My Kia Carens diesel MT: Observations after 4.5 months & 7000 kms

The engine & gearbox now seem to have settled down. Notchy shifts have reduced drastically and the engine pulls more freely. I believe the engine will open-up even more after the first oil change.

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Update after 4.5 months of ownership and 7000 Km (PP 1.5 diesel for those wondering the variant):

The engine & gearbox now seem to have settled down. Notchy shifts have reduced drastically and the engine pulls more freely. I believe the engine will open-up even more after the first oil change. Mileage has now settled down to around 18-20 highway and 14-16 city depending on the load. For those interested in my mileage logs, please find the screenshot below. Please note that all these were measured using tank-full to tank-full method.

There seems to be a faint rattle from one of the doors which I am unable to locate. It is not irritating, but one can hear it if they pay attention. Yes, it is that faint.

As many have already pointed out the plastic cladding is a pain to maintain. Since it is raining every other day, I have stopped worrying about it for now.

Regarding NVH, the engine which was silent earlier seems to have gotten a wee bit vocal these days. It is not irritatingly loud, but can hear that familiar diesel clatter under hard acceleration. This is more pronounced in the city though. On highways, the engine is barely audible. Most of the noise you hear is tyre/wind noise.

The headlights seem to be the weakest link on an overall good package. I am contemplating to switch to Philips H4 Xtreme Vision or Hella H4P50TB. Any suggestions are welcome. Noob question: Owner’s manual says socket is H19L. Googling reveals H4 will fit the socket. I am not sure if both are the same. Experts, please guide me on this.

C in Carens stands for condensation. This is a universal issue and so far, based on social media reports, Kia is still experimenting on owners to find a fix. Mine is not as severe (cold to touch mostly) as others have reported, but given the right set of conditions, it will rear it’s ugly head.

Have been driving in the rains a lot lately. The stock MRFs are holding up well for my highway speeds (read as 80-100). The wipers are another story. I could see streaks already. Looks like I have to change them during the first service. I am contemplating frameless wipers, but may stick to stock ones for now.

The rear hatch door is a dirt magnet. Drive for 5 mins in rain and the entire door + mirror will be covered in dirt. The rear wash/wipe is a must on this vehicle. Sometimes, at the end of long trips, I even wonder how bad the visibility must be if I did not have a wiper at the rear.

There seems to be an issue with how Kia has configured the hill-hold on the vehicle. The issue is mostly reported by 1.4T owners, but I hardly saw 1.5D owners complaining. A month ago, I had to stop on a incline which was not that steep. When I tried to accelerate, the vehicle stalled thrice and would not move. Luckily the road was wide enough for the traffic to safely pass around me. I gave a pause of 30 sec and tried restarting the vehicle. This time, hill hold was working as intended and the vehicle moved forward without problem. On the three occasions when the vehicle stalled, I felt as if the vehicle was applying brakes even harder if I pressed the throttle. Ideally, the vehicle should release the brakes when it senses that the driver wants to move forward. However, on this rare occasion, the vehicle probably held on to the brakes and did not move forward/back resulting in shuddering and stalling with the vehicle not even moving an inch forward. I tried this multiple times afterwards, but am unable to replicate it. I think this can be fixed with a software update, but am not sure about it. Will report it during the second free service though.

Regarding the crash tests, enough has been said and discussed on this forum before. Although I am disappointed, I was not expecting more than 3 stars. So, I was sort of mentally prepared for what was to come. Quoting myself from a previous post below:

I do not expect a rating above 3 though since the Creta and Seltos fared equally poor in crash tests.

My concluding remarks: This is a true blue family vehicle and remains the sole long distance runner and preferred choice in the family for highway runs. I was one of the few lucky ones who got this at the introductory price. So, for the price I paid, I am pretty happy with my decision so far. Sure, it has it’s own drawbacks like mediocre safety ratings, an engine that feels moderately powerful, the infamous condensation issue, non functional roof rails (for an MPV – seriously Kia?), etc. But then, the more I use it, the more I begin to appreciate the vehicle for what it is. It is spacious, practical, has decent suspension that handles highways and rough patches equally well, is decently kitted for a mid variant (barring the headlights – the guy who approved these should be asked to drive blindfolded over a cliff), has running costs equal to my old B1 petrol hatch and most importantly keeps my family happy on long drives.

Will the vehicle age well? I don’t know. Will this stay with me for a long time to come, oh yes!

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