Small people-movers are making a comeback as automakers figure out more efficient ways of packaging cars for the big of family and modest of paycheck. The latest one to follow suit looks to be the Kia Carens, or what we used to know as the Kia Rondo.
Previewed in the sketches shown here, Kia has released a few tidbits of information about the new high-roof wagon. Designed around a philosophy called “dynamic space,” former Audi designer Peter Schreyer was let loose to design the vehicle on the Kia Cee’d and the U.S.’s own 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT architecture—essentially the European equivalent of the Kia Forte—stretching it to make into a legitimate five-, six-, or seven-passenger vehicle.
Kia says the new Carens’ roofline has been lowered from the current model, which — as the Rondo — was discontinued in the U.S. after the 2010 model year, and its wheelbase has been stretched. Still, Kia says, it will come standard with the style and “spacious functionality” that has helped drive Kia’s insurgence of sales as of late.
While few other details are known of the new tall wagon, we know it’s closer to production than one might think. Earlier this month, our colleagues at Automobile Magazine spotted the next-generation Kia Carens/Rondo undergoing testing in Michigan of all places. That’s an indicator that it could once again make its way back to the States. But there are also many automakers—Kia included—who have development centers in the Detroit area for no other reason than that’s where many of their suppliers are located. And it keeps the prying eyes of overseas publications from spying too closely on cars still under development.
Sold in the U.S. from the 2007 model year for four years, the Kia Rondo was sold with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 2.7-liter V-6 engine. It enjoyed plenty of success during its initial run, but Kia pulled it from our shores as sales slowed. Still, it has been sold across Asia and Europe without pause, retaining the basic design we saw in the U.S. until its planned redesign seen above.
Kia says to watch for the production-ready version of the new Carens to debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 27.
Source: Kia Motors