• The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?

The new Kia Carens transforms into a crossover SUV as a way to attract buyers

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You probably don’t remember the Kia Carens. It was last sold in August 2010 due to MPVs being unpopular in the United States. The Carens still went on sale as the Rondo in Canada, but only until the 2017 model year, yet again a victim of SUVs and crossovers.

But what are your thoughts on this new 2022 Kia Carens? From being a European-styled MPV, it’s now a rugged crossover SUV, featuring plenty of body cladding that should appeal to North American tastes, or will it?

The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?
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Dubbed as a “three-row recreational vehicle”, the new Kia Carens rides on the same platform as the Seltos subcompact crossover SUV, albeit stretched in order to accommodate a third-row.

“With its bold design, high-tech features, and industry-leading safety systems, the Kia Carens is set to create a completely new segment and industry benchmark for family vehicles,” said Ho Sung Song, President and CEO at Kia Corporation. “Kia is especially honoured to launch Carens in India, where new ideas and innovations are taking shape. We are confident that the Kia Carens will deliver meaningful experiences to modern families both in their daily and leisure life.”
The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?
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The Kia Carens has now transformed into a rugged crossover SUV, and it’s all the better for it as this is what the market desires.

Whereas its predecessor embraced its European MPV looks, this new model is much more rugged. Like all new Kia models, the Carens is flaunting the brand’s latest "Opposite United" design language. which first debuted in the EV6. Upfront, the LED headlights are matched with Kia’s striking LED daytime running light motif, while the lower front bumper looks similar to what the Kia Soul has.

The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?
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As a matter of fact, we’re getting a lot of Kia Soul vibes with the new Carens, albeit in a more restrained fashion. Still, the upright side profile enables the Carens to have three-row seating. At the rear, the LED taillights are connected by a red reflector strip, which gives its rear end more flair.

The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?
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The interior of the Kia Carens looks equally as striking as its exterior. There’s a central 10.25-inch Kia Connect infotainment system, which supports over-the-air (OTA) updates. Other interior features include an eight-speaker Bose sound system, 64-color ambient LED lights, SkyLight sunroof, ventilated front seats, and an air purifier system.

The 2022 Kia Carens Is An MPV No More, Should It Return To The U.S.?
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Despite its rugged styling, the Carens still manages to embrace its MPV roots. The second row of seats features what Kia calls "One Touch Easy Electric Tumble" for easy entry to the third row. There are even seatback tables, cooled cupholders, five USB-C ports, and rear sunshades.

No powertrain details have yet been officially revealed. Kia only confirmed that the Carens will be offered with a mix of gasoline and diesel engine options, along with multiple transmission options, ranging from a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic to a six-speed torque-converter automatic.

The 2022 Kia Carens will go on sale first in India and in select markets around the world. Now that the Carens/Rondo is now a crossover SUV, would it make sense for Kia USA to bring this vehicle back in North America?

Isaac Atienza
Isaac Atienza is a Filipino motoring journalist who joined TopSpeed.com in 2021. He is a car enthusiast who especially thinks that wagons are the best type of vehicle, though sports cars and anything with three pedals also tickles his fancy.  Read full bio
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