Late last year, Kia officially resurrected the Carens for the Indian market. But instead of making another MPV, the all-new Carens has transformed into a three-row crossover with the practicality of its MPV predecessors.
Fast forward to August 2022, and the Kia Carens has officially made its way to southeast Asia. Making its regional debut at this year's Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS) is the ASEAN-spec Kia Carens. Serving as the brand's newest three-row crossover, it's set to take on the likes of the Honda BR-V, Toyota Veloz, Mitsubishi Xpander Cross, and the Suzuki XL7.
Starting with its design, it shares the same exterior as its Indian counterpart. That means it comes with the similar “Opposites United” design language which gives it a Sportage-like face. 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 wrapped in 205/65 tires.
In terms of size, the Carens measures 4540mm long, 1800mm wide, and 1708mm tall (with the roof rails). Wheelbase, on the other hand, comes in at 2780mm long. This makes the all-new Carens 15mm longer, 5mm narrower, and 98mm taller than its predecessor. The longer body length also allowed Kia to stretch its wheelbase by 30mm for extra cabin space.
Step inside and the Carens greets occupants with a sophisticated cabin. Dominating the center of the dashboard is an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen that has Bluetooth and wireless Apple CarPlay as standard. It also has Android Auto but it still has to be used with a data cable. Complementing it is an 8-speaker Bose sound system which is available across the range.
Other available features inside the Carens include a 4.2-inch TFT digital instrument cluster, a Qi 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.
The high-end version comes with captain seats on the second row, making it into a 2+2+2 crossover. On the regular models, the Carens has the regular 2+3+2 seat layout. For those who need to get out (or get in) the third row, a one-touch easy electric tumble seat allows for easier ingress or egress.
Like the Indian-market version, the Carens for Indonesia also comes with two engine choices. First is the naturally-aspirated 1.5-liter Smartstream Gamma II engine. It makes a humble 115 PS at 6300 rpm along with 144 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm. Power is then sent to an intelligent variable transmission (IVT) which is the brand's take on a CVT.
Next is the more powerful 1.4-liter turbocharged Kappa engine. Despite being slightly smaller, the inline-four makes an impressive 140 PS at 6000 rpm and 242 Nm of torque at 1500 to 3200 rpm. Instead of an IVT, the 1.4-liter turbo is coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
When it comes to safety, the Carens comes with the following; anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, brake assist, a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), front and rear parking sensors, and 6 airbags.
With the all-new Carens already in Indonesia, could it make its way to the Philippines? Kia hasn't announced anything new yet for our market. But if they want to get a slice of the compact 7-seater market, their best chance lies in the 2023 Kia Carens.
For now, we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for any more info.