Promotional Feature, HT Brand Studio
The all-new Kia Carens is the perfect car for the Big Fat Indian Family! Literally, ‘Carens’ is the amalgamation of ‘car’ and ‘renaissance’ and this model totally lives up to its name as Kia brings together great performance and high-tech designing in their latest offering.
To start with some first impressions, this new, iconic car looks amazing with its limitless style, aircraft-like plush seats, and a wraparound high-tech dashboard. So, I decided to put its features to a real test by taking it on a drive from Delhi to Jaipur on National Highway-8 to experience its awesomeness first hand and see what makes the Carens so special. And, let me admit, I was impressed!
From the outside, the Carens is a total stunner. It sports a futuristic design which is inspired by the elements of nature and has been handcrafted to exude luxury at every level. The new Kia car is not just a XL version of the popular Seltos, with a three row seating. If you see both the models together, you can spot many aesthetic differences.
I am totally in love with its no-fuss design with a slim glossy black strip between the lights, which has an appealing geometric design. The headlamps and taillights are LED and feature Kia’s special ‘start shaped pattern’ which adds to the aesthetics. It also sports a shark fin antenna, integrated turn indicator, two tone alloy wheels, large wheel arches. The variant I drove even featured roof rails, which make it look all the more stunning.
To put the space in the car to a real test, I decided to take my family along – so we were two adults, two children, a mid-sized dog, and of course lots of luggage. Fitting everyone into the Carens was no trouble at all. The seats are very comfortable, even for longer drives and each row of seats has ample legroom.
In most cars, sitting in the third row isn’t exactly the most comfortable option and is left for the little ones. But, I tried the third row in the Carens and didn’t feel cramped in there at all. Kia has got the seat spacing just right with this one. This feature makes Carens a compelling choice for large families.
And when you need more space in the boot, folding the back seat is as easy as touching a button, with the One Touch Easy Tumble Seat feature. The Carens gives you all the space you ever need in a car and comes in 6-seater and 7-seater configurations, with a large boot with 216 litres of luggage space, which can be upped to a massive 645 litres if the third row is folded. We could easily fit two large suitcases in the boot.
The inside of the feature-packed Carens is perhaps even more impressive than the exterior with its plush seats with a sophisticated blue and beige colour combination, and a 26.03 cm (10.25") HD Touchscreen Navigation screen that is not only functional, but adds to the aesthetics of the car with its sleek design. I was quick to add my Jaipur destination to the map, and off we started.
Its pre-fitted Bose Premium Sound System set the mood for the holiday with its amazing sound clarity and endless features! Since we left early morning, we got a chance to enjoy the weather by opening the sun roof for the first hour or so, till it started to become warm.
The drive itself was pretty smooth – the acceleration on the 1.5 l Petrol Engine is quick and the gear shifts were pretty smooth thanks to the paddle shifters, that give you complete control over the car even at high speeds. I tried the 3 exhilarating drive modes on the highway, including the super power sports mode which is normally found only in high end cars, and it felt like I was on a rocket.
The Carens brings to you cutting edge features usually seen in high-end cars. What I liked the most was the Smart Air Purifier with virus and bacteria protection that comes fitted in the car – a must have for the polluted times were are living in. For those hot summer months, especially in north India where I am, the fully automated temperature control was very, very effective even during the daytime. We were a carload full and the temperature in the car, as well as from the seats with air ventilation, and roof flushed diffused AC vents for the second and third row, made the drive very, very comfortable.
We stopped for breakfast at Behror and decided to pack burgers for the kids to save on time. The tray tables behind the front seats came in very handy as they could easily hold the food, while they stacked the water bottles in the cup holders, which also have a cooling feature! The tray tables also have a gadget mount, where the kids could fit their iPads and watch along. Just what one could ask for during a road trip with the little ones!
Another very handy feature in the Carens is the wireless smartphone charger in the front, along with multiple charging points for every member to charge their devices – for the first time, we didn’t fight over the charger on a long drive!
Another very important feature for me is safety, especially when we travel as a family and the Carens fares very high on that count. In fact, this is the first mass segment car to offer advanced safety features such as six airbags as standard from the base variant, all wheel disc brakes, ESC, VSM, BAS, HAC, and ABS, front and rear parking sensors, and a high strength steel structure that will keep you protected in the event of a collision. It also comes with a highline Tyre Pressure Monitoring System that ensures that the wheels have enough air pressure when driving on the road.
The verdict: I feel the Kia Carens is a well-rounded package which offers all the features of a high-end car at a price point that is easy on the pocket. It makes for a very smooth drive and offers the space and comfort that one needs from a family car. The Carens fares very high on the safety scale with airbags and other safety features in all the variants. In the seven seater version, it makes for a comfortable ride for large Indian families with is roomy cabin and added features.
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