After shots of the Sonet CNG version emerged online recently, Kia seems to be readying the Carens CNG version as well. Images of the Kia Carens with a CNG kit have emerged online and that too with the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. The Carens is off to a flying start for the automaker and the new CNG variant could further improve sales offering a more fuel efficient alternative to customers. The Carens will also directly take on the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga facelift with the CNG option, making for one interesting comparison.
The spy images reveal that Kia India has begun testing the Carens CNG with the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine paired with the 6-speed manual. It needs to be noted that the Sonet CNG was also seen with the 1.0-litre turbo petrol motor. The image of the boot also reveals the placement of the CNG tank taking up nearly the entire boot. The trade-off though will be considerably lower cost of ownership and that will entice a number of customers as well as fleet buyers.
It’s also interesting that Kia India is testing the turbocharged engines with CNG kits. The 1.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol would be more cost efficient but would also be slower in comparison. In contrast, the 1.4 turbo makes about 140PS and 242Nm of peak torque in the petrol-only guise. Even a detuned version with the CNG kit will make enough power to haul a fully loaded car with seven people and some luggage. Kia could skip the 7-speed DCT that it offers on the petrol version, in the interest of costs.
In comparison, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga gets a 1.5-litre K-Series naturally-aspirated petrol engine. Offered in the mid-spec VXi variant priced at Rs. 10.44 lakh and the top-spec ZXi variant priced at Rs. 11.54 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Ertiga facelift will hold the price advantage over the Carens turbo CNG. However, the latter will have more appeal and that should make customers reconsider. There’s no word on the launch date yet but Kia could drop its CNG versions towards the end of the year.