity Features

The LX and EX offer Bluetooth wireless connectivity for your mobile phone. Connecting a Bluetooth phone is simple. Go to Setup, select Phone and then select Add a New Device. Enable Bluetooth on your mobile phone, then select Search New Device on the touchscreen. When the phone is found, select it and enter the relevant PIN. You will only need to do this once and the system will remember your phone in the future. Once connected, your phone book will be downloaded automatically, giving access to all your contacts. You can also use the call history menus to select a previous call or redial a number. Using the phone comes with the advantage of the superior sound quality of the car audio system, as well as the full functionality of the steering wheel remote control and voice recognition (EX only). Finally, the phone can be stowed during a trip yet remain connected, as the system will automatically reconnect to a paired phone when it is within range. An added function of the EX voice recognition system is the ability to undertake a voice command to send a message on your phone, which is then converted to a text message and sent. This function is compatible with most Bluetooth mobile phones with a MAP (Message Access Profile).

4.3. Safety Ratings

A 5-star safety rating is also evident in the form of sophisticated crash prevention technology. All models boast a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, but customers that opt for the range-topping Platinum model will be rewarded with front parking sensors, a 360-degree camera view, and blind spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert. This is all inclusive of the highest level in Carnival safety specifications - autonomous emergency braking (AEB). AEB is designed to act independently in cases where a frontal collision is imminent and has been proven by ANCAP to reduce road traffic accidents by 38%.

In the event of a crash, both the Kia Carnival S, Si, SLi, and Platinum models offer superior protection with 7 airbags as standard - including full-length curtain airbags to the third row of seats. All Carnival models come equipped with advanced anti-lock braking systems, electronic brakeforce distribution, and an emergency brake assist system to provide directional stability and the ability to stop quickly and safely when required.

The 2017 Kia Carnival is an unrivaled MPV bolstering a 5-star ANCAP safety rating on all models. ANCAP is an autonomous entity developed to provide Australian and New Zealand consumers with a transparent approach to vehicle safety, by systematically assessing and comparing the safety performance of new cars. This is done through the simulation of real-life crashes to gauge vehicle protection levels and the presence of effective active safety assist technologies, to assist in avoiding crashes altogether. Learn more about Carnival trim comparison.


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