Launched back in 1999, the Kia Carens is now transitioning to its fourth-generation featuring a significantly different character as it’s no longer billed as a minivan. Unveiled today in India, the “Recreational Vehicle” adopts rugged styling cues derived from crossovers in a bid to lure in customers who prefer the extra practicality of a minivan that can’t be found in an SUV.
The new Carens is sharing its platform with the Seltos. While the models have the same width of 1,800 mm (71 inches), the Carens is both longer, measuring 4,540 mm (178.7 inches), and taller, at 1,700 mm (67 inches), than the Seltos. The wheelbase has also been stretched at a class-leading 2,780 mm (109.4 inches).
Aesthetically, the 2022 Kia Carens adopt the Korean automaker’s Opposites Unite design language, resulting in a bold design that stands out against its competitors. The roof is almost completely flat to optimize the interior headroom, while the new slick-looking LED headlights and taillights derived from the Sportage modernize the Carens and the traditional Tiger Nose grille has been slimmed down. New exterior colours for the 2022 Kia Carens include Imperial Blue, Moss Brown, and Sparkling Silver.
In typical Kia fashion, the interior of the Carens is feature-packed. The dashboard is quite deep, extending well towards the front windshield, thanks to a slight cab-forward design typically seen in MPVs. A 10.25-inch infotainment screen takes centre stage on the dash in higher variants (lower variants get an 8.0-inch screen), below which the AC vents have been integrated seamlessly along the width of the interior. It also gets a new touch-based panel with toggle switches for operating the climate controls. The Carens get roof-mounted AC vents to improve cooling at the rear, however, this rules out the possibility of a large panoramic sunroof. As far as seating options are concerned, the Carens will be available in both 6- and 7-seat configurations, with the former getting captain’s seats for the second row.
Under the hood is a 1.5-litre gasoline unit with 115 hp and 106 lb-ft. Step up to the turbocharged 1.4-litre unit and you get 140 hp and 242 179 lb-ft. There’s also a 1.5-litre diesel rated at 115 hp and 184 lb-ft. The base gas engine gets a 6-speed manual, but a 7-speed, dual-clutch auto is optionally available for the turbo mill. As for the diesel, it sends power to the wheels via a 6-speed torque-converter auto.