Kia Carens vs Maruti XL6: Space And Practicality Compared

Modified On Apr 04, 2022 03:11 PM By Rohit for Kia Carens

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The Kia Carens is bigger and better than the Maruti XL6 in almost all departments on paper. But does it translate in the real-world when space and practicality are concerned?

Kia launched its second MPV for India, the Carens, last month, with prices starting from Rs 8.99 lakh (introductory ex-showroom pan-India). Although in terms of dimensions, it is similar to the Hyundai Alcazar, its price has also put it in contention with the likes of the Renault Triber and even the Maruti Ertiga-XL6 duo. We had the 6-seater Carens with us and hence we pitted it against the Maruti XL6 to see which one comes out on top in terms of space and practicality.


  • The Carens’ design looks polarising for sure but it helps in telling the car apart from other Kia models. While the carmaker hasn’t called it an SUV or an MPV, it certainly has a mixture of elements from both including high ground clearance, roof rails, and body cladding.

  • Maruti’s XL6, on the other hand, looks premium in its own way with its attention-seeking fascia and Volvo-like taillights. It also gets blacked-out ORVMs, alloy wheels, and B- and C-pillars which add to the rugged appearance.

  • Both have common bits such as the black body cladding, LED headlights with LED DRLs, LED fog lamps, and LED taillights. However, the Carens gets 16-inch alloy wheels whereas Maruti has provided the XL6 with 15-inchers.

  • In terms of size, there’s a huge difference between the two. The Carens is bigger in all dimensions than the XL6. Here’s a table to give you an idea:


Maruti XL6

Kia Carens












1,708mm (with roof rails)






Cabin Quality

  • Being the newest of the two, the Carens’ cabin is obviously more modern and feels more premium too. It has a dual-tone dashboard layout with smooth plastic panels and good quality upholstery. However, we do hope Kia would have worked on the dashtop plastic and centre console buttons to make them feel as rich as those in the Seltos.

Maruti Suzuki XL6: First Drive Review

  • Maruti has provided the XL6 with an all-black cabin layout, including the upholstery. Sure, the silver accents all around the cabin and stone finish of the dash do make it more upmarket, but with the large glass areas, spending large amounts of time inside the MPV during summers won’t be too welcoming.

Front Seat

  • In the front seats of the Carens, you get a high seating position but it doesn’t help in looking over the bonnet. That said, it’s easy to adjust the seat height as per your requirement, and even its steering wheel has tilt and telescopic adjustments.

  • The dashboard and window sit low in the XL6, thereby helping in a better outside visibility from the windshield and side windows, suitable for new and inexperienced drivers. Like the Carens, the XL6 also comes with a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a tilt steering wheel but it misses out on the telescopic adjustment.

Middle Row Seat

  • Kia offers the Carens in both 6- and 7-seater layouts with captain seats in the second row for the former. The second row seat base is raised a bit to improve underthigh support. The seats slide/recline and can support most frames comfortably but taller people may find a lack of support for their shoulders due to the low seat-back height.

  • However, the passenger seated on the right side will have some less knee room which is down to the bulky air purifier placed on the backside of the driver’s seat.

Maruti Suzuki XL6: First Drive Review

  • Compared to the Kia, the Maruti MPV comes in only the 6-seater configuration. The second row seats of the XL6 are comfortable and wide enough for two individual occupants even with larger frames. However, the seat back could have been contoured better to provide more comfort to passengers along with improved underthigh support.

  • The middle row also has a slide function to generate more legroom. The long seat base, armrests, and reclinable backrest aid in keeping you comfortable on longer drives.

Third Row Seat

  • Access to the Carens’ third row is much easier and convenient as Kia has provided it with a one-touch electric tumble function for the second row seats. It also gets large rear doors, tall roof, and manageable floor height which add to the ingress/egress for the last row passengers.

  • The seats in here can accommodate people over 6 feet, even with two people of around 6ft seated in the front two rows. Tall people will also have ample headroom in this row and the large windows ensure they don’t feel claustrophobic. The raised seat base-tip ensures you have some underthigh support and don’t have to sit in a completely knees up position. It also gets a reclinable backrest to help find a comfortable posture or to adjust for luggage behind.

Maruti Suzuki XL6: First Drive Review

  • In the XL6, the second row seats don’t tumble down completely like the Carens. They can only be folded and slided forward to get into the third row. However, occupants may even walk from the passage available between the second and third row to avoid folding seats altogether.

  • It has a raised seat base thereby offering enough underthigh support for taller passengers. While tall people might find the headroom a bit less, they won’t complain of the knee and foot room in the XL6’s last row. 

  • The reclinable seats means you can be more comfortable and even get three-point seatbelts and adjustable headrests. Although you do sit a little knees-up, the seats won’t be troublesome in daily commutes. Due to the captain seats, the third row occupants can each stretch out a leg to get even more comfortable.


Common Features

Carens’ Feature Highlights

Touchscreen system

Digitised driver’s display

Tilt-adjustable steering wheel

Telescopic steering wheel

Push-button start/stop

Air purifier

Auto headlights

64-colour Ambient lighting

Cruise control

Ventilated front seats

Automatic climate control

Single-pane sunroof

Reversing camera

Wireless phone charger with cooling function

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Connected car tech

Cooled cup holders (front centre console)

Cooled can holders in the second row

Keyless entry

Six airbags

Electronic stability control

Tyre pressure monitor

Rain-sensing wipers

  • Both MPVs have got the basics right in the form of a touchscreen system (7-inch unit for the XL6 and a 10.25-inch for the Carens), auto AC, and keyless entry.

  • Being the more modern of the two, the Kia Carens gets a bucket load of modern amenities such as a wireless phone charger, ventilated front seats, and even an air purifier.

  • The Kia MPV’s safety shield is impressive too with features like six airbags, electronic stability control, and a tyre pressure monitoring system available right from the base variant.

  • While the current version of the XL6 misses out on additional airbags, rain-sensing wipers, and even an auto-dimming IRVM, we hope Maruti addresses some of these misses with the upcoming facelift of the MPV.

Cabin Practicality

  • All the door pockets of the Carens can take in large bottles and knick-knacks, with the front door pockets getting umbrella holders as well.

  • It also gets a pop-out cup holder for the front passenger, pop-out coin/ticket holder for the driver, and an underseat storage tray for the front passenger. There are secondary storage recesses under the door armrests as well which can be used to keep small items.

  • Features for second row’s occupants include two USB type-C fast-chargers, roof-mounted AC vents with blower control, and a tray table with a cupholder and tablet/phone slot (left passenger’s side).

  • The third row gets two USB type-C chargers, tablet/phone slots, and roof-mounted AC vents.

  • In the XL6, you get storage spaces in front of the cup holders (cooled) and large door pockets for bottles and other items. The sliding front armrest too hides a tiny little space for storage.

  • Maruti has provided it with roof-mounted AC vents with blower controls, a 12V socket, and bottle holder in the doors. However, given its premium positioning, we would have appreciated some more features including cup holders, folding sunblinds, and a USB socket.

  • Maruti is offering this row’s occupants with side armrests, cup holders, and a 12V socket for the left passenger.

Boot Space

  • While Kia hasn’t revealed the boot space capacity figure of the Carens, the storage capacity numbers for the XL6 are as follows: 209 litres (with all rows up), 550 litres (3rd row folded) and 692 litres (2nd row and 3rd row folded). We used our test luggage consisting of three suitcases and two soft bags to see which MPV could swallow the maximum.

  • In the Carens, with all the seat rows in use, its boot can only fit medium-sized and the smallest trolley bags. Fold the third row down and you can put in a weekend’s worth of the family’s luggage including the biggest trolley bag and two soft bags.

  • With all three rows up in the XL6, we could only fit in the medium-sized trolley bag and a soft bag. As with the Carens, the Maruti MPV too took all the three trolley bags and the two soft bags when its last row was folded down.

  • Both MPVs still had room to store your laptop or duffle bags when their respective third rows were folded down with the additional luggage.

Ride Quality

  • In the Carens, the suspension is on the softer side which means less of bumps and undulations felt inside the cabin, specially in the second row. The same theory is applicable to the third row of the Kia MPV as well. Not only that, as the seats themselves are comfortable, being seated here for longer journeys won’t be much of an issue either.

  • The Carens’ NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) levels are better worked too compared to the XL6 and so they play their part in insulating the cabin.

  • The XL6’s suspension is soft, keeping the MPV comfortable over broken patches of road and speed breakers. However, flooring it or when there is a sharp level change, passengers in the second and third-row do get thrown upwards. Luckily, it's quick to settle back after an undulation and there is no harsh jerk felt inside the cabin. 

  • In terms of NVH levels in the XL6, road noise seeps inside which affects the plushness of the drive.


So which of the two MPVs is better? Well, it’s pretty clear to put the Carens at the top given its obvious advantages like better interior quality, a stronger safety kit, ride quality, more features, and a wide range of engine-gearbox options. Of course, all of these come at a healthy premium over the XL6.

When it comes to the Maruti MPV, it does have its advantages in the space, practicality and boot space aspects which help it give a tough fight to the Kia Carens. Furthermore, its top-spec Alpha trim is equivalent to the mid-spec trims of the Carens as a more equipped offering. All of this makes it a good choice for buyers looking for a premium MPV for a set budget.

Read More on : Kia Carens diesel

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