The new generation Kia Carnival has disappointed with a less than satisfactory crash safety result according to Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP)
The people mover was awarded four out of five stars for safety.
Why the vehicle failed to please
ANCAP puts each car through a critical frontal crash test - this determines how it would perform in a real head on collision.
Vehicles must score a minimum of 12.5 out of 16 in this test. The Kia Carnival earned 10.48 out of 16. Kia's own Rondo scored an impressive 15 in the test.
The test also revealed a serious risk of injury to the legs and feet of the driver. Not only this, ANCAP found the park and foot brake pedals had unnecessary movement and the footwell had substantial deformation. Dash components, too, posed a potential risk of injury to the knees.
Reactions from the industry
According to the National Road and Motorists Association (NRMA), Kia is a brand that the market associates with affordable family transport - the four star rating indicates that it needs to pay more attention to safety.
President of the NRMA Jack Haley said the vehicle's latest competitors had all achieved five-star rating.
"Five stars might be the maximum score but it's our minimum expectation," he added.
The Kia Carnival has been Australia's biggest selling people mover for 10 of the past 11 years.
AA New Zealand's General Manager Motoring Services Stella Stocks says manufacturers need to focus on creating a strong structure to ensure vehicle safety.
"The Carnival is designed to be a family car, but doesn't offer the best family protection. In a crash, both front occupants face the potential of serious injury," she commented
In a statement made on March 31 to News Corp, Kia Australia's Chief Operating Officer Damien Meredith said they would "abide by the umpire's decision".
"We're talking with our colleagues at Kia head office to make the necessary changes to bring this car up to a five-star rating," he added.
According to News Corp, Kia says it has plans to add seatbelt reminders in the second row in the near future, however this change is unlikely to bump up the Carnival to a five-star rating.
Kia's National Public Relations Manager Kevin Hepworth said that the Carnival missed out on the top-5 star rating because of a misinterpreted requirement on the seatbelt alerts.
He added that models that will enter the market later this year will meet ANCAP's criteria.
Features of the Kia Carnival
Despite a four-star rating the new Carnival does have an impressive list of safety features.
It has six airbags including full-length curtain airbags and is constructed from more malleable steel than ever before. Top of the line versions include blind spot monitoring, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system and a forward collision warning system.
For NSW CTP green slip premium determination purposes the KIA Carnival is classified as a Class 1 Motor Car.