Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 2
Read the full Kia Carens review
Week ending December 20
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
Week ending December 13
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.
Week ending December 6
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