Good value MPV perfect for families
FOR certain big families the Kia Carens, above, will be like the washing-machine and spin-dryer under the stairs, a pure functional necessity. It is very much a 'meat and two veg' car – or more like a seven plates of meat and two veg vehicle – with no pretensions of beauty but the simple ability to carry a family of seven in relative comfort without being over-large or expensive. Being a Kia, it also benefits from worry-free motoring for seven years with the company's longwarranty.
The new Carens is slightly sleeker, lower and narrower than its predecessor, all of which, together with a very styled snout, do give the car a bit – and I stress bit – of visual flair.
It is the last of the old-style Kias to be redesigned and has been developed out of the very highly rated Cee'd hatchback. Almost magically the overall footprint of the car has actually decreased yet the room inside has increased – although, as with most vehicles of its ilk, the rear seats are really only for small people who have to be pretty agile at that. However, all five rear seats can be stowed individually to make for eventual cavernous space.
The car is very easy to park courtesy of a rear camera, and the level of equipment is good. Only a 1.7 diesel engine with 114bhp is available over here, and while I didn't ever have the car fully loaded, it was more than competent although a fair bit of gear work is needed – but an arrow on the dash guides you up and down.
The steering could be more positive and the Carens does roll a bit on corners, but overall this Korean is fairly good value at nearly €28k before p&p. It gobbles up the miles on the motorways in a very composed fashion. It is a pure family MPV in the best sense.