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In the ever-changing world of Indian MPVs, the Kia Carens has taken the spotlight as the latest winner of the Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) award. This accolade is a nod to Kia’s growing influence in the MPV arena. One reason for this shift is Toyota Innova’s transition to premium pricing, leaving it less accessible for the average MPV buyer. As a result, there’s a noticeable surge in demand for something more spacious and upscale than what the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga or its deluxe version, the XL6, offers. Kia cleverly spotted this shift and blended an array of features, captivating design aesthetics, and unwavering dedication to top-notch build quality, resulting in an MPV that harmoniously combines sophistication with practicality.

But Kia’s quest for excellence doesn’t end there. In line with their commitment to delivering exceptional offerings, Kia has introduced a fresh lineup of engine options for the Carens. These additions will further enhance the vehicle’s overall performance and fuel efficiency. Our main focus is to uncover how the Kia Carens has adapted to the everchanging dynamics of the Indian MPV market. We also aim to determine whether this new powertrain adds an extra layer of appeal to an already impressive package.

The seven-speed DCT has been retained

Now, let’s dive into the new engine. In a bold move, the 2023 Kia Carens MPV bids farewell to its trusty 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine in favour of a brand-new 1.5-litre turbo petrol powerhouse. It’s not just a facelift; it’s a technological tango, keeping pace with upcoming emission regulations. This revamped powertrain flexes its muscles with a robust 157.8 bhp and a sturdy 25.69 kgm of torque. That’s an extra 20 horses and 1.12 kgm of twist compared to its predecessor, injecting a newfound spring into the Carens’ step. For the transmission enthusiasts, the seven-speed DCT remains part of the package, but the old six speed manual bids adieu, making way for the sleek six-speed iMT unit, offering a more modern and dynamic driving experience. So, when all is said and done, the Carens offers commendable performance and drivability for an MPV, with a claimed 16.8 kpl.

The Carens focuses mainly on comfort

From the moment you hit the road in the Kia Carens, it’s evident that comfort is at the core of its design. This sense of cosiness is reinforced by a few key elements, such as the lengthy wheelbase and the smaller 16-inch wheels with high-profile tires. Both factors contribute significantly to this car’s consistently smooth ride. Smaller bumps are effortlessly ironed out, and it handle larger potholes with grace. While you might still feel a few minor bumps, they won’t send you bouncing in your seat.

The Kia Carens effortlessly blends an SUV vibe in its MPV shape

The Kia Carens effortlessly blends an SUV vibe with its MPV shape. You don’t need a fashion consultant; this car’s exterior is all about style and functionality. The Kia Tiger Nose grille dominates the front, accompanied by sleek LED headlights and fog lights. The muscular hood and sporty bumper complete the power-packed look. It’s like a superhero in a tailored suit — stylish yet ready for action. From the side, the Carens boasts sharp lines, a lengthy wheelbase, and a touch of aerodynamic finesse. The 16-inch alloy wheels add an extra dash of sportiness. It’s like a catwalk model — tall, sleek, and effortlessly turning heads. The rear end keeps up the stylish game with LED taillights connected by a sleek chrome strip. The sporty bumper and roof-integrated spoiler add a final touch of flair.

The new Kia Carens offers an interior as roomy as a yoga class, with large windows creating an airy cabin. With three rows of seats, there’s ample space for the whole family. Need extra cargo room? No problem — just fold down the second and third rows, and you’ll have space rivalling a magician’s hat. Inside, you’ll find convenient storage nooks for all your stuff. There’s a 10.25-inch touchscreen to satisfy your tech cravings, a digital instrument cluster, and even a panoramic sunroof to bring a touch of the outdoors in. They’ve also thrown in a wireless charging pad, so your gadgets never run out of juice. It comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect your smartphone.

One feature worth noting is the calming ambient noise tracks if you’re tired of your smartphone tunes. Now, let’s not forget the extra perks, such as ventilated front seats for the front — because comfort is the name of the game. To keep your groove going, there’s a six-speaker Bose sound system for your listening pleasure. In terms of safety, Kia has you covered with six airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, electronic stability control, hill start assist, and even a tyre pressure monitoring system.

The bumper and spoiler look sporty and add a touch of flair

The Kia Carens, powered by a 157 bhp engine, is the MVP (Most Versatile Player) of MPVs, as evidenced by its ICOTY award. It’s comfortable, handles well, and won’t break the bank. Competitors like the Hyundai Alcazar, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, and Toyota Innova Crysta might consider forming a support group. All in all, the Carens is an excellent people mover that has steadily gained popularity and proven to be a strong contender against the established MPV stalwarts. With the new powertrain, it gets the power boost it needs compared to the previous version.