KIA Carens, a blend of the future and utility
Kia has thrown away all manner of conservatism when it comes to the Carens design as they are willing to experiment and bring something different to the automotive market. As such, the layout of the lights and the overall front fascia don’t resemble anything that is currently on the market. Thin LED strips, below the bonnet, are used as daytime run lights as well as three LED lights on the base, which act as the fog lights. The headlights are discreetly placed in the body of the front fascia to blend in with the overall design of the vehicle.
On the side of the vehicle, sleek character lines are used whenever possible to ensure the Carens doesn’t look big and boring. As a compact multipurpose ehicle (MPV), the second-row doors are often very big and can give the vehicle a disproportionate look.
I drove the third -,generation Carens about four years ago and it looked much different than the current model. Its overall dimensions were similar to that of a station wagon car, like a Toyota Probox, and the design was in keeping with previous generations, which looked like a minivan. However, the brand has shifted its silhouette to match that of a SUV as it now boasts a protruding nose for the engine bay.
One thing with the South Korean manufacturers, they are not stingy with their standard features like cooling seats, which are perforated for maximum efficiency. I have tested a few compact MPVs, and this is the only one that has this feature, which is always well appreciated, especially in Jamaica. There are also multiple storage bins all around, from the door to the centre console, and a retractable cup holder in front of the front passenger’s cooling vent. This reminds me of something I saw in the Toyota Hilux. The creature comfort continues with roof-mounted AC vents for second- and third-row passengers.
The overall interior is a mixture of cream leather on the lower half of the vehicle and piano black for the upper half, which provides an aesthetically appealing contrast. Adding to this beautiful layout is a mood light strip, which runs horizontally to separate the design.
Something that is quite unique to it is that both second- and third-row seats can be reclined for optimum comfort. Now this might seem the norm for second- row seats, but it is a rare feature for third-row seats, and it is a big plus as it guarantees comfort.
The Carens is packing a 1.5-litre engine, which showcases its performance on a digital gauge cluster. The transmission changes smoothly whether moving between gears or reverseing. There were countless times that I was on a single-lane road and had to make a ‘U’ turn quickly, and I was able to move swiftly, which was aided by a tight turning radius.
If it isn’t loaded, it can feel a bit light when going over potholes, however, it won’t have a disruptive effect on the driving experience. With such a conservative displacement, it is not going to be a sports car, however, when you move it into sports mode, it holds its own on any highway.
The car has three driving modes - Eco, Smart and Sport - and has the tendency to stay at a lower RPM, which makes it very fuel efficient.
While this crossover is a liberally designed vehicle, it builds its bread and butter on . As such, it is one of the few vehicles, in its class, that can carry seven persons comfortably. It is interesting to see how this market will unfold as the Kia Carens has been transformed into a formidable people mover and will be a major challenge to all opponents.
Price of tested model: $5,295,000.
Engine: 1.5 litre
Fuel tank: 45 litres
Gas consumption: 6.9 l/ km
Body Type: Compact MPV
Competition: Suzuki XL 7, Honda BR-V, Mitsubishi XPANDER cross
Vehicle courtesy of ATL Tiger Motors, firstname.lastname@example.org, 888-ATL-AUTO (285-2886)