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New Kia Carens laid bare

Versatile: All-new Carens is claimed to seat up to seven adults in comfort.

Finally, Kia reveals its bigger, smarter new Carens seven-seater at the Madrid show

29 May 2006

KIA Motors has completed its drip-feed reveal of an all-new Carens by unveiling the redesigned people-mover at Spain’s Madrid motor show last Thursday (May 25), when full details were also released.

Under consideration for sale Australia next year, when it may make a return for the first time since the current six-seater model was discontinued in December 2001, the new smaller sibling for Carnival will be on sale in five and seven-seat guises in Europe and the US by early 2007.

Kia’s new compact MPV was first previewed by the Multi-S concept at last September’s Frankfurt motor show, before being revealed in sketch form earlier this year. It’s global public debut in Madrid last week followed the release of first pictures and basic details in April.

According to the South Korean car-maker, the new model is a response to consumer demand for a new generation of vehicle that aims at active lifestyle families by blending "the interlocking trends of MPVs and SUVs".

At 4545mm long, the new Carens is 55mm longer, 50mm wider and 40mm taller than before, while all-new body panels deliver substantially improved aerodynamics. Despite the larger frontal area, Carens’ Cd factor is down from 0.35 to 0.32.

Similarly, despite modest body size increases, a 130mm-longer wheelbase and smarter packaging have resulted in big interior space gains.

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17 center imageAn innovative "shallow" fuel tank, integrated with the rear suspension subframe, allowed the rear cabin floor to be lowered by 40mm which, Kia says, sees the rearmost seats accommodate two 1.8-metre adults in comfort.

In both the five-seat and seven-seat version the middle and/or rear row seats fold to create a flat-floored luggage area. With five occupants on board, cargo space is 400 litres, extending to 2106 litres with only the two front seats in use.

Carens’ engine details have also been revealed. European versions will be powered by a choice of two Euro4 emissions-compliant 2.0-litre engines.

The first is Kia’s upgraded CRDi diesel, which features a variable geometry turbocharger (VGT) and diesel particulate filter (DPF) to deliver 130kW, and is mated to a six-speed manual. The second is Kia’s "Theta" petrol four with continuously variable valve timing (CVVT), which delivers 106kW and is matched with a five-speed manual.

In the US, Carens will come with either a 118kW 2.4-litre four-cylinder or a 138kW 2.7-litre V6, both with a four-speed auto.

Kia says the stiffer new Carens bodyshell’s larger footprint (130mm-longer wheelbase, 80mm wider wheel tracks) has wrought inherent handling benefits, plus improved ride quality and safety.

New independent suspension is fitted at both ends, while on standard 16-inch wheels the redesigned hydraulic power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering requires just 2.86 turns lock-to-lock.

Complimenting this are larger, thicker ventilated front and solid rear brake rotors, aided by a standard anti-lock system (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Stopping distance from 100km/h is quoted at 41.8 metres.

The European and US markets will offer 16 Carens variants, split between five and seat versions, LX and EX equipment levels, diesel or petrol engines and manual or auto transmissions.

The company expects the new Carens to attract some 150,000 customers globally in 2007.

"With New Carens we are presenting consumers with a surprisingly spacious yet compact MPV," said senior executive vice-president and COO of Kia Motors, Jung-Moon Park.

"New Carens marks a major advance for our compact MPV model. It incorporates a host of significant improvements in every category – design, comfort, performance, versatility, quality and safety," he said.

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