Kia Carens Long Term 1

The Carens has found a lot of homes since it was launched, in fact it has upped the MPV game by quite a margin and how. While the segment is still headed by the erstwhile Ertiga and XL6, Maruti’s lack of engine and transmission options has made it easier for Kia. We, at MotorBeam have driven the Carens in the past and this time we sampled it for a month. We had the 1.5-Diesel AT at our disposal and we ensured the oil-burner was put to good use. Did a long trip (Mumbai to Goa), a few short ones (Mumbai to Kashid) and lots of local running. Here is what we thought of the Carens as a daily drive! 

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Personally I am not a big fan of the design. The front does look good but I don’t like the rear boxy look. Having said that, I do love the practicality it offers and that is enough to rock the boat for me. The six seater we had was seldom used as a six seater. On most occasions I used to keep the third row seats folded for luggage. The captain seats in the middle row add to the comfort on long drives and this was thoroughly tested in the drive to Goa. The kids were quite happy with the captain seats and didn’t complain even once. With the last row seats folded, there is more than enough room for luggage. However, if I had to buy one, I would pick the 7-seater over this one, primarily for accommodating one more passenger in the car as I would rarely be opening up the last row seats. 

Kia Carens Long Term 5

The trip to Goa was not only comfortable but very easy on the wallet too. The 6-speed torque converter made things very easy and the convenience of 2 pedal driving is truly unmatched in any part of the country these days. The 1.5-litre oil-burner is extremely fuel efficient too. After fuelling up to the brim, I not only reached Goa without any fuel stops, I managed to roam there for a full 5 days before visiting the fuel pump again. This includes multiple North-South-North Goa runs. Performance from this BS6.2 engine is quite linear and the addition of AdBlue makes it a tad sluggish compared to the BS6 engine (I drive one daily so the difference was very obvious). Inspite of that, the Carens has more than enough grunt on hand and I experienced it first-hand with 4 passengers and a boot full of suitcases. 

Kia Carens Long Term 2

One of the many USPs of the Carens is that there is one for everyone. You can choose between petrol and diesel. The diesel was the one we had and as I said earlier, it offers terrific range and low cost of running. No matter which segment car, the buyer is always conscious of the cost of running. CAFE norms aside, this was the primary reason why Maruti invested heavily into CNG after discontinuing diesel. Even though CNG may offer running cost comparable to diesel, the frequent visits to the pump and the long queues at CNG pumps is a bummer for many. 

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Coming back to the Carens, you also get a variety of transmission options to choose from. DCT, MT, IMT & TC are option you can choose from. If 2 pedal driving is what you crave for without spending too much, the IMT makes perfect sense. Even when you want to drive like an enthusiast, it is almost feels like a MT without the hassle of a clutch. The 6-speed torque convertor on our car worked well delivering quite good fuel efficiency numbers, even though traditionally torque convertors are known for guzzling fuel. Going back to the fact that comfort and convenience trumps everything else in the long run, this in my opinion is the best combination of engine and transmission as far as the Carens is concerned because a diesel is a diesel.

Kia Carens Long Term 4

Our month long stint with the Carens was a memorable one. It served well as a daily drive and even long runs on the highway we found it to be quite comfortable. Although we rarely used it, the one button seat fold feature for the rear captain seat is really convenient. It returned a fuel economy of 14 km/l in city driving conditions and 21.2 km/l on our Goa trip due to predominant highway running, both these numbers are great considering you get about 800 km on a full tank of diesel. The service costs are also quite reasonable, we will deep dive into those when we keep the car for a longer stint and visit the service centre. However, if you are currently looking for a MPV, the Carens is a very strong and practical choice worth considering.

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