Travel Without Limits Winter/Autumn 2024 Issue OUT NOW! Subscribe Here →


We got a new car! Meet Kim the Kia. How did I come up with that name? Well, to be frank the car has an impressive booty like another Kim K (Kardashian). Hubby doesn’t approve of the name, but it feels right to the rest of us. The impressive boot capacity was one of the main reasons we chose the car. Given it’s always such a process buying a vehicle I thought I’d write a review on the Kia Carnival Platinum (diesel) and why we feel it will meet our needs.

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Review of the Kia Carnival

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Our key considerations when choosing a car

We are now a family of four adults, so the “kids” really need their space.

Braeden needs to be able to easily transfer into the car.

Enough space to take my parents with us for outings.

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

When we road trip we have a lot of gear which is ever increasing. We travel with a manual wheelchair, beach wheelchair, stand-up paddle board and soon an inflatable kayak. We can now take the beach wheelchair and the manual wheelchair in the back of the car for a day outing without dismantling them.

The rear of the car needs to be low enough to make lifting the wheelchair in and out as easy as possible.

Middle console to have space for a DVD player because movies keep Braeden awake when we travel.

Fuel efficiency.

The process of looking for a car

Hubby spent hour upon hour looking online, researching options and comparing cars. Once he’d narrowed down the list we started the process of going to car yards with Braeden and the wheelchair. It is important for us to see how easy it is to transfer Braeden into the car, how high the back of the car is for lifting the wheelchair into the boot and the amount of additional space for our gear for day trips and holidays.

We looked at, and eliminated the following – Honda Odyssey, Hyundai Palisade, Kia Sorrento, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Prado, LDV D90 (Landcruiser) and Peugeot.

I really wanted the Honda Odyssey to work because I drive our Honda Odyssey (Rhonda) and love the car.  It ticked lots of the boxes but had limited space and the new model didn’t offer roof racks and with after-market roof racks fitted, the load limit was 50kgs. We travel with a roof pod and the math didn’t work for us to load it up as much as we normally do.

We initially discounted the Kia Carnival as an option as it is just so big but the more we looked at the lack of space in other cars it became clear we needed to relook at it. I guess it’s easy in the early stages of car shopping to eliminate vehicles but as you shop you become clearer on the deal breakers and the must-haves in a vehicle. I guess that’s just part of the process necessary to feel happy with your final choice.

Bells & whistles we like in Kim the Kia

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Sliding passenger doors make it so much easier to transfer Braeden from the wheelchair to the car. We no longer have to have one person ensuring the car door doesn’t hit the car beside us if we have to park in standard parking spaces.

Seat cooling and warming in the front two seats

Seat warmers on the rear seats

Wireless phone charging in the front of the car

Charging points in the rear of the vehicle for passengers

3D camera for parking

Double sunroof

Large navigation screen

Flat floor storage of the extra row of seats

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Rear seats can be adjusted to be further forward or back

The middle seat is removable if not needed making access easier.

Drink holders for rear seats


We thought we’d take a short video to show you how much room there is in the boot of the car and also show off how Braeden can get in the car. Braeden does even better with shoes on but alas it was the morning and he was still chilling.

Things we’re not as keen on in Kim the Kia

The car is huge to park

For such a big car we don’t find there’s much in-door storage,  particularly for those riding in the back seats. Our Honda has heaps of storage in the doors in the front and rear of the car which is particularly handy for all those bits you want within easy reach on a road trip.

Driver seat automatically shifts back to allow more space for getting in and out (this maybe a real positive for some people but Hubby isn’t a fan)

Position of the spare wheel means that to access it you would have to be on the roadside of the vehicle.

I don’t like the indicator displaying so low down near the base of the car. I feel we are all programmed to watch for indicators in the middle of a car when we are following another vehicle.

First few weeks of life with Kim the Kia

It’s early days so these are our thoughts and observations from our first two weeks.

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

Braeden is delighted with the new car. We are amazed at how he is self-transferring using the handle on the inside of the door to assist him to climb in and readjust himself in his seat. Braeden can also open and close his own door. This can be deactivated if this is a problem though.

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel

The car just fits in our garage. I breath in every time I watch Hubby park it. The mirrors have to be folded in to get past the entrance to the garage. It’s also too high for us to be able to load and unload the roof pod on it in the garage which is a shame as we have internal access and this makes packing so much easier. We can usually load and unload the pod in all weathers after a trip in the garage.

I quite like being high up when we are driving. Between the amount of window and being at a good height, there’s good visibility.

The one thing Hubby and I agree on when it comes to our current Honda Odyssey and any shortcomings is her lack of get up and go. You can have your foot flat to the floor going up a hill and poor Rhonda struggles. The Kia Carnival doesn’t lack get up and go which is great.

The Kia Carnival has many alarms and alerts. At times I feel we are at the airport with constant bells and announcements letting us know various things. I’m sure much of this can be adjusted once we get to know each other better. We’re in the honeymoon phase of the relationship and tolerating it all but I am sure with more exploration and manual reading some will be switched off. If only all annoying partner habits were as easily dealt with!

We are extremely lucky to have a car which suits our needs so well and we don’t take it for granted. Hubby’s employer has a requirement that a car being used for work is no more than five years old and must meet certain company requirements. As it is a large investment, we needed it to serve dual purposes and meet our family’s needs as well. This meant that we spent more than we’d ideally spend on a vehicle, but we don’t flip cars quickly, so this is a long-term relationship we’re in with Kim the Kia.

We’d love to hear about the car you’ve found meets your accessibility needs. Let us know in comments or over on Facebook. 

Kia Carnival review - Have Wheelchair Will Travel


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.