The 2012 Paris Auto Show marked the unveiling of the all-new 2013 Kia Carens, a compact MPV that was previously sold here as the Rondo until 2010. Benefitting from all of the automaker's latest advances in styling, comfort, functionality and safety, the Gen III Carens should significantly bolster Kia's intentions to make it into the ranks of Europe's Top 10 selling manufacturers. Unless there's a major change of heart, we won't be seeing this handsome people mover returning to Kia's U.S. product family under any name.
Visually, the new Carens boasts edgier bodywork that also brings more pronounced side sculpting and a lower profile all set off with new LED enhanced lighting and a signature Peter Schreyer grille. While slightly shorter overall, the latest Carens features a 2.0-inch longer wheelbase that adds more utility to package, which can be ordered to seat either five or seven in an easily reconfigurable layout. Complementing its impressive roster of standards highlighted by Kia's new FlexSteer effort-adjustable steering system, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brake Force Distribution and Brake Assist will be a broad range of upscale options. Topping that list are power ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, Supervision instrument cluster, Smart Key, premium audio, panoramic glass roof and HID xenon headlamps as well as premium safety features that include a Lane Departure Warning System, Parallel Park Assist System and a rearview camera.
The 2013 Kia Carens will hit the showrooms in Europe with four direct-injected 4-cylinder engines -- two gasoline and two turbodiesels -- that create from 113 to 174 horsepower. Each can be teamed with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, the latter cog changer bringing paddle shifters on the two highest-powered Carens models.