Upgraded from a 16 year old Santro to a Kia Carens diesel MT

The initial candidates were the usual 6/7 seaters – Ertiga and XL6, but somehow after TDs, I wasn’t convinced. Then came the Triber, and I must say, their marketing had me hooked.

BHPian fatman2022 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I had been eyeing a new car for a few years now, with our old trusty Santro running for well over 16 years. The car was bought when I entered graduation, and 16 years later, with 2 kids, lots of white hair, increasing family size (and waistline), it was time to upgrade to something bigger.

The initial candidates were the usual 6/7 seaters – Ertiga and XL6, but somehow after TDs, I wasn’t convinced. Then came the Triber, and I must say, their marketing had me hooked. Test drove a vehicle, and while it was responsive as a 2/3 people carrier, it did struggle with 6 people onboard. Pandemic hit, and while the choice (and need) of a new car was gone, the lust remained.

2022 bought some good news, and I could lift my budget from 12-13 lakhs to ~ 20 lakhs.

Fortunately, it was around the same time the Carens was launched. It would be negligent of me if I don’t praise the passionately excellent Team BHP community, where I looked at every review, official or otherwise, and gained informative insights on not just the Carens, but on the whole process of car selection and buying (after all, it has been 16+ years !). Test drove the diesel MT and AT variants in March, and booked the Luxury Plus diesel 6 STR MT on the spot at Lohia Kia, Noida. April bought the bad news of a price hike, but as luck would have it, the company I work for bought major revisions to their car policies. Under the change, the company would pay for nearly 95% of the ORP of the variant I booked – the only caveat was I needed to buy the car from the same city where the company’s offices are located.

Noida and Delhi were out since those offices were closed during lockdown, but luckily we had one not far away, in Lucknow. Being a Lucknownite (stayed for nearly 20 years), couldn’t miss this opportunity to visit the City of Nawabs again. Enquired with the 2 Kia dealerships in Lucknow via my contacts, and one of them had a Grey variant (my choice of color was Blue or Red), with the same config, in their yard, ready to be booked and delivered as long as the payment was done on time. I reckon diesels don’t sell well in Lucknow, since I saw nearly 6x the number of turbo petrols in the same yard a few days later (and the other dealer also had 2-3 ready to delivered petrol models too).

Long story short, pestered my finance guys at work (a bit too much) to get the payments done on time (got delayed as this was the Good Friday long weekend – apparently RTGS also takes holidays in spite of 24*7 claims – story for another day) – and got the car handed over on 16th April. Felt quite lucky since Lohia Noida asked me to wait for over 24 weeks.

Got the number plate in 1 day, and RC in the next few days. The car also got to stretch it’s legs on the pretty awesome Lucknow Agra highway. Absolutely loved the drive. The Agra Noida highway (Yamuna expressway) was muted in comparison (road quality isn’t nearly as good).

Got my 1st service done recently, and overall, extremely satisfied with the car. The air con is superb, it’s spacious enough for my family of 6, captain seats are comfortable, and the NVH levels are muted when inside the car. Body roll is under control, and the car felt light footed on the expressways. Overtaking also seemed a breeze (we were just 2 people in the car during the expressway drive), and city driving isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be (seems I am getting used to the clutch accelerator combo, and the initial lag). The sunroof, while small (I personally don’t see the need of a sunroof in India), is still a novelty for the kids, and they love ogling through the glass.

Biggest cons are the speakers. They are simply adequate, and a car at this price deserves much better.

I also had the same TPMS issue faced by BHPian pseudo_coder post delivery. Quite literally within minutes of getting the car delivered, both the TPMS and Master Warning Light were on. I rechecked with the dealer – who checked with their trainer, who said this is common as some steps might have been missed during PDI (??), and it will go away after a “few” kms. Wasn’t satisfied, so dug through the manual, and it said that TPMS warning does bring the Master Warning on as well.

Got the tyres filled to 34 to no avail. Finally pushed them to 36, and voila, the TPMS read the pressure as 34, and both the warning lights went off.

Got the tyre pressure rechecked at Noida, at the regular pump I go to (Bharat Petrol Pump, Sec 51), and their calibration very closely matches that of the TPMS. While the service centre recommended 35 PSI for all 4 tyres, I felt the feedback to be hard. Went with 33 on all 4 (TPMS reads them between 32-34 while driving), and the drive is a lot more “cushiony”.


I am absolutely enjoying the car though, and earlier, while I would find any excuse to NOT drive the Santro, nowadays, I am finding ways to get behind the seat and go for a ride!

Would really like to thank all the members on this forum/thread for your comments, which are read by thousands of (then) unregistered amateurs like me to help make a purchase decision.

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