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Kia Carnival debuts hybrid power in GT-Line flagship, cheaper models could follow

Curt Dupriez
Deputy editor

New 1.6L turbo petrol-electric powertrain joins the eight-seater lineup, but you’ll have to dig deep to get the fuel-miser version

Kia Australia has launched the long-await hybrid version of its Carnival people mover in conjunction with the popular eight-seater’s ‘KA4 PE’ facelift.

The new powertrain adopts the Gamma II 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine outputting 132kW and 265Nm with a single electric motor producing 54kW – the highest power of any Kia hybrid to date – and 304Nm.

Total system out figures for the hybrid system are 180kW and 366Nm.

Kia Carnival GT-Line 2024 rear
Kia has launched the facelifted Carnival range in Australia

The new hybrid system will be offered alongside the two carryover powertrains offered for the Carnival facelift: the evergreen 3.5L petrol V6 offering 216kW and 355Nm, and the 2.2L diesel four producing 148kW and 440Nm.

Unlike the carryover engines that use eight-speed automatic transmissions, the hybrid adopts a six-speed design. As with the other engines, the Carnival hybrid is available only with front-wheel drive.

Unsurprisingly, the highlight of the hybrid choice is fuel economy. The combined claim is 5.8L/100km, with 6.7L for highway and an impressive 4.2L for urban – or over three times more fuel efficient around town than the petrol V6, which is advertised as 9.6L combined and 13.2L urban. 

Kia Carnival GT-Line 2024 interior
The GT-Line comes loaded with features

Initially, the 1.6T hybrid powertrain will only be available in a single flagship GT-Line variant, priced from $76,210. Elsewhere in the lineup, the V6 and diesel alternatives are available across all five available Carnival trim levels.

Check out our pricing and specifications story for the full rundown on the rest of the range.

Exclusive features for the hybrid variants of the Carnival include a specific 19-inch wheel design and – a Carnival first – an active air flap in the front fascia for aerodynamic benefit.

Kia Carnival GT-Line 2024 door open
The Carnival hybrid is currently reserved for the top-spec GT-Line and in limited numbers

Systems wise, the hybrid features exclusive paddle shifter-actuated brake regeneration adjustment (with on and off), an E-Ride feature for motor-augmented road bump control, an E-Handling motor-driven stability and agility upgrade, and E-EHA, or Evasive Handling Assist as safety enhancement.  

Further, the Carnival 1.6T Hybrid FWD, as it’s officially called, will be limited to around 60 units per month for the first year of sale, positioned as the premium powertrain choice and commanding a $3300 upcharge over the penultimate GT-Line diesel ($72,910).

The limited availability is large down to supply restrictions. There’s a sole facility that produces the Carnival hybrid in both left- and right-hand drive for all global markets, with the lion’s share of output going to Kia’s domestic Korean market and the USA.

Kia Carnival GT-Line 2024 front
Australia’s New Vehicle Efficiency Standard could bring in a host of more efficient vehicles

However, with Australia’s incoming New Vehicle Efficiency Standard and increasing pressure of tightening emissions legislations globally, it’s expected that the 1.6T hybrid powertrain will trickle down to lower-grade Carnival variants in future, though Kia Australia will not be drawn into confirming any timeframe.

The new Kia Carnival facelift is on sale now.

Kia Carnival 2024: prices in Australia

All prices listed are before on-road costs.

  • S Petrol: $50,150
  • S Diesel: $52,380
  • Sport Petrol: $56,050
  • Sport Diesel: $58,280
  • Sport+ Petrol: $62,380
  • Sport+ Diesel: $64,610
  • GT-Line Lite Petrol: $66,350
  • GT-Line Lite Diesel: $68,580
  • GT-Line Petrol: $70,680
  • GT-Line Diesel: $72,910
  • GT-Line Hybrid: $76,210