The Kia Carens have been a successful MPV in the global market for the Kia brand since 1999. The one we are going to see in India happens to be the 4th generation of the model, with design elements borrowed from crossovers. Kia labels the Carens as a Recreational Vehicle rather than an MPV.
Without any further ado, let’s check out whether the higher-priced and feature-loaded Kia Carens can pose a threat to the all-time favourite of an Indian joint family, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.
Let’s hold on to the long list of features for a while and focus on the numbers.
In terms of road presence and dimensions, the Ertiga stays behind, as the Carens is longer and wider than the Ertiga. It even has a longer wheelbase and a higher ground clearance. The Carens get a wider 205mm and 16’’ wheel setup as compared to the 185mm 15’’ wheel setup of the Ertiga.
This helps the Ertiga to boost its fuel efficiency but compromises on the traction and driving experience behind the wheels.
The Kia Carens borrows the engine lineup from the Seltos and is offered in two petrol and one diesel engine options. In petrol, you get the 1.5L Naturally Aspirated Engine which develops 115 HP & 144 Nm of Torque, this engine is only mated to a 6-Speed Manual Transmission. You also get a 1.4L Turbocharged Petrol Engine, which churns out 140 HP & 242 Nm of Torque. To turn your drive into an exciting affair, this turbo engine is paired to a 7-Speed Dual Clutch Transmission, for the buttery smooth and lightning-fast gearshifts. Kia Carens also happens to be the only car in the class to offer a turbo petrol engine. Lastly, it also comes with three drive modes, normal, sport & eco to deliver the best fuel efficiency and performance, when needed.
The Ertiga & XL6 however, still relies on the 1.5L Naturally aspirated engine, which develops a mere 105 HP & 115 Nm of torque. It continues to be paired with a 5-Speed Manual and a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission.
Maruti Suzuki might have ditched its Fiat-sourced 1.3L DDIS Turbo Diesel Engine because of the BS-6 norms, but the Kia Carens, will put a smile on the faces of diesel enthusiasts, as it is offered with a 1.5L Turbocharged Diesel Engine, producing 115 HP & 250 Nm of Torque. This diesel engine can be paired to a 6-Speed Manual or Automatic Transmission.
Now with the scores settled for the dimensions and the power figures, let’s have a look at what all comfort & convenience features these MPVs have to offer.
The Ertiga only comes in a 7-seater layout and you get reclining third row seats. Whereas, the Nexa XL6 gets captain seats with armrests, in the middle row with the 6 seater layout. These captain seats have a one-touch fold function, for easy ingress of the 3rd-row passengers. The third-row seats can be reclined for extra comfort and be folded with a 50:50 split ratio. The 2nd & 3rd row of seats also get adjustable headrests.
A few other features that the Ertiga & the XL6 gets are engine push start-stop button, air-cooled cup holders, cruise control, auto climate control.
In terms of safety, the Ertiga is equipped with. front dual airbags, ABS-EBD, ESP, Hill Hold Assist and Isofix mounts.
The Kia Carens however, is the safest MPV in the segment as it is equipped with 10 robust safety features across all variants. The Carens gets six airbags, parking sensors, ABS, ESC, Hill-Hold assist and Downhill brake assist.
Do let us know in the comments section, which car do you think is much safer.
The Kia Carens, also sets a new benchmark for MPVs, with segment-first features, like the one-touch electrically folding captain seats, back seat tables and an under-seat tray for storage.
The Carens indeed make its elder sibling -the Carnival, proud by carrying forward an insane list of cabin features. If you happen to be an audiophile, then you’d undoubtedly fall for the Kia Carens, as it comes with an 8-Speaker Bose Surround System. and while you are enjoying Beethoven’s opera, you could control the ambience of your cocooned auditorium with the mood lighting, which comes in 64 colours.
And if you’re always worried about your phone heating up while using the wireless charging pad, you need not worry, as the Carens comes with a cooling function for the charging pad to avoid overheating of mobiles. Kia Carens also gets a 10.1’ infotainment system with Apple Carplay & Android Auto. It gets an air purifier which is neatly installed behind the driver’s seats. It also gets cup holders with air vents. Speaking of air vents, the front seats are also ventilated to cool you down during hot summer days. Lastly, it gets one of the features that kids go crazy for, a sunroof.
Surely, no car could ever be 100% perfect and neither is the Carens, even if it were, it is our job to find out that minute fly in the ointment, so you’re aware of the drawbacks before spending your hard-earned money on a car.
The Carens, with its third-row upright, only offers a boot space of 100 litres, which is not enough considering it’s an MPV. However, with third-row folded you do get access to the 492-litre boot space.
Now we have been a little harsh to the Ertiga with this comparison in terms of features and safety, but to give you a clearer perspective, it is important to discuss the most important aspect of buying a car- it’s pricing.
Surely, the Ertiga might seem dated when compared to the Carens and the brochure might make you nostalgic, of the early 2000s when a power window was a huge show off as a feature. But a thing to keep in mind here is that the Ertiga is priced at Rs 7.96 Lakhs for the base variant and Rs 10.69 Lakhs for the top-end variant. Similarly, the Maruti Suzuki Nexa XL6, which is essentially a premium version of the Ertiga, is priced between Rs 9.98 – 11.86 lakhs (ex-showroom).
Whereas, the Kia Carens is expected to launch at a price range where the pricing of Ertiga & XL6 maxes out. The Korean MPV is expected to launch at Rs 13 Lakhs for the base variant and the top-end variant might be close to Rs 20 Lakhs (ex-showroom).
So, considering the pricing you may call this a silly comparison. But there are not many options to choose from in the MPV segment. So, mitron agar apko paise ki dikkat nahi hai and you are intrigued and excited about the features of Kia Carens, then definitely it is the MPV to go for, but if you are looking for an MPV on a budget with decent modern features, then the Ertiga will not disappoint you.