Kia was caught testing their Carens MPV and spies were on hand to catch a few pictures. The Carens, which will be an MPV vehicle, is set to compete against the Mazda5, Toyota/Pontiac Matrix/Vibe, and other upcoming MPVs. Depending on who you talk to in the US, these vehicles are classified differently than in Europe. Do not be fooled, they serve the same purpose. They are fuel efficient people movers, and if Kia brings their offering here they will get a early foot hold in a potentially explosive market.
With the American aversion to hatchbacks fading, and fuel pricing making many SUVs unattractive to suburban and urban dwellers, these space and fuel efficient vehicles will have a definite appeal. They should offer small car-like economy while still providing comfortable accommodations. We are predicting this segment will catch on with proper marketing and product tailored to the American market. A good example of what will work can be found in the Ford Fairlane concept. The styling is attractive, while still offering car-like economy with interior packaging that is superior to that found in an SUV. Despite it?s many critics, the Scion xB is probably the best example of this interior design mindset. The Scion xB has more room in the most important interior dimensions than most vehicles, regardless of class. If a larger vehicle was designed similarly, meaning upright seating, low step in height and a high roof, the results would be a cavernous, comfortable interior. This is what many buyers, especially those with families, are looking for.