KIA Carens ~ Cars and Bikes
Cars and Bikes

Thursday, 27 December 2007

KIA Carens

Kia's Carens, first launched in the in Indonesia in 2000, looked like a bargain alternative to the popular Suzuki Aerio, Toyota Kijang, Opel Zavira and so on - but that early version had a number of design flaws that meant it wasn't nearly as multi-purpose and practical as it should have been. But Kia has taken note of all the criticisms, gone back to its engineers and cabin designers, and come back with a new version that really does do what it should. Add in much-improved refinement, improved cabin quality, an upgraded specification and rear seats which actually split and fold (a notable omission in the first-generation car) and the Carens really is an attractive proposition - at a very competitive price. The only downside is that it now only comes in five-seat form, the six-seat option having been dropped. At 2002 KIA launched Carens II, the car with a “style” at that time. The exterior looks very attractive.

Engine : 1.8 liter, 1794 cc petrol, four cylinder inline
Output : 124 hp at 6000 rpm
Torque : 162 Nm at 4900 rpm
Fuel consumtion : 1 ltr for 6 km for city driving, up to 1 ltr for 10-12 km for extra urban driving.
Facilities : ABS, disc brake at front and rear wheels, dual airbag, 6 seaters or 7 seaters.

Reliability and quality
Kia is gaining a reputation for making mechanically robust vehicles, and all the Carens' powertrain and underpinnings are based on tried and tested components and formulae. The cabin quality - plastics and materials - is much improved over the outgoing model; it's a pleasant environment visually, if not one that provides much tactile satisfaction. The seats are still obviously nylon, and the plastic fascia hard and grainy (no rubber-effect or silicone-enhanced surfaces here) and this might not wear well in the long-term. Some of the switchgear, and features such as the glovebox, storage compartments and hinged bits, are a bit flimsy.

The seating position has been improved, and whilst it is still not as high as in some rivals, the all-round vision is good. The instruments are all clearer to read. And there's still no intermittent setting for the rear wiper. MPVs like this are not meant to perform like sports cars - unless they're the turbo-charged Zafira GSI - but the Carens handles well enough to give a degree of satisfaction. Its suspension is quite agile, the fatter tyres have improved its grip, and the diesel engine is strong enough to push on hard. It's certainly not a frustrating experience for keen drivers.

With an improved version of the old 1.8-litre unit, the engine just enough to carry the weight. Its not a sport car anyway. The 1.8 engine that easily cruises on the motorway, has plenty of torque (pulling power) for overtaking and effectively nips around town. It is smooth at speed and would also work well for towing.

Comfort and Equipment
Refinement is much improved over the outgoing model, with better sound-proofing, suppression of engine vibrations and a smoother ride, though the Carens is still not quite as smooth and quiet as its European rivals. Not much in it now, though. The seats are supportive for long journeys, and the driver's seat has lumbar adjustment as standard. Air conditioning is standard too (climate control on SE models) and ventilation has been improved with rear ducts now fitted. With the five seats option, the Carens feels roomier than before, and there is generous luggage space and enough legroom for adults to travel happily in the rear. And yes, the rear seats do now split and fold properly, a large oversight in the last model's cabin, and you can now open the boot from the outside without using the key. Front legroom is a little limited though for tall passengers, and as the Carens is not as tall as some rivals and has quite a dark cabin, it doesn't feel particularly airy. The sunroof (not available in Indonesia) restricts headroom a bit, but does let in more light. Storage and stowage solutions are provided: an overhead console with sunglasses holder, centre console with double cupholder and underfloor storage with removable tray, so you can stash your oddments out of the way. A minimal stereo with six speakers and a radio/cassette is offered as standard; SE models gain an in-dash CD player. A six-CD stacker system is a option, and is fitted under the driver's seat: this should give acceptable sound quality

Running Cost
Kia dealers are generally cheap for servicing and maintenance; service intervals are at 10,000 km/12 months. Fuel consumption is average at 34.9 mpg from the petrol (31 mpg in auto form). Used Carens models should be both good value and dependable choices, though it will be a while before any of these improved versions filter onto the secondhand market. If you just want something cheap'n'cheerful, then the old model (without the split/folding seats or exterior boot handle and in petrol form only) will be much more affordable, but look out for ex-demonstrator examples of this new one, which is a much more appealing all-round package and worth paying extra for. Kia is also known for its helpful, friendly dealers, it gives a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty for both private and business users and the whole ownership experience should be hassle-free and happy.

Potential Problem
- Noisy brake pad
- Torn drive shaft rubber boot
- Weak suspension

- Carens 1 MT (2000-2002) = Rp 55M – 65M
- Carens 1 AT (2000-2002) = Rp. 60M – 70M
- Carens II MT (2002-2006) = Rp. 80M – 100M
- Carens II AT (2002-2006) = Rp. 83M – 103M

No comments: