Long ago, one of Kia’s top-selling vehicles in the country was an MPV called the Carens. The reason for the Kia Carens success was that it was launched at a time when the Avanza was too utilitarian, and the Xpander and BR-V were non-existent.
To be fair, the Carens had a lot going for it, it was a more “stylish” and premium alternative to other basic barebones 7-seaters. Not to mention it also came with a diesel engine.
Unfortunately, the competition caught up, and the Kia Carens for some reason couldn’t keep up with them. Eventually, it was killed off some time ago.
Revived Kia Carens
Apparently, Kia isn’t finished with the Carens nameplate, the all-new Kia Carens just made its ASEAN debut during this year’s Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS).
The new Kia Carens is a revamped 3-row crossover that is slated to do battle against the Suzuki XL7, Toyota Veloz, Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, and Honda BR-V.
Design-wise it adapts Kia’s “Opposites Untied” design motif/language, and from the front, it heavily resembles the Kia Sportage.
It gets a distinct pair of LED daytime running lights, bold LED headlights, and a stylish front grille and bumper. Sharp LED taillights surround the Carens’ rear, along with a unique tailgate. It also comes with chrome accents and reflectors that further spruce up the 7-seater’s exterior design. Last but not least, all variants of the 2023 Kia Carens come with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Since the Carens is a Korean car, its interior is of course quite classy and upscale. It features an 8-inch touchscreen display unit with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which is surprisingly hooked up to an 8-speaker Bose sound system.
Other available features found in the Carens include a 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster, a wireless charging pad for smartphones, a power sunroof, full-leather seats, automatic climate control, ventilated front seats, push-button start, rear USB charging ports, retractable seatback trays, three driving modes (Eco, Normal, and Sport), and cruise control.
Just like the Toyota Innova, the top-end version comes with a captain seat configuration for the second row. The other variants though have the standard bench-type seat instead of the captain seats.
The Kia Carens comes with two engine choices, First is the naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter Smartstream Gamma II engine. It makes a humble 115 PS along with 144 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to an intelligent variable transmission (IVT). Next is the more powerful 1.4-liter turbocharged Kappa engine. It generates an impressive 140 PS and 242 Nm of torque. Instead of an IVT, the engine is coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The Carens comes with the following safety features; anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), front and rear parking sensors, and 6 airbags.
Right now, Kia hasn’t said anything about bringing in the new Carens, but with it already in Indonesia, it wouldn’t be farfetched for them to bring it here as well. After all, with Hyundai’s newfound eagerness for the Philippines, Kia will surely have to step up.