Kia recently launched their all-new 7-seater MPV Carens in the Indian market. Like other Kia products, Carens also became popular among buyers for its competitive pricing and features. When launched, the base variant of the Carens was actually cheaper than the 5-seater Seltos. Interestingly, a set of spy pictures have now surfaced online that suggest that Kia might be carrying out some tests on the Carens. The manufacturer is expected to launch a CNG variant of the 7-seater MPV. Kia Carens currently competes with cars like Maruti Ertiga, Maruti XL6 and Hyundai Alcazar in the segment.
The spy pictures have been shared by V3 Cars Online. According to the pictures and report, Kia is testing the CNG kit on the 1.4 litre turbocharged version. Kia is offered with a 1.5 litre naturally aspirated petrol and a 1.5 litre turbo diesel engine other than the turbo petrol engine. This is interesting as Kia Carens would become the first car in the segment to get CNG with a turbo petrol engine. The spy pictures show a Kia Carens with its tail gate open. The CNG cylinder is clearly visible in the image. Kia Carens like any other 7-seater in the segment had very little boot space with all three row seats up. With a CNG cylinder in the boot, the space cannot be used for luggage at all.
The nozzle for filling the gas into the cylinder is also visible in the image. It is placed next to the fuel filler cap. The position of the filler nozzle may or may not change in the production version. The registration sticker on the quarter glass of this Kia Carens reveals that the testing is being done on the turbo petrol version. It clearly mentions that it is a the 6-speed manual variant. In comparison to the 1.5 litre naturally aspirated petrol version, the turbo petrol engine makes more sense with the CNG. After installing CNG, the weight of the car would increase and the engine would also generate less power in comparison to petrol mode.
Carens being an MPV might feel underpowered with the 1.5 litre petrol engine. The turbo petrol engine might be generate adequate amount of power that can help it move around without feeling underpowered. The 1.4 litre turbocharged petrol engine in Kia Carens generates 140 Ps and 242 Nm of peak torque. It is available with a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed DCT gearbox. It is currently not clear whether the CNG variant will also come with DCT gearbox.
In this segment, only Maruti offers a company fitted CNG kit for Ertiga. With rising petrol prices, buyers are looking for alternate options and are installing aftermarket CNG kits in their cars. Hyundai also offers company fitted CNG kits for some of their models. Recently Tata also introduced CNG options for their Tiago and Tigor models. Last week, a Kia Sonet compact SUV was also spotted during testing and even that was being tested with a CNG kit. Just like Carens, Kia was carrying out tests on the turbo petrol or GT Line variant of Kia Sonet.