We bring you another cool car, the new Kia Carens which builds on the success of the Kia Seltos and Kia Sonet. It’s sort of the Kia Carnival’s younger brother and in typical Kia style, it brings lots of style, lots of comfort and is loaded with technology. And that’s why we do a technical check of the car and the bike, to figure out what all the cool tech is inside the Carens. So in this review we guys are doing things a little differently while I’m going to take care of all the front row tech my colleague Pratik will tell you all about creature comforts in the back two rows and there’s there is also a lot going on there.
Kia Carens First Row Tech
Back to the front, it all starts with the virtual instrument cluster. The 12.5 inch, very clear, slightly matte finish on the screen – you see the speedometer, the rev counter, loads of detail to tell you how much fuel is left, it will give you speed camera details , temperature, how much mileage the car has driven – basically all the information you need should be presented to you in a clear and simple way and you can also change the colors as this car comes with a bunch of themes.
Also Read: Kia Carens 3-Row MPV Review
And here we have the star of the show – the 10.25-inch infotainment screen and while on the Sonet and Seltos we’ve seen a 10.25-inch screen, this one appears to be different. It’s more integrated into the panel, so you don’t see a lot of bezel, which is nice, and it feels a little snappy, and the UI has changed. The user interface looks much cleaner, simpler and quite attractive because you get these purple icons which are very minimal and kind of remind you of some of those Android icons which you can download from third-party sources.
It sounds like science fiction, to be honest. Generally, it comes with all the features one would expect from a Kia and does most of those things in a more streamlined and elegant way. Of course, it also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You also get a new split-screen look so you can easily jump back to what’s happening in your main infotainment system and what’s happening in all the apps you’re running on your phone.
But the only unfortunate thing we’re a little salty with is the fact that we still have to use a thread here. It’s not a wireless system given that many cars now offer it – you get it on the Volkswagen Taigun and even some of the more affordable Kia cars, so it’s a little disconcerting that they don’t chose to offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But what’s wireless is charging. It comes with a rubberized pad which also provides cooling and even a big phone like iPhone 13 Pro Max with a case can easily fit in and it stays secure even if you are driving on a bumpy road or on a high speed highway. speed , so that will keep it safe and it’s a very good solution.
You get a Type-C port with fast-charging support and an old-school USB Type-A port that’s needed to connect the phone to the infotainment system. You also get, in typical Kia fashion, a Bose sound system, 8 speakers, plenty, but generally you get the typical sterile Bose sound signature, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s in neutral fact. The sound can get a little muddy when you crank up to higher volumes and can get a bit shrill and shrill, but you can even it out using the controls on the infotainment screen and boost the mid levels and that will give you a nice sound especially if you like bollywood or like modern pop, so all in all a very complete package.
Kia is also introducing Kia Connect for the first time in India with the Kia Carens. Kia Connect is a refresh of UVO Connect which has been its connected car stack. This is more of a visual refresh than a complete overhaul. Overall, you get 66 features, which is a pretty big jump from the weird 50 features UVO connect had. Kia ditched the skeuomorphic design language on UVO connect for something more minimal and simple to use. It performs geolocation, remote unlocking, can start the air conditioning remotely and helps with automotive telematics. It also now gets a dedicated Kia connect button for voice commands on the rear-view mirror. It’s a nice upgrade overall.
Kia Carens third row features
Let’s move on to the features you get on the second and third rows. In the third row you get your own individual AC vents for both seats which can be adjusted from the rotary knob you get in the second row. You also get your own individual reading lights, which is great when you want to read on the go. The third feature you get here is cargo slots for both seats, so both passengers have access to their own cargo slots. Now, these are new-era Type-C chargers, so if you’re using a Type-A charger, an adapter might help. Once you’ve logged in, you can just slide your phone into the side storage space that Kia offers for both seats and it’s a pretty comfortable ride after that.
Features of the second row of the Kia Carens
The second row of the Kia Carens offers individual roof-mounted air conditioning vents, like the third row, which can be adjusted from the rotary knob. The other feature you get is a parcel tray for your lunch, or if you want to store your laptop or drink. The other feature you get is the two USB charging slots which have fast charging capability. There’s also a chilled cup holder that can keep your cans of coke or soft drinks cool and can be adjusted from the sliding panel behind.
Now on to the Carens’ party room and here is the new Smart Pure air purifier with virus and bacteria protection. That’s pretty cool, if you consider the increasing pollution and the fear of the pandemic, it’s probably working out pretty well for the buyer. You get different modes, including an auto mode, which will let the purifier run on its own but can also be adjusted as needed, or if you want the cabin to be purified quickly.
You can also adjust the brightness of its screen or turn it off completely. This display also indicates the health of the HEPA filter and the standard filter and signals with a sound when cleaning is necessary. The cleaning process is also quite simple and can be done by simply removing the panel under the purifier. Once removed, cleaned and replaced, the purifier will show an updated AQI reading. This filter does not require regular cleaning and can be used for about two months. Apart from the filter panel, Kia has also provided a compartment for the fragrance cartridge, which keeps a refreshing aroma inside. You get three scents – Lavender, Ocean and Forest, which are available at all Kia dealerships. This panel is also detachable and the scents last for around 2-3 months, according to Kia.
Do the features make your life easier?
We spent a lot of time in the second and third rows of the Kia Carens, and quite honestly, we were surprised by the thoughtful comfort you get here, which could make your life even easier. The third row meets the basic requirement of a passenger with individual charging outlets, separate AC vents and storage space. Moving on to the second row, the purifier does its job quite well and soothes your reservations about the growing pollution and of course the fear of the pandemic. In fact, even in the front row, tech-wise you get a lot here – but there’s one key lack. It’s the absence of Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto. Because it’s already there in cars like the Nissan Magnite which costs less than ₹10 lakh.
A car that will almost certainly cost more than ₹15 lakh, at least in this version, is a big miss as it is a huge convenience issue. If you’re sitting in the back row and it’s a car with driver, you can only activate it via the connector on the front seat, which means you need a long cable and if it’s a self-driving car, it’s not going to be a great experience either way.
Other than that, the Kia Carens ticks all the boxes – the screen is awesome, the virtual instrument cluster is pretty sci-fi, the speakers are pretty decent, the air purifier is really cool, and they have improved it compared to what we had on the Sonette. There’s a lot going on. This car is going to be big enough for long trips.
For the latest car news and reviews, follow TBEN.com on Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel.