It is strictly family car, even a daily driver with the main concerns being addressed, I would also recommend the Grand Starex. If you try and search for WCRC topic about it, I think there were discussion there between the Grand Starex, Kia Carnival LWB and the Hiace Grandia. Pretty much, the Hiace fell flat on the performance figures from the get go, although it was the shortest of the bunch.
Comparing the Carnival against the Grand Starex, the Grand Starex offers better manueverability, better engine performance for a slightly smaller engine (2.5 as opposed to 2.7 if memory serves me right).
Montero is an ok choice but the third row leg room takes a beating, especially if you take into account that that third row is really meant to seat only 2 and not 3 people. Cargo capacity wise, it can carry more than the Santa Fe but these two vehicles are nowhere near the hauling capacity of the above mentioned 3 vans.
If you are not really to concerned on the overall "dating" or presence when you go to various destinations, vans pretty much serve the purpose better than these SUVs. Flood wading capbilities are also present in these vehicles, but are a bit lower compared to SUVs which have about 500mm flood wading capability. If I am not mistaken, across the board (from Monty, Fort, Sta Fe, Everest and Alterra), they all have 500mm flood wading capability. The highest that I presently know is only the new ranger which has a flood wading capability of 800mm.
Korean engines are also newer generation than the Japanese ones, you just have to be mindful of the turbo not to just suddenly switch them off after a long drive. Friends recommend installing a proper aftermarket turbo timer to prevent the damage to the turbo during this instance and I would just advice you to check with your agent or SA regarding the warranty of your engine if you install said part. It is very much needed and you can't really do without it.
Cheers! And good luck.