At Rs 8.99 lakh for the base Premium trim, the pricing for the Kia Carens is aggressive. But, the trim isn’t exactly well-equipped. The Prestige fares better, and at Rs 9.99 lakh it is still very well priced. However, it’s the Prestige Plus version that begins to bring out the real colour of the Carens. And, at Rs 13.49 lakh, it remains a good deal.
Our long term car though is the Luxury Plus. It is the best that the Carens has to offer. And if it’s a six-seater you want - like we wanted - the Luxury Plus is your only choice. We have also decided to opt for the petrol this time around for two reasons. Petrol options, even in larger people movers like the Carens, are becoming more popular. And two, with direct injection and a turbocharger, the 1.4-litre, four-cylinder powering the Carens is among the latest in petrol tech that OEMs across the world are offering. And it’s this format that they say is the replacement for diesel.
The plan then over the next many months is to see how the Carens fares, be it commuting in the city, taking on a long road trip, doubling up as a load carrier in a pinch, and of course, as a car the family might use, enjoy and appreciate. There will be other things too, like a detailed drill-down on its comfort coefficient, its fuel efficiency, and the overall driving experience.
But first, let’s look at what we get as part of this Luxury Plus package.
At Rs 16.19 lakh, the Luxury Plus is expensive. And for this money, you get captain seats, sun blinds, and aircon controls for the second row. There’s wireless charging as well, which is quite effective and useful. There’s ambient lighting that can be tuned to match the driving modes, and in fact is more than just a gimmick. It does help give the Carens’ interior a more upmarket feel; or should we say price-levelling feel.
You get automatic headlamps, rain sensing wipers, cruise control, a virtual cockpit, a nice looking and responsive touchscreen system, and there’s a sunroof as well. The latter isn’t big, and comes across more as a ‘tick-mark’ item than a genuine feel-good feature.
The ventilated front seats, the one-touch electric tumble for the left captain seat in the second row, an audio system that brings out the energy and playfulness of Bangra, the lovely puddle lamps, and the proximity opening of the ORVMs, however, are proper feel-good features. These endear the Carens to you, and make you feel good about your purchase.
Like we said at the start, this is the 1.4-litre, four cylinder, direct injection, turbo petrol. It has some strong output figures too with power at 138bhp, and the torque headlining at 242Nm. The latter is available from 1,500rpm; joys of new age DI TC engines. Now, you can have this 1.4 with a six-speed manual as well. Ours, however, is the seven-speed dual clutch automatic; complete with paddle shifters.
The other bits on paper seem pretty mainstream though. The suspension setup includes MacPherson struts upfront and a torsion beam at the rear. And, you get 16-inch wheels with 205 section tyres. However, there’s nothing ordinary about how this translates into on-road performance. And, we will talk about that in detail in our future reports.
The Carens also gets a disc brake setup for all four wheels. And this is offered as standard across all trims. As is the ESP, six airbags, tyre-pressure monitoring system, and downhill brake control too. So, in terms of safety features, it doesn’t really matter what trim you pick; Kia has you covered on that count. There’s no hill assist, though.
We will depart from our regular format of reporting on long term cars with the Carens. Instead of starting with reports on its city compatibility, its usable feature-list, its real world fuel efficiency, and the like, we will begin by telling you how good or bad the Carens is to go road-tripping in.
Our plan is to take a 3000-plus kilometre road trip. Start in Mumbai, head to Goa, then down south to Coimbatore, before coming back up north west to Mumbai. So, come back for that as we reveal the Carens’ highway fuel efficiency, comfortable cruising speeds, comfort levels, and overall capability as a highway car.
Version: 1.4 Turbo Petrol / DCT automatic / Luxury Plus
Kilometres this month: 320km
Fuel Efficiency: 14.4kmpl
Price: Rs 20.15 lakh (when tested)
Photography: Kaustubh Gandhi