Our cars: Kia Carens - September

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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

Week ending September 27
Mileage 3000
Miles this week 700

Read the Kia Carens review 

The Kia Carens is standing up well to a week’s duties as a load-lugger for the McIlroy family’s first holiday as a threesome. It’s amazing how much more clutter you carry with a baby on board; beyond a decent-sized suitcase, shared between me and Mrs Mac (major sacrifice on her part there) we had a buggy chassis, a stroller attachment, a car seat with accompanying ISOfix base, at least two boxes of nappies, a changing bag, an ‘essentials’ bag (mainly wipes and blankets), two laptop satchels - and then a decent shop from the first supermarche the other side of the channel.

Still, the Carens had enough space for all of it; in fact, with the third row of seats folded down I was still able (just) to get the main bags, the buggy chassis and the shopping into the boot, and still get the cover over the top of it to keep it all hidden from view.

I’d expected the Carens to be more at home on autoroute than French D-roads but in fact, regular two-lane travel seems to suit it better. There’s a fair amount of wind and road noise at motorway speeds (perhaps the Nexen tyres have something to do with the second of those traits), but at the lower cruising speeds on smaller roads the Kia’s diesel engine fades away and everything’s a bit more refined.

The fuel economy has been a pleasant surprise, too. We’re a reasonable distance beyond Dieppe, yet the Carens has done the entire journey from Surrey to here, and everyday drives to the coast and back, and it still has around a quarter of a tank left, with an average economy figure of more than 50mpg. Given how laden it’s been with clobber - even after we’d dumped our stuff at the cottage - I reckon that’s an impressive figure.

By John McIlroy

Week ending September 20
Mileage 2300
Miles this week 130

Read the Kia Carens review 

The What Car? Kia Carens is about to get one of the challenges of its life: not just a foreign holiday, but the first foreign holiday for the McIlroys since baby Mac turned up a few months ago. As any parent will know, the first trip to stay anywhere that isn’t your own house is filled with nerves, so you end up packing considerably more than you needed to (I’ll swear that at one point earlier this week, my brain did register the thought that we could dismantle our son’s wooden cot bed and take it instead of a travel cot).

Anyway, the Kia is parked outside now, its boot deliciously empty and innocently awaiting what is bound to be an onslaught in the coming hours. I’ve just retrieved the neat boot cover from its storage area under the front of the boot floor (I’m being optimistic here that we won’t end up loading it to the ceiling), and I uncovered this natty use for the boot light. In normal use it’s precisely that - but flick a button and it comes out so you can use its other bulb as a torchlight.

Neat touch, that. I’m looking forward to finding a few more in the depths of Normandy next week. In fact, I’m counting on it.

Week ending August 30
Mileage 1645
Miles this week 145

Kia Carens

The Kia Carens' seven seat capability has been put to the test this week, and its cargo was a little larger than your average family. Seven members of the What Car? team decided to jump into the MPV to see whether the Kia's rearmost seats are capable of carrying larger passengers or if it is only suitable for smaller inhabitants.

Two of those that jumped in were our video team, so we caught the thoughts of all concerned on film - watch how we got on above.

Our cars: Kia Carens - August

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