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The Kia Carens is the latest model from the Korean manufacturer and their fourth car in India after the Seltos, Sonet and Carnival. The Carens is a seven-seater MPV that starts at a price of Rs 8.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

The Kia Carens is offered in 19 variants with varying specs and features across five trims: Premium, Prestige, Prestige Plus, Luxury and Luxury Plus. With the exception of the Luxury Plus, all other trims are offered with seven seats as standard. The Luxury Plus trim comes with a six-seat option as well. The Carens’ petrol variants’ pricing ranges from Rs 8.99 lakh to 16.99 lakh while the diesel variants start at a base price of Rs 10.99 lakh with the top variant being at Rs 16.99 lakh, all ex-showroom. The car is offered with a choice of eight colors.

With distinctive styling compared to its competition, the Kia Carens has been given SUV-like design cues such as roof rails, black side cladding and a bonnet which is upright and doesn’t slope down. The headlamps look sleek and the grille is placed low down in the bumper, with a lot of chrome that goes all around the car.

On the inside, the Kia Carens gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster, electric sunroof, ambient lighting, cabin air purifier, ventilated seats, one-touch-tumble feature for the second row and a suite of connectivity features, Kia Connect. The cabin is replete with premium styling which is complemented by a dual-tone interior theme and silver-finished embellishments.

The Kia Carens has a choice of 1.5-litre petrol, a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engines, which apart from the first, have a choice of both manual and automatic transmissions. There are four automatic variants on offer and they start at Rs 14.59 lakh while the remaining fifteen manual variants are on offer from Rs 8.99 lakh and go all the way up to Rs 16.19 lakh. The powertrains available are a 115 hp/144 Nm 1.5-litre petrol, a 140 hp/242 Nm 1.4-litre turbo-petrol and a 115 hp/250 Nm 1.5-litre turbo- diesel. The manual transmissions have six-speed as standard while the automatic transmission options include a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic (DCT) for the turbo-petrol engine and a six-speed for the diesel.

In terms of power and price, the Kia Carens Premium 1.5-litre petrol that puts out 115 hp at 6,000 rpm and 144 Nm at 4,500 rpm is priced at Rs 8.99 lakh and competes directly with the Maruti Suzuki XL6 1.5-litre petrol that has an output of 105 hp at 6,000 rpm and 138 Nm at 4,400 rpm which is priced at Rs 10.01 lakh.

The Carens 1.4-litre turbo-petrol variant churns out 140 hp at 6,000 rpm and 242 Nm of torque between 1,500-3,200 rpm and comes with a price tag of Rs 14.99 lakh, rivaling the likes of the MG Hector Plus’s 1.5-litre turbo-petrol that makes 143 hp at 5,000 rpm and 250 Nm at 1,600 rpm, which is priced at Rs 14.45 lakh.

The 1.5-litre diesel Luxury Plus automatic variant of the Carens, priced at Rs 16.99 lakh shares the same power output of 115 hp at 4,000 rpm and 250 Nm at 1,500 rpm as its rival, the Hyundai Alcazar (1.5-litre diesel variant) that is priced at Rs 16.75 lakh.

Dimension-wise, the Kia Carens has a segment-leading wheelbase of 2,780 mm which is longer than even the Toyota Innova Crysta by 30 mm, and a width of 1,800 mm. The Kia Carens is 4,540 mm long and 1,700 mm tall. That makes it longer and taller than the Seltos by 225 mm and 80 mm respectively.

Here are the dimensions of the other rivals of the Carens:

Maruti Suzuki XL6 – 4,445 mm L x 1,775 mm W x 1,700 mm H

Maruti Suzuki Ertiga – 4,395 mm L x 1,735 mm W x 1,690 mm H

Hyundai Alcazar – 4,500 mm L x 1,790 mm W x 1,675 mm H

MG Hector Plus – 4,720 mm L x 1,835 mm W x 1,760 mm H

The top automatic variants of the Kia Carens 1.4 turbo-petrol and diesel are priced at Rs 16.99 lakh and has six airbags for safety whereas the MG Hector Plus’ 2.0-litre diesel, priced at Rs 17 lakh, and the Hyundai Alcazar’s 1.5-litre diesel, priced at Rs 16.75 lakh, only have two airbags.

Kia have managed to undercut their competition by pricing the Carens aggressively and so it comes across as the most value-for-money package compared to the other three-row models it rivals, at least on paper.

Story: Alshin Thomas

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