Although our market has experienced two iterations of the Kia Carens, the compact MPV actually had its roots in 1999. It made its way here starting with the second generation, and one of the assets it brought was a common-rail direct injection diesel engine, previously thought to be the exclusive domain of truck-based SUVs.
Eight years after the third-generation model bid goodbye in 2013, the all-new Carens is staging a comeback with a world premiere in the Indian market. To its credit, it no longer looks like a purely domestic chariot, evolving into a proper lifestyle vehicle for modern families.
Kia is continuing its ‘Opposites United’ design language on the 2022 Carens, defined by a sleeker aesthetic compared to the more rounded appearance of its predecessor. This is already apparent on previous releases such as the Sportage compact crossover and the Carnival minivan. The new Carens is underpinned by the K2 platform, used by its Seltos subcompact crossover stablemate as well as the Accent and Venue subcompact vehicles from Hyundai.
The new Kia Carens now assumes a crossover form factor
Kia’s refreshed corporate identity sits front and center on the sloping hood, which rests above what the company refers to as the ‘digital tiger face.’ The LED headlamps are positioned on either side of the more streamlined fascia, accompanied by LED daytime running lights that Kia calls the ‘star map’ signature lighting concept.
Sharp character lines on the profile are striking for the visual break the provide, disappearing abruptly at the A-pillar and resuming halfway to the C-pillar. The new Carens lays out the body cladding quite generously, especially on the side sills. The rear features triangular LED taillamps surrounding the chiseled tailgate, with an integrated spoiler accentuating the raked rear glass. Wheel arches house multi-spoke alloys. Chrome garnishing all around the vehicle lend a premium look.
Three seating rows are now the default offering on the new Carens, with up to seven occupants settling down on leather upholstery featuring an indigo and light beige color palette. Premium materials that complement the reworked design of the cabin surround everyone on board. The wrap-around dashboard rendered in a high-gloss black material adopts a cleaner look compared to the previous iteration, omitting physical knobs or buttons in favor of haptic surfaces.
This definitely isn't the MPV you know anymore
There’s also ample cargo space that’s easily expandable by folding the third- and second-row seats, the latter by simply pressing a switch. Other storage options abound inside the cabin, such as on the center console and under-seat compartments for the front row.
Ambient lighting with 64 colors comes standard on the dashboard, center console, and door inserts, with colors that are user selectable.
Tech & Safety
A digital instrument panel can be found just beyond the flat bottom multi-function steering wheel. The climate control system regulates ambient cabin temperature for all occupants, complete with rear vents that have separate switches. This works with a smart pure air filter with virus and bacteria protection to shield everyone on board from allergens and pathogens.
Even the instrument panel has evolved into an all-digital display
For onboard entertainment, the new Carens packs a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. This comes patched to a premium 8-speaker Bose audio system. A total of six USB-C charging ports will be on offer, two for every seating row.
Kia touts the 2022 Carens to be the one of the safest vehicle in its class, with six airbags offered as standard. The model will also come with all-wheel disc brakes, vehicle stability management, hill-start assist, hill descent control, and tire pressure monitoring system as part of its Hi-Secure Safety Package across the range.
Engine & Drivetrain
The carmaker has not disclosed the powertrain options for the 2022 Carens, only saying that both gasoline and diesel engines will be offered. These will be partnered with gearbox choices such as a 6-speed automatic and a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
A 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be among the available transmission options
Drivers can select between multi-drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), allowing them to switch between fuel economy and performance, especially on highway drives.
No pricing information has been revealed for the 2022 Kia Carens, although it is expected to be priced at INR 15 lakh (approximately Php 984,000). The model will reportedly go on sale in the Indian market by January 2022.
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Know more about Kia Carens 2022
Joseph Paolo Estabillo