With the kind of features, performance, space, drivetrain options, and the overall feel-good factor that the Kia Carens offers at its price, it’s hardly a surprise to see it in the top five of our ‘Best of 2022’ awards. In short, the Carens has got all the bases covered for its segment. It’s spacious, refined, rides and handles like a car, and most importantly it feels premium in all areas.
Now, at first, the Carens feels a little out of place on the track. It’s long, decked with features, and, most importantly, it’s meant to carry six or seven people, well, depending on the variant you pick. But given my experience of the Carens in the hills of Uttarakhand a few months ago, I had a feeling that it would be a surprise – not in the sense that it would set the track on fire but that it would be able to hold its own. And that’s exactly what it did. Dhruv, our editor, was surprised that the Carens didn’t make its length apparent when he was hustling it around the corners and setting a lap time. Even the diesel-auto combo was phenomenal. The engine has got great grunt and the gearbox compliments it so well. The shifts are smooth, resulting in a seamless turn of speed. In fact, the Carens’ diesel engine had no issues revving to the redline or the gearbox shifting up quickly, and, more surprisingly, even aggressive downshifts were conducted in a smooth manner. The Carens, then, sailed through our track test, exhibiting reasonable finesse. We do think, though, that it could have posted a faster lap time had Kia sent the turbo-petrol version for our track test.
'It’s spacious, refined, rides & handles like a car, & most importantly, it feels premium'
Now, one of the biggest highlights of the Carens is the fact that it offers a bunch of engines and transmissions to pick from – even its feature list is long and on-point. And the Kia Carens leaves no stone unturned in terms of being a seven-seater – the comfort in its third row is unmatched by any other seven-seater in its segment. The Carens has, in fact, been a member of the autoX garage for more than a few months, and anyone who drives it always speaks very highly of it, as if they were pleasantly surprised by it. The Carens, then, is a car that under-sells itself and then surprises you by outperforming. It’s an unassuming performer – the quiet one in your classroom. The one who keeps their head down and minds their business without trying to be something that they are not. But, ultimately, when it’s time for results, it turns out to be the class topper! And, as a people mover, the Carens is just – the top-offering in its segment, without a shadow of a doubt.
- Kia Carens (Lap Time – 01:17.0)
|COMFORT / SPACE||5||4.5|
|RIDE & HANDLING||5||3.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||30||24|