Kia recently launched the Carnival MPV in South Africa to replace the Grand Sedona.
Hyundai, the parent brand of Kia, also launched the Staria MPV in South Africa to replace the H1 not that long ago.
These new MPVs are much more luxurious, stylish, and modern than the vehicles they are replacing, but that comes at a cost.
In this case, that is a starting price of just under R800,000 for both MPVs.
The entry-level Hyundai Staria and Kia Carnival are neck-and-neck in the feature category.
Both have automatic headlights with daytime running lights, but while those on the Kia are LED, the Hyundai gets standard lamps.
The Carnival also wears 18-inch alloys and comes with a roof rack that gives it a somewhat more rugged appearance, whereas the Hyundai sees 17-inch wheels and a smooth roof that lends it a sleek look.
The two MPVs’ cabins, however, are much more alike than their outer shells.
In both, you’ll find artificial leather upholstery, a 4.2-inch driver’s display, a multifunction steering wheel, and an 8-inch infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
In addition, both offer cruise control, all-round parking sensors, hill-start assist, electric windows, and at least four USB inputs to accommodate the several rows of passengers.
The finer details are then where these competitors are set apart.
Alongside the above equipment, the Hyundai is fitted with a rear-view camera, climate control with rear-seat vents, a wireless charger, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, rear-seat alert, and six airbags.
The Kia has a manual air conditioner with rear-seat vents and seven airbags, while the rest of the Staria’s equipment only becomes available in the more expensive Carnival specifications.
However, whereas the Carnival comes with an electric driver seat, voice recognition, and multiple drive modes, this particular Staria does not.
In terms of practicality, the Carnival offers seven seats in a 2+2+3 layout, 1,139 litres of cargo space with all the seats up, and a fully removable second row of seats to enlarge cargo capacity to 4,110 litres.
The Staria’s seats in their 3+3+3 configuration can’t be removed, but they can be adjusted horizontally. This sees maximum cargo capacity go from 1,303 litres with all the seats up and moved forward, to a total of 4,935 litres in a two-seater configuration.
The Hyundai also measures larger in every dimension and sits higher off the ground at 186mm, compared to the Kia’s 172mm.
Both these MPVs are powered by a 2.2-litre, turbo-diesel engine connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that drives the front wheels.
In the Staria, the combination generates 130kW and 430Nm, whereas the Carnival provides 148kW and 440Nm.
The Kia does boast better performance figures such as a 0-100km/h time of 10.7 seconds, a top speed of 190km/h, and a combined fuel consumption rating of 6.8l/100km.
This is compared to the Hyundai’s 12.4 seconds, 185km/h, and 8.7l/100km.
However, the Staria with its lower output offers a higher maximum braked towing capacity of 2,500kg, which is far above the Carnival’s 1,588kg.
The Hyundai Staria 2.2D Executive 9-seater has a South African price of R789,900.
This includes a 5-year/150,000km warranty with an additional 2-year/50,000km powertrain warranty, a 6-year/90,000km service plan, and 7-year/150,000km roadside assistance.
The Kia Carnival 2.2CRDi EX has a South African price of R799,995.
Along with this, you get a 5-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, a 6-year/90,000km maintenance plan, and 5-year/unlimited kilometre roadside assistance.