Our cars: Kia Carens - May

Article 3 of 12 See all
  • 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.

/

Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi 2

Read the full Kia Carens review

Week ending May 30
Mileage 9500
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
John.McIlroy@whatcar.com


Week ending May 14
Mileage 8912
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
Rory.White@whatcar.com

Our cars: Kia Carens - April

advertisement

Free car valuations

advertisement