With every new Kia model we have seen in India since the brand launch in 2019, a new adoption of an existing segment has been given. Kia Carens seems to be taking this idea to a higher level, where it is positioned to offer the features of both an MPV and an SUV that have suddenly become quite a crowded place to play.
Currens is basically a three-row derivative of Celtos, which means competing with three-row SUVs and meeting as an option for MPV buyers who still have no choice in this price range. A smart strategy, but how does it work in the real world?
2022 Kia Carens Styling and Dimensions
The Kia Carens is the first of its kind in India to be designed based on its new, more organic design philosophy that first debuted worldwide via the EV6. Carens will polarize a distinctive-looking car and opinion. Those who want to make a statement will not find too much food from the mere presence of Cairns, which is somewhat surprising considering that Cairns is 40 mm long, 10 mm wide and even 33 mm longer than Alcazar. It is primarily optimized for interior space with MPV shapes, high ceilings, large glasshouses and usually flat panels.
Instead, Kia grabs your attention with her details. The faিয়াade is made with more distinctive materials and finishes, including its gloss black housing for angular DRL and LED headlamps or the Stamford band, with its hollow-out top-section than the Celtos or Sonnets. The lower half is attractive with a gapping grille and layered LED foglamps. Things are much calmer in profile, where the focus has been on practicality. So the glasshouse is fairly simple with a limited offensive crease at each end of the curb. Even body cladding is minimal, though 16-inch wheels could do better to fill wheel arches.
On the back, there’s a typical Kia-like pair of distinctive LED taillamps, and with the large, flat boot lid leaving only the bumper, the Kia made it with some over-the-top Chamford chrome detailing and bold styling. This mix of aggression and, practically, to attract both the more outgoing SUV buyer and the more thoughtful MPV, but we think Kia India could deal with it with greater solidarity, perhaps the modeling of Carens around the new generation carnival is available internationally.
2022 Kia Carens Interior, features, practicality
Interestingly, the Kia Carens sit on a 20mm longer wheelbase than the Hyundai Alcazar. This, combined with the long rear overhang, brings a greater sense of space inside the new MPV, though not as wide as the Celts. Much of it depends on the clever design choices made here. Kia has now dropped the usual layered dash look for a diagonal dash design, created with a smart mix of materials and colors. We especially liked the motifs engraved on Dash’s glossy black panels and the dark blue upholstery of the seats. The 64-color ambient light will help to enhance this feeling. Another unique touch is the seamlessly integrated air vents and the practical bogies that come with it, such as the bottle cooler next to the passenger, the perfume holder, and the coin tray next to the driver.
The quality and fit feel of the high quality that we have come to expect from Kia with a reassuring damp action on all controls and switchgear. Soft surfaces, however, are confined between the door and the center armrest. The 10.25-inch infotainment is similar to other Hyundai-Kia offers but has been updated with a new set of graphics. But the absence of a full-digital instrument cluster is a miss. LCD displays work around a color MID but we prefer a clear set of dials that complement the numerical readout.
The open center console design is another thoughtful touch, it not only brings a lot of controls that you will regularly use in close proximity but also maximizes practicality with its well-placed wireless charger, neat cooling vent for center cup-holders and layered storage space at the bottom. Armrest
Larger doors and seat heights like SUVs make it easier to get into the Kia Cranes. You sit quite high in the front two rows, which are complemented by large glass areas and low window lines, creating a bright place to spend time. And the front seats are comfortable enough. The lack of driven control is a miss but the seats are ventilated, the cushions are reasonably flexible and there is ample under-Thai support for small to average adults. But the dash design has placed the steering wheel in an upward angle, which means finding your best driving position is not as easy as in other Qiyas and Hyundai.
A good portion of the owners of Kia Currens will spend most of their time in the back seat, so, surprisingly, whether you choose a six- or seven-seater layout, this is the best seat in the house. The two captains have a slight edge of the six-seater with chairs, these seats come with their lower-thighs more generous and separate armrests. This configuration works well with the narrow width of this K2 platform compared to competitors like Tata Safari and MG Hector Plus. A seven-seater would be a good choice for older adults but some lose lower-thigh support. Despite having a flat floor, it will also fit snugly for a third passenger. Quite cleverly, Kia has reduced these seats to make room for third-row seats, which means the armrest is now built into the bench version through-loading space.
But with both configurations, the seats have a great legroom with a completely pushed back and a generous angle of reclining. At the expense of a panoramic sunroof there is a strong focus on practicality with separate blower controls and roof vents, which can be converted into direct or diffused airflow. Like the front, storage spaces abound with large door bins and floating door handles that are twice as large as other shelves. There are no wireless chargers, but USB-C ports are a more practical choice. We just want Kia to better integrate the air purifier into the cabin, with its current placement the rear passengers get lost in a fold-out tray.
Kia India has done a fairly believable job in the third tier due to the small size of this architecture. The entry is particularly hassle-free with one-touch tumble seats that offer a wide range of steps in this space. There’s plenty of room for two, and as expected, you’ll be on your knees. But with good support from the second row sliding function and reclining backrest, short rides shouldn’t be a problem. It also helps to have a separate blower, charging port and a large quarter-glass that can continue with the feeling of space from the front row.
The long length of the carens means that the boot space is fairly usable with three rows up (216l), the floor tray below makes it even more. It improves significantly (645l) with a flat-fold third-row. The second row then folds flat in both seating configurations, the currents becoming extremely capable when you have to move large objects (1164l). Opening the square boot increases the usefulness of this space.
2022 Kia Carens Turbo-Petrol DCT Driving Impressions
Carens offers a wide selection of powertrain options. A naturally ambitious petrol, a diesel and this 1.4-turbo-petrol, have all been shared with Celtos. The turbo is given across the wide trim, as it should be given that it is best suited for the purposes of Kia Cairns in our book.
The 1.4-liter turbo petrol produces the same 140PS and 242 Nm as the Celts, but has an immediate positive effect on how quietly the motor operates in the Cairns. When inactive there is no sound or unexpected vibration and only a slight drone that you hear in regular use. This engine was always impressive in the way it supplied power over a wide and linear band and it stayed with the currents. Thus, MPV responds well to inputs in all situations thanks to the precise throttle response. The large slag of torque that is easily found means that the turbo-petrol currents are also quite adept at closing traffic gaps or building speeds on highways.
Seven-Speed DCT is again quite intuitive and decisive with its changes, turning the motor at speeds that allow for a lot of performance on the tap. Although it can sometimes be a bit hesitant with downshifts at crawling speeds or under heavy throttle inputs. There are three drive modes to choose from, shift maps and changing steering feel, which make a significant difference depending on your preferences. Comfort feels the most natural for the currents but the more conservative eco mode brings with it a great efficiency advantage. In fact, in this mode the turbo currents almost match the diesel in city efficiency. Similarly, Sport Mode seems to be the most suitable for covering a fast open field with its more interesting responses.
But we think Karens will be absolutely a favorite with buyers with its ride and handling package, a traditionally strong suit for Kia in India. Currens is a significant improvement over other models of this platform in that it protects broken patches and cracks from being filtered into the cabin. The 16-inch wheels, along with their 65-profile tires, enhance the elegance. Only the largest holes and sharp bumps filter the cabin but the experience is never harsh.
In addition to handling in the same way, Carens changes direction correctly and controls the movement of the body well in regular operation for quite tall and tall vehicles. Well-weighted steering helps but there is also no significant amount of pitch or dive. MPV also feels confident in speed and stays steady even in the face of instability. Braking is another powerful suite with disc brakes around which offer great stopping power through a well-judged paddle. Learn how to drive a diesel Kia car here.
2022 Kia Carens Security
Kia Carens does not offer ADAS and has been NCAP-tested, now expected in this price range, but significantly the first mainstream car in India offers six airbags as standard. 360-degree cameras, including blind view monitors from Celtos, would be useful here, but Carens offers mountain descent control, tire-pressure monitoring and stability control, among other such aids.
2022 Kia Carens judgment, expected price
Kia Carens seems to be another successful addition to the brand’s lineup. While we’d love to see less polarizing design and a bit more top-line features from the Celts, Carens still comes as a reliable package. The cabin and driving experience brings with you all the practicality and comfort you would expect from an MPV, but the exterior of an SUV is enough. For those who want to upgrade from their smaller MPV or SUV, this will make Carens a great choice. We are also expecting a great price because of the features left in Carens and the thoughtful selection of packaging.