Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 2
Week ending May 30
Driven this week 300 miles
Like many in the office, I turned to the Kia Carens for a bit of home removals action over the Bank Holiday weekend – and the fact that I'd sneaked a couple of days' extra break meant that I ended up with our long-term MPV for the best part of the past week.
That may sound like a chore to some – but I wouldn't agree with them. As I discovered late last year when I took the Kia to France on holiday, it's a comfortable bus for family duties. The engine is a bit noisy around town but it calms down for gentle cruising, and the ride is accomplished enough for everyday use too. Throw in a practical cabin and a neat, logical dashboard layout and you end up with a pretty good recipe for a people-carrier.
I put the boot and folding front seat to good use, packing in a television stand and a broken-up Ikea cabinet to help clear my garage ahead of a house move. I also racked up the thick end of 200 miles solo going to and from Lydden Hill in Kent to watch a motorsport meeting, and got out of the Carens at the end of the day feeling a bit windswept and dusty, but pretty relaxed.
Considering the sort of heavy lifting that it normally gets used for, our Carens is wearing reasonably well for nearly 10,000 miles. The display on the radio can get a bit confused and slip into 'night blackout mode' without being asked to do so, but that aside, there's very little to complain about.
In fact, I think there's a reasonably compelling argument for this car being the best model that Kia currently sells. It's bang on message in terms of practicality, it looks smart and it still represents good value. Our year with the Carens is passing remarkably quickly, and I know I won't be the only one here to miss it when it's gone.
By John McIlroy
Week ending May 14
Driven this week 283 miles
I've spent a fair bit of time with our Carens lately, and I've grown quite fond of it.
Don't get me wrong, it is in no way engaging to drive, and its refinement could be a lot better. For ease of driving, though, it's hard to beat.
There's a huge amount of room for the front passengers, visibility for the driver is good, the standard cloth seats are comfortable and the pedal weights are light but consistent. Gear changes can be a little notchy, but it’s a light, short action nonetheless.
I don't have a family to transport, but the Carens has been equally useful for me - mainly carrying bikes and cyclists to training rides.
This weekend called for something a little different: 10 wardrobe doors needed taking to the tip. With all seven seats folded flat and the front passenger seat slid forward, all the doors fitted with room to spare.
By Rory White