Our cars: Kia Carens - December

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  • The Carens will go for ages between windscreen washer refills

    The Carens will go for ages between windscreen washer refills

  • Climate controls are simple to use and air-con is quick to cool the cabin

    Climate controls are simple to use and air-con is quick to cool the cabin

  • Carens was pressed into load-lugging duties again this week

    Carens was pressed into load-lugging duties again this week

  • Carens is great at transporting people, but it's got a seriously practical load space, too

    Carens is great at transporting people, but it's got a seriously practical load space, too

  • Carens' bike rack is easier to remove than we expected - once unscrewed, it lifts away in one piece

    Carens' bike rack is easier to remove than we expected - once unscrewed, it lifts away in one piece

  • Kia-supplied Thule bike rack is brilliant, and having the bikes in place reduces the wind whistle

    Kia-supplied Thule bike rack is brilliant, and having the bikes in place reduces the wind whistle

  • New bike rack adds practicality, but produces a loud whistling noise at speed

    New bike rack adds practicality, but produces a loud whistling noise at speed

  • Carens was great for a tip run

    Carens was great for a tip run

  • Caren's steering wheel controls feel well built and satisfying to use. They're easy to tell apart by touch, too

    Caren's steering wheel controls feel well built and satisfying to use. They're easy to tell apart by touch, too

  • The dedicated storage area for the Carens' boot cover is another feature that makes this MPV genuinely versatile

    The dedicated storage area for the Carens' boot cover is another feature that makes this MPV genuinely versatile

  • Kia's steering has been frustrating Alex, regardless of which setting she puts it in

    Kia's steering has been frustrating Alex, regardless of which setting she puts it in

  • Rearmost seats are a squeeze for six-foot adults - but just about tolerable for short journeys

    Rearmost seats are a squeeze for six-foot adults - but just about tolerable for short journeys

  • Carens safely carried a treasured childhood dolls' house this week

    Carens safely carried a treasured childhood dolls' house this week

  • Mothercare's child seat fitting experts confirmed that our model of child seat didn't fit the Carens

    Mothercare's child seat fitting experts confirmed that our model of child seat didn't fit the Carens

  • Climb up to the back seats not too daunting, but it's sometimes tricky to get out again.

    Climb up to the back seats not too daunting, but it's sometimes tricky to get out again.

  • Angle of Carens' rear seat buckles caused dangerous 'buckle crunch' for our model of child seat

    Angle of Carens' rear seat buckles caused dangerous 'buckle crunch' for our model of child seat

  • Carens has been good as a camera car

    Carens has been good as a camera car

  • Rivals arriving thick and fast

    Rivals arriving thick and fast

  • The Kia's boot light detaches and becomes a torch - a neat touch.

    The Kia's boot light detaches and becomes a torch - a neat touch.

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Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 2

Read the full Kia Carens review

Week ending December 20
Mileage 6038
Driven this week 85 miles


The Carens' boot continues to impress. This week, it managed to swallow my childhood dolls' house, which was being ferried to a brave relative for restoration.

The high boot floor meant there was no need for my mum or me to bend over and risk a back injury when loading it, and the tall hatch opening easily cleared the rafters. Having removed my usual clutter from the car, there was loads of space left for the roof panels and sundry parts that have yet to be refitted.

Despite being rather fragile the dolls' house arrived safely at its destination, thanks to the Carens' generally forgiving suspension.

By Alex Newby
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com



Week ending December 13
Mileage 5953
Driven this week 140 miles

The Bluetooth phone system in the Carens is straightforward enough, but I find it irritating that you have to turn on the whole of the stereo/phone unit to use it. I usually want to make calls when I’m in the car, but I don’t always want music or the radio, and it seems the only way to do this is to turn down the stereo volume to zero.

That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but even using the controls on the steering wheel takes a few seconds, and at times that can seem like an eternity. There is a mute button, but this appears to work only for the stereo, and cancels itself as soon as you switch to ‘phone’.

All of this seems rather unnecessary given that the system doesn’t require the stereo/phone unit to be on to receive calls. Work that one out.

Alex Newby

Alex.Newby@whatcar.com



Week ending December 6
Mileage 5813
Driven this week 112 miles

Now that I've got a child seat that fits the Carens properly (I've swapped my ill-fitting Maxi Cosi Priori seat for my mum's Tobi model), family life with the Kia is going very well.

It's a bigger climb up into the back than my boys (aged four and two) are used to, but the little one is coping admirably, even if getting back down is a bit daunting.

The boot is swallowing everything I've thrown at it so far. I like to keep a fair bit of stuff in there at all times as you never know when you're suddenly going to need the buggy (a big three-wheeler), the family's wellies, buckets and spades (yes, even in winter) or a bag of spare clothes.

Nonetheless, I was able to get two large bags of compost on top of everything and still had lots of space left. So far, I'm impressed.

By Alex Newby
Alex.Newby@whatcar.com

Our cars: Kia Carens - November

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