Following its global debut in India last December, the fourth-generation Kia Carens has now gone on sale in Indonesia in conjunction with this year’s Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show (GIIAS). Built on a stretched version of the Seltos’ platform, the latest Carens is aimed at emerging markets and offers three-row seating.

Past iterations of the Carens, which were also known as the Rondo or Citra (Naza used both here), were very MPV-like in their appearance, but the latest one adds in some SUV-like touches in the spirit of the Honda BR-V, Toyota Veloz and Mitsubishi Xpander. The Kia model is comparable in size too, measuring in at 4,540 mm long, 1,800 mm wide, 1,700 mm tall and with a wheelbase of 2,780 mm.

As such, the Carens competes in Indonesia’s premium MPV segment and is offered in two variants. The base option is called the 1.5MPI – Premiere and is priced at 389 million rupiah (RM117,440), while the range-topper is the 1.4T – Premiere retails at IDR449 million (RM135,554).

It should be noted that the Carens’ starting price is significantly more than the highest variants of its competitors. For context, the BR-V Prestige with Honda Sensing is IDR348.6 million (RM105,185), the Veloz Q CVT Type is IDR309.1 million (RM93,267) and the Xpander Ultimate CVT is IDR307.1 million (RM92,663).

To justify the asking prices, the Carens gets a more sophisticated suspension setup featuring MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link rear – the latter being different from its aforementioned rivals that use torsion beams.

All variants come with 16-inch alloy wheels (with 205/65 profile tyres), multi-reflector LED headlamps, LED DRLs, LED fog lamps, LED taillights, power-folding side mirrors as well as a powered sunroof as standard.

Inside, you get ventilated front seats, artificial leather upholstery, mood lighting, second-row sunshades, a Supervision 4.2-inch TFT LCD instrument cluster display, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), an eight-speaker Bose premium sound system, automatic air-conditioning (with vents for the second and third row; manual controls for the rear) and a Qi wireless charger.

The 1.5MPI – Premiere comes with seven seats (2-3-3 layout), while the costliest variant gets two captain chairs for the second row to become a six-seater (2-2-2 layout). Both have one-touch access to the second row and there are fold-up tables for second-row passengers.

In terms of safety, six airbags come standard, along with a range of passive systems like ESC, ABS, EBD, brake assist, hill start assist, Downhill Brake Control, a tyre pressure monitoring system as well as front and rear parking sensors – the lack of active systems is a downer though. Rounding off the kit list are keyless entry and engine start, remote engine start and cruise control.

As for engines, the 1.5MPI – Premiere gets the Smartstream Gamma II 1.5 litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder with 115 PS at 6,300 rpm and 144 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm. This drives the front wheels via an Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT), which is Kia’s take on a CVT.

Meanwhile, the 1.4T – Premiere is powered by a Kappa 1.4 litre turbocharged four-cylinder that serves up 140 PS at 6,000 rpm and 242 Nm from 1,500-3,200 rpm. Drive is still send frontwards, but through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Regardless of engine type, both variants come with a drive mode selector with three options (Sport, Eco and Normal).

The Carens in Indonesia comes with a seven-year warranty and is offered in six colours, namely Intense Red, Glacier White Pearl, Aurora Black Pearl, Sparkling Silver, Moss Brown and Gravity Grey. What do you think of the Carens? Would you welcome such a model in Malaysia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.