Our cars: Kia Carens - June

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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 25 June
Mileage 9955
Miles this week 130

No car is more useful for handling a big occasion that a seven-seat MPV. As comfortable as it is economical, the Carens was the perfect car to take on the airport run to a friend's wedding in Norway.

However it was only on the journey home that its practicality was really put to the test. With seven people to carry, along with four days worth of luggage each, it was a real squeeze to fit everyone inside.

Unlike rivals such as the Seat Alhambra, the Carens gives you the option of carrying either people or luggage, rather than both at the same time. Fully loaded, it also felt a bit nervous on the motorway, with the light steering giving little confidence or stability at higher speeds.

Still, the Bluetooth streaming and air-con worked perfectly to keep the packed car comfortable and entertained on the two-hour journey home, and when we all climbed out at our destination a neighbour asked if the car was a Tardis.

That's surely the highest compliment anyone can pay a humble people-carrier.

by Paul Bond

Week ending June 13
Mileage 9755
Driven this week 255 miles

As we enter the warmer months of the year, climbing into different cars every evening has me searching for one thing in particular – the climate control. 

Some systems are difficult to find on the dash straight away, some are complicated to adjust and some simply take an age to cool down the cabin.

Not the Carens’. Its large, clearly labeled buttons and simple rotary dials are mastered quickly and adjusting the various temperature and fan settings takes seconds. Even better, the cold air is almost instant, and the circulation mode does a great job of keeping warm air outside.

By Rory White
Rory.White@whatcar.com

Our cars: Kia Carens - May

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