1.7 CRDi 3 Sat Nav ECO
they used to say in silent-era
cut to the chase
the latest Carens from Kia is a car
for families. Its
than before but bigger in, roomy
enough to accommodate seven,
wilt under the urban
warfare that is modern family life...
IT ALSO LOOKS FAR BETTER than an MPV has any right to
blame Kia's talented Chief Designer, Peter Schreyer, for that! Seen in the metal
for the first time it definitely invites a second look: it's not just that by
now well-known 'tiger's-nose' grille, but the whole enchilada; from the rakish
front-end framed by shapely headlight units to the sculpted flanks and the pert
About that 'smaller but bigger' comment it's true, this latest
generation 7-seater Carens is indeed smaller on the outside: it's 20mm shorter,
15mm narrower and 45mm lower than the model it replaces, which puts it somewhere
between its five- and seven-seat rivals. However, thanks to a useful 50mm longer
wheelbase and lower seat positions, the Carens is roomier inside and more than
matches the competition for space.
you get seven seats for the price of five while you don't have
to use them, it's nevertheless nice to know they're there should you have the
Aided by a stop-start
system, the Carens economy is best judged
by that old saying
frugal is as frugal does.
The paper figures are
61.4 (extra-urban); and
A week behind the
wheel of the 134bhp
CRDi saw an average
The Carens offers a choice of three powerplants: a 1.6 petrol (133bhp+121lb
ft) and a pair of 1.7 turbodiesels (114bhp+191lb ft or 134bhp+243lb ft). All
are mated to a six-speed manual 'box. An automatic transmission option is available
but only with the more powerful diesel unit.
If you need to regularly drive with at least two rows filled, be it for the
daily school run or even less frequently holidaying en famille, then what you
need is plenty of torque under your bonnet.
It's not rocket science that the 134bhp diesel is the one to go for as it gives
you plenty 243lb ft of it. Thankfully, being a diesel, that doesn't
come at the expense of economy. Aided by a standard-fit (on all manual transmission
models) stop-start system, the Carens is best judged by that old saying
frugal is as frugal does.
The paper figures are 47.9mpg (urban); 61.4 (extra-urban); and 56.4mpg combined.
A week behind the wheel of the 134bhp CRDi saw an average of 47.4mpg recorded
credible for a 7-seat MPV; and all the more because we certainly
weren't hanging about.
More good news about running costs: all-inclusive fixed price servicing packages
for three or five years are available, so family motoring budgets can be accurately
planned. And, of course, you also get Kia's honest and up-front and fully transferable
seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Settle behind the agreeably meaty-ish leather-wrapped wheel multifunction
and covering just about everything you're likely to need while driving
and right away you'll appreciate the crystal clear instrumentation and the clean
action of the switchgear. Along with the interesting mix of smart trim materials,
the welcoming cabin ambience, and the quality fit and finish.
The grippy steering wheel has a heated rim (actually a very worthwhile feature;
brilliant on chilly mornings as well as on long journeys), seats, and the 3-stage
heated front chairs are well-shaped and provide decent support and comfort
the driver can effortlessly fine-tune his or her seat for the ideal driving
position thanks to ten-way electric adjustment (including powered lumbar and
cushion extension). Good, too, to have a footwell big enough so that you can
drive in boots if you need to.
front passenger gets manual seat controls but they sit just as comfortably.
Height-adjustable seatbelts, plenty of wheel adjustment for both reach and rake,
and excellent visibility out in all directions from the driver's seat can also
all be taken for granted.
While many carmakers
now offer fixed
panoramic roofs, the
Carenss is the real
McCoy a proper
special about pootling
along with just air
between you and a blue
sky or, even better,
You would expect plenty of useful cubbyholes in a family car; and you won't
be disappointed with the Carens's class-leading tally. Practical in-car storage
there is a-plenty, including a large chillable glovebox, a deep bin between
the front seats topped by an armrest that doesn't cramp the trad handbrake (still
preferred to electric ones by many drivers), numerous cupholders, door bins
that will hold bottles or cans and, in the second row, two underfloor storage
Other nice touches include sturdy pop-up picnic tables on the front seatbacks
for second row passengers, and a full-length glass sunroof that benefits all
seven seats. One-shot op, naturally, with one-shot powered sunblinds.
While many carmakers now offer fixed panoramic roofs, the Carens's is the real
McCoy a big, power-opening sunroof. There's something special
about pootling along with nothing but air between you and a blue sky or, even
better, a star-studded overhead night-time tableau.
The second row is fitted with three individual seats, and they all slide (about
nine inches) and recline independently of each other; there's plenty of room
for heads, legs and feet, and comfy outer armrests, as well as drinks-holders
in the rear doors themselves. Another plus: the centre seat can be folded to
use as a table with a trio of built-in cupholders. The deep side windows also
have built-in roller mesh blinds much appreciated, particularly
if you need to put youngsters in the middle row. And when not being used, all
three headrests park low on the backrests to maximise the driver's rearward
Seats six and seven are proper seats (not glorified camping stools like some)
and fold away into the boot floor when not required. Raising them calls for
nothing more arduous that a light tug on their pull ties. Access to them is
straightforward thanks to the 'walk-in' tilt 'n' slide mechanism on the outer
second row seats. For adults, this third row pair are best for occasional use
and for shorter trips; for younger family members they're just the job
kids everywhere really seem to prize sitting back there.
on those occasions when a spot of 'cargo carting' is called for, the Carens
won't let you down six of its seven seats can quickly be folded
flat. With seats one-through-five taken and seats 6 and 7 stowed under the floor,
the boot offers a very accommodating 492 litres and that's just
loaded to below the window line. Fold down row two as well and 1,650 litres
are available to you.
Seats six and seven
are proper seats
(not glorified camping stools like some) and fold
away into the boot floor
when not required.
Access is straightforward
thanks to the walk-in
tilt n slide mechanism
on the outer second
can also fold down the front passenger seatback for transporting extra-long
items. Another thoughtful touch: an underfloor compartment that's home to the
removable luggage blind when not required and which also provides some additional
storage as well as housing the removable towbar. Kia have even fitted a self-charging
portable LED torch which doubles as a boot light.
At the risk of stating the obvious, the Carens is a fully-fledged MPV and not
a sports car. But that's not saying that it can't be driven with some verve.
For a start, the turbodiesel is responsive and eager to let you make good use
of its power and torque; and the slick gearchange action is a willing collaborator
in getting the best out of the 1.7 litres.
It helps, too, that it's easy to place accurately on the road, and the grip
reassuring and the ride well damped a smidgen firmer than your
average people carrier but the upside is that your passengers will never be
subjected to any unpleasant wallowing. And there's no ride penalty from the
good-looking, multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels; no harshness, bangs, or crashes
from the suspension on the UK's pockmarked and potholed roads.
Body lean is well-managed, and Kia's electromechanical three-mode Flex Steer
system offers the driver the option of increasing or decreasing the power assistance
to the helm: so you can have Comfort (light) for tricky city parking, Normal,
or Sport for improved high-speed stability. If you enjoy your driving you'll
most likely, like us, stick it in Sport and leave it there for the duration.
The Flex Steer switch is on the steering wheel, so you don't have to move your
finger far to change modes.
you look at what you get as standard, the letters K-I-A could easily stand for
'kit in abundance'. Even on the entry-model (badged '1') Carens you get AirCon
with rear air ventilation, multifunction wheel, front and rear electric windows,
six-speaker radio/CD with MP3 compatability and Bluetooth with voice recognition
and music streaming, LED daytime running lights, projection headlights with
cornering lamps and 'welcome' and 'follow-me-home' functionality, electrically-adjustable
heated door mirrors, cruise control with speed limiter, a rear conversation
mirror, tinted glass, Hill Start Assist, Electronic Stability Control, etc.
just one rung up the trim ladder to the '2' version brings dual-zone AirCon,
privacy glass, fog lights, roof rails, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers,
powerfold door mirrors (on demand as well as on locking and leaving), reversing
sensors, and 16-inch alloys.
Kias Flex Steer system
offers the driver
the option of increasing
or decreasing the power
assistance to the helm
at any time
so you can have Comfort
(light) for tricky city
parking, Normal, or
Sport for improved high-
Drivers who want the fully monty should go for the top level '3' spec
it provides everything you're ever likely to want: heated front seats and a
heated steering wheel, leather upholstery, 10-way electric driver's seat, panoramic
glass sunroof, reversing camera, second-row sun blinds, and 17-inch alloys.
And the butterfly action wipers (a boon in bad weather as they clear to the
edges of the windscreen on both sides) get an upgrade to aero blades and a de-icing
Ticking the range-topping '3 Sat Nav' box adds navigation with 7-inch touchscreen,
3D views, traffic messaging (route adjustment for heavy traffic conditions),
and foolproof full UK postcode destination input plus an upgraded 8-channel
amplifier and a sub-woofer. With comprehensive levels of specification like
these, it's no surprise to find that Kia does not offer an options list.
Smart-looking, well-priced, and very well fitted-out, Kia's comfortable and
accommodating people carrier is just the right size for today's crowded roads
and today's style-conscious families. MotorBar
Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 3 Sat Nav ECO | £23,895
Maximum speed: 119mph | 0-60mph: 10 seconds | Test Average: 47.4mpg
Power: 134bhp | Torque: 243lb ft | CO2 132g/km