What is it?
Kia India has introduced its fourth model for the Indian market. It’s called the Carens and Kia says that it's neither an MPV nor an SUV but rather a balanced blend of both body styles. While we were equally puzzled as you, we got to see the three-row model in person and here’s what we explored.
How is it on the outside?
Now, the Kia Carens is based on Kia’s highest-selling model, the Kia Seltos SUV. However, the Carens has managed to pull off a distinct exterior design and styling. The front fascia debuts Kia’s new ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy which lets go of the traditional tiger-nose grille and brings in a split headlamp setup for the very first time.
The front gets a piano black finish with a textured effect and is flanked by LED DRLs on either side. Further, placed down on the bumper and divided by a thin chrome stripe are the complete LED headlamps. The busy but intriguing design continues to a chrome border that also houses the three-pod LED fog lamps.
The Carens rides on 16-inch dual five-spoke alloy wheels that we felt were smaller given the size of this ‘Recreational Vehicle’. Other elements that lend this three-row model a tinge of SUV-ishness are a flat roofline, a kinking window line near the D-pillar, and the plastic cladding around the wheel arches. Kia also claims the longest wheelbase in the segment with the Carens. However, the exact measurements have not been revealed and will be known close to launch.
Moving to the rear, the stylish split LED headlamps instantly catch attention that is further enhanced by a connecting light stripe. Besides this, there’s a roof-mounted spoiler, a glossy black skid plate, and black cladding on the bumper that is finished by some more chrome embellishment in a moustache-liked pattern.
How is it on the inside?
The cabin of the Carens follows a two-tone black and beige theme. The dashboard gets a silver V-shape insert in the centre while similar treatment can be seen on the door pads as well. All four aircon vents have been smartly snugged inside the chrome line that runs along the width of the dashboard.
In the displayed model, the second row was equipped with captain seats that get a one-touch tumble down function for an easy ingress/egress to the third row that again have a 50:50 split-fold option. The air-con vents for the middle and rear row have been placed on the roof. While this enhances the convenience quotient, the Carens misses out on a panoramic sunroof and has to make do with a single pane electric sunroof.
What’s on the feature list?
Like every Kia that has been launched in the past two years, the Carens will entice prospective buyers with abundant features. It comes loaded with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a fully digital driver’s display, ventilated front seats, 64-colour ambient lighting, a flat-bottom steering wheel, an eight-speaker Bose stereo system, an air purifier, five USB Type-C ports, and a wireless charger.
The middle row occupants are pampered with a folding armrest and a retractable table mounted on the seatback of the front seats. On the safety front, the Carens gets all four disc brakes and six airbags as standard across all the trims. Other highlights include a tyre pressure monitoring system, ABS, ESC, and hill-start and descent assist.
What’s under the hood?
Kia India has not disclosed the complete engine options that will propel the new Carens. However, the carmaker has affirmed that it will be available in both petrol and diesel engines with multiple transmission options. There will also be three drive modes on offer – Sport, Eco, and Normal.
When will it launch and what will it cost?
We expect Kia Carens to be launched in the first quarter of 2022. The prices are expected to range between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 18 lakh, both prices, ex-showroom. Based on the estimated price, the Carens will go up against the Tata Safari, Mahindra XUV700, MG Hector Plus, and its cousin, the Hyundai Alcazar.
Photography: Kapil Angane