Having drawn out the reveal of its Grand Carnival MPV since June, Kia has finally released full details of its fourth-generation MPV, with sales in its home market of South Korea kicking off today. The company is calling the latest model a “Grand Utility Vehicle” to draw some comparisons to SUVs, and to disassociate itself from some of the frumpiness of a traditional people mover.

Indeed, the Grand Carnival sports a few SUV-style design cues, such as silver front and rear skid plates, black body cladding and roof rails. Compared to its already premium-looking predecessor, the new car’s proportions have also been rejigged slightly, with a shorter front overhang and a longer bonnet made possible by positioning the A-pillars slightly rearward.

The signature “tiger nose” front end has been revolutionised for this application, tying together the concave grille, the dual-projector headlights and the distinctive LED daytime running lights into a single graphic. The narrow corner air inlets and the large centre intake are joined together by a sculpted chrome trim piece.

Along the side, the designers have simplified the surfacing, with just a single shoulder line carrying the bonnet shutline, the door handles and the sliding door rail. The blacked-out A- and D-pillars give the car a trendy “floating roof” look, while the chrome C-pillar fin, first seen on the new Sorento, provide some visual drama. This chrome fillet features a subtle diamond pattern.

The fin flows into a slim strip that wraps around the rear windscreen, under which sits the full-width tail light bar that emphasises the car’s broad stance. Hiding within the pronounced arches are 17-, 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel options, although even the largest ones here look a little lost underneath the massive body. There are also up to eight exterior colour options for your choosing.

Inside, the Grand Carnival is as much of a step-change over its predecessor as the outside, with a horizontal dashboard design, a tall centre console (incorporating a Jaguar-like rotary gear selector) and a Mercedes-aping freestanding display panel with twin 12.3-inch displays. The digital instrument cluster and the infotainment touchscreen are covered by a single sheet of glass, making for a seamless look.

Depending on the market, the Grand Carnival will offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, live telematics and Kia Live services that include live traffic information, weather forecasts, points of interest, and on- and off-street parking information. You will also be able to send navigation direction to the car before setting off, while the infotainment system can pair two phones via Bluetooth simultaneously.

There are also useful features for rear-seat passengers. The front occupants will be able to see and talk to them, thanks to a small camera and a function that amplifies their voice through the rear speakers. Those at the back, meanwhile, will be able to use the car’s voice recognition system to control the infotainment and other vehicular functions – if those in front allow it, of course.

The larger body has also improved interior space. The Grand Carnival is 40 mm longer at 5,155 mm, with 30 mm of this going towards the 3,090 mm wheelbase. The rear overhang has also grown by 30 mm to 1,130 mm, increasing third-row space and luggage capacity. Width, meanwhile, is up 10 mm to 1,995 mm.

Increasing the Grand Carnival’s dimensions has paid dividends inside. Even with all the seats up, you have 627 litres of boot space; with just the two front seats in place, that figure grows to a cavernous 2,905 litres. The load sill is also 26 mm lower than before, making it easier to lift more substantial items into the boot.

The Grand Carnival still comes in seven-, nine- and 11-seater configurations. In three-row form, the car gets reclining “Premium Relaxation Seats” for the second row, with adjustable armrests and ottomans. There’s also a one-touch “Relaxation” button that reclines the seat for a business class experience. A handsfree function for the tailgate and sliding doors is useful when carrying items or small children.

Safety-wise, the Grand Carnival will come with a full arsenal of driver assists, depending on the market. On the list are autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control (optionally available with navigation guidance), lane centring assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, and a driver attention warning.

The car will also come with a door opening warning also prevents the rear sliding doors from opening if it detects another vehicle approaching. Seven airbags, reinforced pillars and the increased use of high-strength and hot-stamped steel improve crash performance.

The Grand Carnival will come with a choice of three engine options, the most powerful of which is a 3.5 litre direct- and port-injected V6 that produces 294 PS and 355 Nm of torque. This particular mill comes with cooled exhaust gas recirculation, integrated thermal management and a cross-flow system to maximise efficiency. Certain markets will get a port-injected version with 272 PS and 332 Nm.

Customers looking for more torque to haul their family can opt for the 2.2 litre Smartstream four-cylinder turbodiesel, which ditches the outgoing cast iron block for an aluminium unit, saving 20 kg. This one comes with new high-pressure injectors, new balancer shafts, a thermal management system, and selective catalytic reduction; it makes 202 PS and 440 Nm. All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Under the skin, the Grand Carnival comes with a revamped fully-independent suspension system and reduced noise, vibration and harshness, making for a more relaxed and comfortable drive. To that end, the front of the car features a multi-skeletal cross-member and new geometry to increase stability.

The rear, on the other hand, gets hydro bushings, longer and lower suspension arms, a revised spring layout and an adjusted damper angle to improve ride comfort. The more rigid bodyshell and increased sound insulation further improve refinement. Lastly, the column-monted electric power steering increases response, quickens the steering ratio by 5.6% and allows for the implementation of the aforementioned driver aids.