Wednesday, January 26

Kia Carens MPV makes global debut in India

The Kia Carens has finally been unveiled. Slated for a market launch early next year, the Carens is the Korean carmaker’s fourth product here.  The Kia Carens is targeted at modern Indian families and so it has a fairly long footprint, a straight roofline and an upright stance for that quintessential MPV appeal.

Now the Carens name isn’t new for Kia. The company used to sell a compact MPV named Carens in Korea between 1999 and 2018, however, globally it was more popularly known as Kia Rondo. The company has revived the Carens name again and India is the first market to get it.

The Kia Carens bears a resemblance to the sportier Kia’s on sale globally. The front grille for instance, is reminiscent of Kia’s ‘Tiger Nose’ on the Stinger, but apart from that, the design is decidedly MPV. Up front, the face is characterised by a flat bonnet and an upright nose that’s distinctly divided into two parts. The upper portion features a slim grille and a split headlamp set-up that’s grouped together within a contrasting black trim. The Carens gets Y-shaped LED daytime running lamp signatures, with the main headlamp cluster positioned below.

While styling continues to be a matter of personal preference, there’s no doubt that a Carens in one of the darker shades will command good road presence.

The MPV side profile is evident due to the Caren’s nature of being offered as a six/seven-seater, but the styling has been done well, with a sharp shoulder line that culminates into the tail lamps. Even the LED tail lamps get the Star Lamp design. The Carens sits on 16-inch dual-tone crystal-cut alloy wheels, which does make the MPV look a bit under-tyred, but we suspect this has been done to improve the ride quality of the MPV.

The Kia Carens measures 4,540mm in length, 1,800mm in width, 1,700mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,780mm (the longest in the segment). The dimensions certainly point to a spacious interior; in comparison, the Alcazar, which is also based on a stretched version of Creta/Seltos platform, measures 4,500mm in length, 1,790mm in width, 1,675mm in height and has a wheelbase of 2,760mm. Interestingly, when compared to the Toyota Innova, the Carens’ wheelbase is 30mm more, though the Toyota is longer when it comes to overall length.

In typical Kia fashion, the interior of the Carens is feature packed. The dashboard is quite deep, extending well towards the front windshield. A 10.25-inch infotainment screen takes centre stage on the dash in higher variants (lower variants get an 8.0-inch screen), below which the AC vents have been integrated. The Carens gets roof-mounted AC vents to improve cooling at the rear, however, this rules out the possibility of a large panoramic sunroof.

The Kia Carens also gets a fully digital instrument cluster, an eight-speaker Bose sound system and a multi-function steering wheel with buttons for audio controls, voice commands and calling, similar to the one seen on the Seltos and the Sonet.

As far as seating options are concerned, the Carens will be available in both 6- and 7-seat configuration, with the former getting captains seats for the second row. It also gets electrically powered, one-touch tumble down feature for the second row (first in segment feature) for easy access to the third row of seats.

In terms of features, the Kia Carens comes equipped with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Kia’s UVO connect, along with 64-colour ambient lighting, ventilated front seats, seat-back tables with cup holders, and an air purifier. On the safety front, the Carens gets six airbags, ABS, ESC, hill-start assist, disc brakes at all four wheels, TPMS, and rear parking sensors as standard across all variants.

Now technical details of the new Kia Caren still haven’t been shared, but we expect it to share its powertrain option with the Seltos. So it is likely to get a 1.4-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol, 1.5-litre, four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol and the 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine options. While six-speed manual transmission will be standard, the turbo petrol will be offered with the option of a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) and the diesel will be available with a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.

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