Kia Carens 2.0L Testdrive

By: Hamidah Ismail,

Kia Carens is now the centre of attention as it can be seen everywhere on Brunei's road, after just about a year of its release in the middle of last year by the Grand Motors Sendirian Berhad, at the Times Square shopping complex in Berakas. The Kia Carens, which is now at it's 3rd generation, spots an interesting physique built fully on the latest platform. It brings practicality to the driver with its stylish and aerodynamic-looking design as well as the ability to seat seven passengers.

The writer of recently tested the Kia Carens 2.0L on the road. This car is one of the emerging models of Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPVs) in the Brunei market. It is also the a popular alternative for a family car in Brunei Darussalam. This model of Kia showcased changes in the design of its grille, rear lights and head lights. It's physique is matched with a thin and distinguished black strip. Grand Motors Sdn Bhd offers two types of Kia Caren - the 2.0 litre petrol and 1.7 litre diesel whereby both are equipped with a 6 speed automatic transmission.

It's technology is also a state of the art. Drivers may choose between different modes of driving to match their daily travel such as the Normal, Comfort and Sports Mode. Comfort mode can be chosen for a relaxed and comfortable driving, Normal mode for the typical drive while the Sports mode is for the adrenaline-pumping drive. For each of these modes, the suspension pressure and engine response will be adjusted accordingly.

The headlines of the Carens are beautifully incorporated with LEDs for daylight driving plus a motion sensor technology whereby the lights automatically turned according to it's steering wheel.

The air ventilation channel in the front bumper enclosed with a black grille makes the car stand out even more. Customers can also customise their Carens as they can choose between a 17" and an 18" alloy rims. The electronically foldable side mirrors also acts as indicator signals.

It's interior are packed with compartments hidden beneath the rear and is the perfect place to put emergency and cleaning tools. The Carens is also smartly designed with three foldable passenger seats in the second row for the purpose of multi-configuration of seats and optimisation of cargo area - suitable for people who's always on the move.

When stepping inside the Carens, you will experience a high tech driving facility you rarely find in other similar vehicles. With an intuitive logically displayed control panel, drivers may receive up to the minute driving information within the modern sporty car.

One will be mesmerised by the touch screen audio system displayed on a 4.3" TFT LCD screen which comprised of a 6-speaker audio system with radio, CD and MP3 playback which can be navigated with ease and within reach. The system can also be connected to AUX, iPod and USB plugs which allows you to enjoy your music collection on the road.

Beneath the touch screen LCD, there are two fully automatic zones where two separate climate control can be changed to suit the driver and the front passenger. With their defogging system, drivers do not need to worry about blurry vision as the system will automatically detect and defog the condensation on the Carens window screen.

For an interesting sporty and interesting drive, you can reach over to the paddle shifter on the steering wheel where with a press of a button, you can switch to a manual transmission. The steering wheel even have a remote control device with strategically placed buttons and switches for easy navigation of the audio control, cruise control and hands-free Bluetooth system. Drivers may also enjoy an automatic light control system at their fingertips to operate headlights, high beam, fog lights and rear lights as well as the indictor signal where with the automatic function, you do not have to worry about switching your headlights on and off. Behind the steering wheel is a high resolution 4.3" LCD TDT used for displaying the car's status such as door sensor and other customised menu.

The engine hood however is quite thick and heavy, hence, much effort is needed to lift it open. The writer's favourite is however, the link between the bonnet and the front body which is joined with the car's bumper which is rubber-sealed to muffle the air and sound of the engine. During the test drive along Berakas area, the writer found that the engine was quite soft and the engine vibration could not be felt as if it has not been started. The writer can tell that the Carens also have a good suspension as it felt quite firm when driven through uneven roads at high speed.

The gas and diesel engine unit offers high power estimated to range between 136 ps to 152 ps with competitive fuel saving and CO2 reduction emission for the manual version model. The Kia Carens is powered with a NU2.0 MPI petrol engine showcasing a high resistance and shock absorbing aluminium plate together with a dual CVVT for increased efficiency and prestige. This multi point injection engine is an ultimate choice for those who demand maximum power.

Acceleration with a Kia Carens meanwhile feels at ease, with it's NU2.0 MPI petrol engine which offers a far more speedy and responsive power among it's MPV class. A speed of 0 to 100 kn/hour can be reached in less than 11 seconds thanks to the automatic transmission which responds the second you require power to push the engine. When the Active Eco mode is switched off, the automatic transmission on the Kia Carens will reach quickly to give a fast engine revolution which is very satisfying for an MPV.

To optimise between prestige and economy, this new Carens is incorporated with a 6 speed transmission. The first and second gear increases the acceleration at low speed while the sixth speed revs the engine at low acceleration while at high speed, all while reducing noise from inside the cabin and reducing fuel consumption.

Carens has been built holistically to deliver a responsive control, stable alignment and smooth extraordinary quality. The Kia Carens is very easy to drive even on long drives. The prestigious braking system is supported by the anti-lock ABS, electronic braking power distribution and emergency braking system.

Kia Carens also received an excellent review from Europe. This Korean MPV received a 5 star safety rating from a leading safety organisation from Europe, the EuroNCAP. With that, KIA became one of the two clusters of MPV models ever to receive a 5 star rating from the EuroNCAP 2013 test.

"From the beginning of the development of Carens, KIA engineers has been dedicated in inventing a compact MPV with the best structure and safety technologies to safeguard drivers, their family members and pedestrians from acidents," commented Benny Oeyen, the Marketing and Product Planning Vice President for KIA Motors Europe.

KIA Carens itself possesses many safety features such as six air bags (front, sides and window curtain), safety belt alert for all passengers, ESC (Electronic Stability Control), HAC (Hill-start Assist Control) and ESS (Emergency Stop Signalling) that can trigger the blinking brake light to alert other drivers when the car brakes suddenly. Carens is also installed with front and back sensors.

From the writer's point of view, Kia Carens is an ideal choice for the modern family as the latest Carens satisfies every needs of their clients worldwide especially among those who cannot compromise between style and practicality. This car is also very comfortable to drive even on long journeys. Interested customers interested in test driving the Kia Carens may visit their showroom in Beribi and Kuala Belait.