When one thinks of the Kia Carnival, words like minivan, family car, and spacious interiors immediately come to mind. For the Carnival, which doubles as a minivan and family car, its interior space is a significant highlight. Customers who choose the Carnival undoubtedly value its interior for its ability to cater to various lifestyles. Consequently, the designers behind the Carnival’s upgraded interior, The New Carnival, faced considerable challenges in delivering a novel spatial experience to customers.
The New Carnival redefines its interior as ‘a tranquil and comfortable wide space.’ The design adds depth while simplifying interior elements, allowing passengers to perceive the interior as even more spacious. Senior researchers Yelim Seo and Jaehoon Yoon from Kia’s Interior DeX Team and Design Strategy Team, respectively, elaborate on the challenges and thought processes in achieving the pinnacle of interior design for this iconic Korean RV.
Q. What is the interior design concept of The New Carnival?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | The interior design of The New Carnival revolves around wide horizontal lines to create a modern ambiance. We aimed for a futuristic and uncluttered look by standardizing existing elements and enhancing depth with ambient lighting. We also applied a wide garnish from the door to the center fascia and positioned slim vents on top, emphasizing a floating effect on the top of the crash pad.
Q. What was the most challenging aspect of improving The New Carnival’s interior design?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | It was incorporating Kia’s key interior design elements into The New Carnival. Modern Kia vehicles maintain consistency in interior design by using a panoramic curved display and an integrated control system for infotainment and climate. While incorporating these elements in The New Carnival, we focused on elevating the high‒tech image, luxury, and convenience.
Q. As a leading family car in Korea, what special considerations were made for family customers?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | Maximizing storage space in The New Carnival was a key focus. We improved usability by applying a slim and simple console design while enhancing the openness of the open tray. A large cupholder capable of holding various sizes, from a paper cup to a 32oz cup, was included to satisfy different family members’ needs. Additionally, we introduced a UV‒C sterilization feature in the console box to maintain cleanliness for all family members.
Q. Large SUVs are emerging as competitors to the Carnival. What unique strengths does the New Carnival have to distinguish itself from these competitors?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | The New Carnival’s ace in the hole is its cavernous interior space and layout. To visually amplify this advantage, we’ve extensively integrated ambient lighting. The crash pad, designed to create an illusion of floating, is accentuated with gradient background lighting instead of indirect lighting. This not only boosts the aesthetic appeal but also crafts a soothing ambiance. Unlike the sometimes erratic reflection of indirect lights, the New Carnival’s ambient lights shine with clarity, enhancing both the visual quality and design finesse.
Q. What are the interior design elements of the New Carnival that customers are likely to favor?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | The expanded center console in the New Carnival is a crowd‒pleaser. We’ve revamped spatial utility, allowing each passenger to customize their space. For instance, the smartphone wireless charging system is strategically placed in the open tray on the right of the console, while the left side near the driver offers ample versatile space.
Q. What functional features for rear‒seat passengers, like seat configuration, legroom, and headroom, are available?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | The New Carnival caters to regional customer needs with various features. We’ve implemented mechanisms like sinking pop‒up seats in the third and fourth rows, allowing passengers to easily toggle between passenger and luggage space. In the 7‒seater model, we’ve included luxury touches like strike and vibration massage functions in the spacious second row. The introduction of dynamic body care seats is a testament to our commitment to maximizing convenience and product appeal.
Q. As a designer, what are your recommended ways to utilize the New Carnival’s interior space?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | The New Carnival’s interior, reminiscent of futuristic SUV designs, is replete with convenience specs and emotive design elements that reinforce its premium minivan stature. The first row isn’t just for driving; it’s equipped with emotive features (lighting, sound, streaming plus, etc.) to create a home‒like space. Since many customers use the New Carnival as a family vehicle, we’ve incorporated rear‒seat entertainment monitors, built‒in air purifiers, and temperature‒controlled cupholders, catering to various lifestyles and creating a space where people want to stay longer.
Q. What was the core focus in developing the CMF design for the New Carnival?
Researcher Jaehoon Yoon | The key was the introduction of new colors for both the interior and exterior. For the exterior, we’ve offered a wider range of colors than before, aiming to give the New Carnival a fresh image with the main color change. Particularly noteworthy is the dark metal color used in the Gravity trim, which complements the surrounding greenhouse, body color, and black finish parts. This color choice, developed to the most suitable brightness, is an indispensable feature of the New Carnival’s CMF design.
Likewise, the interior design was enhanced with new colors to advance the luxurious and comfortable lounge concept. For the newly added hybrid model in the Carnival lineup, we combined colors that project a clean and refreshing image. These interior colors harmonize with the ambient lighting, elevating the finish of the New Carnival’s cabin.
Q. Can you detail the new colors introduced in the New Carnival?
Researcher Jaehoon Yoon | In the interior design of the New Carnival, we’ve added new taupe and navy gray colors. The taupe creates a more serious and luxurious atmosphere, different from the existing palette. The navy gray, exclusive to the hybrid model, emphasizes the eco‒friendly and crisp image. For the exterior, we introduced a new ivory silver color, enhancing the wide and confident image of the New Carnival. This color will be a persuasive option even for existing Carnival customers, who tend to prefer monochrome shades.
Q. How are the exclusive interior and exterior colors determined for the standard, hybrid, and Gravity trim models? What are their characteristics?
Researcher Jaehoon Yoon | For the hybrid model, we clearly defined and approached its unique interior color concept from the outset. We developed a color combination that would differentiate it from the standard models, keeping in mind the vehicle’s spacious interior and its signature lounge feel.
The exterior color for the Gravity trim was selected from the available palette, considering its specialized design. We chose colors with lower brightness to convey a substantial and understated contrast. The ceramic silver, exclusive to the Gravity trim, harmonizes beautifully with the dark metal finishes.
Q. What would be the future direction for the Carnival’s CMF development?
Researcher Jaehoon Yoon | With the Carnival boasting the most spacious interior in its class, the mood changes completely depending on the combination of materials and colors used. This spaciousness brings both advantages and challenges in terms of CMF. The color and material used in such a vast space can greatly enhance its charm, yet they also risk making the space feel empty or the material’s characteristics too prominent. The development direction of the CMF part should understand and reflect the Carnival’s strength in its spaciousness, evolving accordingly. When materials and colors are aptly arranged and combined, the true charm embedded in the Carnival’s generous space will resonate more closely with the users.
Q. What kind of experience do you hope the new interior and CMF design of the New Carnival will deliver to customers?
Senior researcher Yelim Seo | Although it’s simply an improved model in terms of product quality, we wanted the design changes to feel substantial. By integrating each unit inside and reducing the number of parts, we aimed for a simple yet consistent interior layout that communicates the direction of Kia’s design. Additionally, we aspired to showcase an evolved form of DeX (Design eXperience), considering the harmony with digital visualizing, including lighting and patterns.
Researcher Jaehoon Yoon | It’s natural for each customer to have a different experience when they see and feel a vehicle. With the extensive changes we’ve made, I hope they sense a fresh and advanced image. Particularly with CMF, as it’s an area where customers have the freedom to choose, it would be satisfying if the newly applied features add richness to their array of options.
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