Last year South Korean automaker Kia marked their comeback in Pakistan with the launch of Grand Carnival luxury MPV. Alongside, the Frontier K2700 commercial pickup was also introduced.
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Partnered with Lucky group, this is the third time Kia has made an entry in Pakistani market. Their other two ventures were with Tawakkal group in the mid 90s and with Dewan group in late 90s. However in both the earlier occasions, Kia’s tenure lasted for just a few years before they packed up and left, leaving customers in disarray.
Now Kia is considered among a leading international automobile brand and their vehicle lineup has improved significantly. Plus, this time around they have partnered with financially the strongest group compared to their previous ventures. So there are favorable chances of their cars getting successful, but is Kia launching the right cars here?
Kia opted the Grand Carnival luxury MPV with a 3.3 liter V6 engine to mark their comeback, instead of Picanto or Rio, the supposedly volume sellers. Perhaps because the company wanted to portray a better & upscale image of Kia vehicles as most of the people in Pakistan still relate to the not-so-successful Kia vehicles of Dewan & Tawakkal era.
The Grand Carnival remains an ideal option if you have the luxury of owning more than a couple of vehicles and dedicate it to the very purpose it has been designed for. However, with a size this big, it’s not an everyday vehicle, at least in Pakistan. Yes it suits you when you are going out on a picnic with your family, a quick weekend getaway or for long road trips, but you won’t really want to maneuver it in congested traffic and tight spaces all day every day. Nor it’s a practical option to utilize it carrying out your everyday errands, as it requires a lot of space to park, let alone drive in crammed city traffic.
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Currently the Kia Grand Carnival is available for PKR 42.4 lac for the base LX version, whereas the top-spec EX version cost PKR 53.24 lac. Obviously with price this high, the Grand Carnival is never going to be a volume seller nor will be assembled locally but it sure wows the public with its superior built quality and endless features on offer.
Reportedly Kia is now stretching its legs to introduce the Sportage SUV, which is again going to be something around a 4 million price bracket. But at this time, one might think do we need such expensive cars at this stage instead of the mass-market options, people were eagerly waiting for? Kia has an incredibly diverse portfolio and if a people-mover was their priority, they should have introduced the Carens MPV which is a much more practical and budget-friendly option.
Kia calls it a versatile 7-seat car that’s flexible enough for family needs. The compact MPV is currently in its third generation that was introduced back in 2013 and was updated with facelift in September 2016. The Carens received redesigned fascias, new wheels and lights, as well as the signature “Tiger Nose” grille.
Dimension wise its slightly larger than the Honda BR-V but its size is quite practical compared to the humongous Grand Carnival. The Carens measures 4,525 mm in length, 1,805 mm in width and 1,610 mm in height and has a longer wheelbase of 2,750 mm which results in a much spacious cabin for the passengers.
|Dimensions||Honda BR-V||Kia Carens|
|Length||4,455 mm||4,525 mm|
|Width||1,735 mm||1,805 mm|
|Height||1,650 mm||1,610 mm|
And instead of carrying larger engines under the hood, the Carens gets powered by a range of fuel efficient engines. It comes with a choice of 1.6 liter Gamma GDI petrol, 2.0 liter Nu GDI petrol and 1.7 liter CRDI turbo diesel engines, with 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic and 7-speed DCT gearbox options on offer.
In UK it comes with a 7-year warranty and is considered among the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class delivering up to a combined fuel average of 19.3 km/ liter (1.6 Gamma), and 26.6 km/ liter (CDRI diesel). The Kia Carens remains a popular compact MPV in middle-eastern markets as well.
Perhaps if Kia-Lucky is able to offer mass-market options that are more connected with the needs of general public, the company will be able to get the desired results, else cars like Grand Carnival no matter how good they are, can never become volume sellers and will remain gracing the showroom floors.
Do you think Kia should considers introducing the likes of Carens MPV in Pakistan? Let us know with the comments.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com