2023.12.07 Kia

Exterior Designer Explains: Why Has the Kia Carnival Become Bolder?

The Kia Carnival has returned with a new look, adopting Kia’s design philosophy ‘Opposites United’ for a more powerful impression. But what lies at the heart of this transformation? Here, the exterior designer of the New Carnival explains.

Car sales fluctuate for various reasons - trends, new model launches, brand recognition. However, some models maintain steady sales, thanks to its clear customer base. The Kia Carnival, too, dominates the family car and minivan segment as one of Kia’s top sellers, based on its well-defined clientele.

Typically, popular models proven by customer loyalty tend not to take risks. But, with the Carnival’s product update cycle, it embraced a significant change akin to a full model change. Jin Bae, a researcher in Kia’s Future Design Team 1, explains how the Carnival acquired a bolder and more robust image through Kia’s design philosophy, ‘Opposites United.’

Q: What is the exterior design concept of the New Carnival?

The New Carnival, as Kia’s representative RV, has evolved further based on the ‘Bold for Nature’ concept, one of the design keywords of Opposites United. This concept was chosen to align with the customers’ needs for an outdoor lifestyle and to enhance the functional aspects of the Carnival. While maintaining the luxurious RV image established by the original Carnival, it has evolved to project a more modern and futuristic presence.

The bold front radiator grille delivers a strong impression, blending a three-dimensional shape with a dark chrome finish for a premium feel. The bumper’s lower skid plate emphasizes a sleek, modern look, harmoniously integrated with the side sill chrome garnish.

The daytime running lights and rear combination lamps are designed to seamlessly connect with the vehicle’s character lines. The signature 19-inch machined wheels add a refined touch, and the neatly sculpted tailgate complements the rear combination lamps for a progressive rear profile. The rear combination lamps, including turn signals, reversing lights, and fog lamps, have been repositioned for a cleaner appearance.

Q: What are the features of the signature Star Map lighting design applied to the New Carnival?

The unique vertical lamps form the basis for the bold and sensory Star Map DRL graphics, emphasizing a wide and high-tech image. The rear combination lamps also follow this design direction, pursuing a progressive image in conjunction with the tailgate. Efforts were made to hide the exposed handle on the conventional tailgate to emphasize the bold graphics and wide stance of the rear lamps.

Q: Why were the rear turn signals integrated into the rear combination lamps in this updated model?

It’s one of the changes reflecting customer needs. Feedback from previous Carnival users mentioned the inconvenience of the lower placement of rear turn signals. In the New Carnival, we switched the rear combination lamp design from horizontal to vertical, creating space for the turn signals. We hope this repositioning alleviates customer discomfort.

Q: The New Carnival feels as sturdy as an SUV. What design elements convey this sensation?

The New Carnival targets customers who enjoy both workcation and van life, aiming for a design that is bold and wide. The grand and three-dimensional grille, unique Star Map lighting, and sleek skid plate come together to create a bold and wide design.

Q: The new wheel design is noticeable. What was the concept behind the Carnival’s wheels?

They were designed in line with Kia’s overall wheel design strategy. The 17-inch alloy wheels are geometrically refined to appear larger. The 18-inch wheels emphasize a sporty look with machined edges. The 19-inch wheels, especially for the model update, are designed to convey a modern and premium image, with the Gravity-exclusive wheels emphasizing a robust look.

Q: Kia operates the design-focused Gravity trim. What are the design features of the New Carnival Gravity model?

Like other Gravity trims, the New Carnival Gravity applied low tones and achromatic colors for a stronger image. Dark metal colors are used for the skid plate, lower door molding, C-pillar garnish, lower radiator grille molding, roof rack, and outside mirror covers. The exclusive radiator grille and wheel designs for Gravity further enhance its robust feel.

Q: A hybrid model has been newly added to the New Carnival. What are the design elements unique to the hybrid?

The newly added hybrid model in the lineup will feature hybrid-exclusive machined wheels. The wheel design emphasizes a futuristic feel, harmonizing geometric machined surfaces with technical pattern details to match the image of an aerodynamic wheel.

Q: The exterior changes for the New Carnival are substantial for an updated model. Were there any challenges in the development process?

Differentiating from the existing model was our biggest challenge and difficulty. Various design issues arose from implementing vertical lamps, meeting more stringent aerodynamic standards, improving the bumper design for upgraded radar installation, and adjusting the parametric pattern of the radiator grille. After overcoming these challenges over time, we were able to complete the exterior design of the New Carnival.

Q: As the exterior designer in charge, what message do you have for customers interested in the New Carnival?

Despite being an updated model, the New Carnival incorporates numerous changes and a well-finished design, developed through the collective efforts of our designers. Researcher So-yeon Kim contributed greatly to refining the rear design, while Researcher Sung-woong Bae, responsible for the wheel design, and Researcher Chung-hee Jo, who worked on lamp production, along with the entire team, collaborated to evolve the exterior design of the New Carnival. Customers may have different perspectives on design, but we hope they view the New Carnival positively, focusing on its improved convenience and changed image. We wish all customers enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable lifestyle with the new Carnival.

HMG Journal Operation Team


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