Brought home a Kia Carens Prestige 1.4L manual: Initial impressions

Options considered were the Mahindra XUV 700 and Hyundai Alcazar, but both were out of budget.

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I was on the lookout for a 7-seater with a budget of ₹12 lakhs

Requirements :

  • Petrol engine - intend to keep the vehicle for long-term, keeping in mind the uncertainty on future of diesel engines
  • Spacious and comfortable seats - have multiple members in our family
  • Manual Transmission preferred

Options available : Hyundai Alcazar & XUV700 were out of budget

  • Maruti Ertiga/XL6 - I learnt driving a car on my Uncle's Ertiga, so very familiar with vehicle performance/features. XL6 has only captain seats and not a 7-seater. Hence didn't testdrive both the vehicles.
  • Kia Carens - Premium interiors, decent exterior looks, plethora of features, good vehicle driveability/engine performance.

Immediately booked Kia Carens Prestige 1.5 Naturally Aspirated(NA) Engine(Ex-showroom price - ₹9,99,900) on 18th March, 2022 (no testdrive vehicle for NA engine was available throughout Bangalore). Waiting period was ~48 weeks

16 weeks passed and I needed a vehicle sooner, wasn't willing to wait further. Hence, upgraded my booking to Prestige Plus 1.4 Turbo Petrol(Ex-showroom price - ₹13,89,900) on July 14th, 2022 and extended my budget by ₹1.9 lakhs. My SA promised to deliver vehicle within 8 weeks.

Didn't choose DCT variant due to reliability issues & Carens doesn't have CVT or iMT transmission option. A week later after repeated calls to SA, I got my vehicle alloted - Prestige Plus 1.4 Turbo Petrol Manual in Prestige Blue

Additional features in Prestige Plus when compared with Prestige Variant :

  • Powerful turbo engine (138bhp/242Nm vs 113bhp/144Nm torque)
  • 16 inch alloy wheels vs 15 inch steel wheels
  • Keyless entry with Push-button start
  • Auto AC
  • Cruise Control
  • Electrically foldable ORVMs
  • Rear defogger with rear wiper and washer
  • 1st & 2nd row cooled cup-holders
  • Window curtains for 2nd row seats

Buying experience:

I purchased car through LeasePlan, informed my SA that payment will only be released after I do a PDI. Vehicle was bought to Kia Singasandra showroom, ODO showed 17km. Checked the car thoroughly for any scratches/dents/re-painting.

PDI pics:

Initiated paper formalities, took ~15 days to complete the documentation process along with car registration (multiple documents between LeasePlan, my employer and Dealer).
Blue Baby was delivered on 10th August, 2022.

Car Delivery Pics:

Price details:

a. Base Price ₹9,58,551.72

b. CGST @ 14% ₹1,34,197.24

c. SGST @ 14% ₹1,34,197.24

d. Cess @ 17% ₹1,62,953.79

1. Ex-Showroow Price ₹13,89,900

2. TCS @ 1% ₹13,899

3. Road Tax/RTO ₹2,62,274

4. Registration Fee ₹2662

5. Accessories ₹19,047

6. Extended Warranty ₹23,877

7. Fasttag ₹500

TOTAL ₹17,12,159 (Phew!! taxes add upto ₹7,07,521.27)

Opted for extended warranty in 4th & 5th year, for stress-free ownership experience.

Completed the traditional pooja ceremony for the car and immediately started on ~250km short trip

Pooja Pics:

Pros :

  • Decent reverse camera with dynamic guidelines
  • Safety features - ESP, Traction Control, ABS with EBD, all wheel disc brakes, TPMS, 6 airbags
  • Front parking sensors
  • Rear camera can be used even when reverse gear is not engaged, this is helpful during driving for monitoring vehicles from rear
  • Comfortable and spacious seats with AC vents & Type-C charging ports even in 3rd row. Best in segment 3rd row space
  • Wireless Android Auto/Apple Carplay (variants above Prestige Plus don't have Wirelss AA or Carplay)
  • Good mileage and supremely refined engine
  • No need for frequent tyre air-checks, TPMS works great

Cons :

  • Frequent gear change from 2nd to 1st. If speed drops below 10kmph & even though car is in motion 1st gear needs to be engaged for pick-up. This wasn't the case on Ertiga and other vehicles I had driven earlier.
  • Is it a characteristic of turbo engine?
  • Poor headlight throw
  • Clutch travel is deep when compared to Ertiga
  • Annoying clack sound when horn is pressed(no issue with horn sound though)
  • Speaker volume very low for 2nd/3rd row passengers
  • Disappointing 3-star crash test rating

All members in family were satisfied with car performance & comfort during the 1st short trip!


A week later!

Blue Baby has already completed 980km. Completed two trips.

1st trip : Bengaluru to Santhebidanur(near Gauribidanur) ~250km round trip


2nd trip : Bengaluru to Conoor via Ooty, ~700km round trip

Likes :

The car feels very light to drive, great maneuverability, butter-smooth steering response, decent suspension, most comfortable on highways even for 3rd row passengers. Its an absolute joyful experience to drive on highways.

Dis-likes :

Hill-start assist software - When starting on incline, brakes don't get released when accelerator is pressed rather it releases only after 3-4s. This sometime leads to vehicle stalling.

As an alternative, if hand-brake is engaged Hill-start doesn't get activated and instead car can now be picked by traditional hand-brake start. Kia should have given a manual button to disable HHA, just like how they have a button for downhill descent control

I haven't observed roof-condensation issue yet

Ceramic Coating :

Introduction :

Ceramic coating is a chemical polymer solution, applied on painted surfaces of a vehicle to protect it from external paint damage.

Due to this chemical bonding and creation of a new layer, it prevents dirt, grime and stain marks from appearing on the paint and ruining the clear coat. Hence the car’s factory paint job remains untouched & gloss is maintained. The silicon dioxide (SiO2) compound found in ceramic coatings provides significantly better protection than traditional waxes and sealants. It does this through nanotechnology that allows the product to bond to car's paint, wheels, glass, and trim at a molecular level. This fills in microscopic pits and grooves in car's paint leaving a hydrophobic surface.

Hunt for detailer started,needed a reputed detailer with affordable cost.Considered quotes from 3-4 reputed detailing studios in Bengaluru (UD, Carszpa, Detailing Mafia, Detailing Bull). Price quotes varied from INR 30k-45k. Got reference of another detailer - Triah Detailing Studio, Yelahanka. Had a call with Mr.Brahmeshwara, he explained the process in detail along with price slabs and product upgrade if required based on budget.

Brochure :

Advantages of Ceramic Coating:

  • Excellent hydrophobic surface makes dusting/washing very easy. Also ensures drastic reduction in water marks and mineral deposits.
  • Very high gloss - No polish or polymer sealant can match this superior gloss. Gloss stays for many years unlike polishes which fade off.
  • Dust/contaminants repellent - Coating makes dust and contaminants hard to stick to car surface protecting your car from paint droppings, tar, oil, grease etc.
  • Chemical resistance - Coating provides excellent protection from bird dropping, water stains, acid rains, bug hits and more.
  • Oxidation resistance - Coating protects the pain clear-coat from getting oxidized and ensures there is no change in the paint colour.
  • UV Protection - Coating protects the car from harmful UV rays. UV rays causes permanent damage to a car’s clear-coat on prolonged exposure.
  • Cost effective - In the long run, ceramic/graphene coating is the most cost effective way to maintain car’s looks and to keep the paint healthy. PPF is way costlier than cermamic coating. Since coating lasts many years, car wouldn’t need wax or polish regularly, hence saving cost and time. Well protected paint also increases the resale value.
  • Ease of maintenance - Coating keeps surface smooth, hence keeping the car clean is very easy. Simple dusting will suffice daily cleaning needs. Waterless wash shows very good results on coated surface, hence reducing visits to car wash. Waterless wash also keeps salt deposits, water marks/spots and swirls away from car.

Disadvantages :

  • Not completely scratch resistant - Ceramic Coating will not protect from scratches, swirls & rock chips
  • Water-based contaminants will bead on car’s surface and eventually slide off. But they still contain natural minerals and soluble particles that will stay on the surface after the water has evaporated leading to water spots
  • Gloss and hydrophobic properties dull over time and need maintenance

Detailed Process of Ceramic Coating :

Step 1 : Decontamination Wash

Engine bay is cleaned up using a brush and air-blower to remove loose dirt or debris from the surface. All purpose cleaner(APC) / degreaser is used to clean the engine compartment and wiped off with a wet cloth. Hand polishing is done to clean the carbon deposits underside of the hood.

Alloy wheels are deep cleaned along with plastic trims using APC.

The car is rinsed with water using pressure washer, then foam is sprayed. CarPro IronX Snow Soap is used as an iron-removing Snow Foam with a foam lance.

Then the surface is cleaned thoroughly using Wash mitt and again rinsed with water along with underbody wash. Air drier is used to aid in drying of the car & then its wiped clean with a microfiber cloth. Different cloths are used for different surfaces using one direction gentle wipes to clear water

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