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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For There's plenty of space and prices are cheap

Against The cabin could be more flexible and practical, and build quality is below par

Verdict It's a cheap six-seat MPV, but it's not as good as most of its rivals otherwise

Go for… 2.0 CRD GSX

Avoid… 1.6 EX

Kia Carens MPV
  • 1. In five-seat versions, the rear seats have decent knee- and headroom. But, in six-seat models, legroom is tight in the third row
  • 2. The rear suspension can develop creaks, but this is mostly on models with six seats. Watch out for ex-private hire cars
  • 3. The steering is very light, so check the front wheels for kerb damage, especially on models with alloy wheels
  • 4. All Carens suffer from a poor, vague gearshift
  • 5. The petrol engines aren't very refined, so we’d go for the turbodiesel
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Kia Carens MPV full review with expert trade views

There’s nothing fancy about the Kia Carens - it’s simply a low-cost way of transporting five or six people in reasonable comfort. The 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrol engines are not especially refined, particularly when compared with a lot of the European and Japanese competition, and the 2.0-litre turbodiesel is not the most powerful or frugal.

There’s also plenty of noise in the cabin courtesy of the engine, wind and road, so longer trips can be a trial of endurance.

At least, the cabin has plenty of space for those in the front and, in five-seat form, the rear seats have decent knee- and headroom. If you choose the six-seater there are three rows of two seats, and the third row has limited legroom. It’s also a little tricky to reach the rearmost row, so these seats are best reserved for children.

Trade view

John Owen

Caren should probably keep it

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The petrol engines aren't very refined, so we’d go for the turbodiesel. It’s not as quick or as frugal as much of its competition, but it does a better job of pulling the Carens along when it’s loaded with people and luggage.

And, whether you choose a petrol or a diesel, stick to the five-speed manual gearbox, as the four-speed auto is sluggish and has a drastic effect on fuel economy.

The SX models come with electric windows and mirrors, but to gain air-con as standard you need to go for the GSX, which also includes anti-lock brakes, alloy wheels, roof rails and metallic paint.

The six seat Carens is a useful people carrier if you need the extra place over the five-seat model, but the five-seater has more usable boot space. Kia dealers will be the best places to start your search for a Carens.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Good demand for all models, diesel preferred to petrol though

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Carens is cheap to buy and cheap to run. Kia’s dealers are among the least expensive for labour rates according to Warranty Direct, and replacement parts for the Carens are also very affordable.

The petrol engines return economy in the low to mid-30s, so they're below average for the class on fuel consumption, while the diesel can manage up to 43mpg. All models fall into insurance group 8 or 9, depending on the size of the engine.

You may want to budget for an aftermarket alarm, as none of the Carens range has one as standard. However, all come with breakdown assistance for the first three years of their lives.

Trade view

John Owen

Caren should probably keep it

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The Carens is proving to be a tough car mechanically, and owners report that, while the engines may be unrefined, they are durable and unlikely to give trouble.

The rear suspension can develop a creak, but this is mostly on models with six seats that have been filled full of people and luggage on a regular basis, so watch out for ex-private hire cars.

Don’t be surprised by a poor, vague gearshift action as all Carens suffer from this. The steering is very light, so check the front wheels for kerb damage, especially if alloy wheels are fitted.

The interior plastics are not the most attractive and they will squeak and rattle. They should stand up to rigorous use without actually breaking, however.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Good demand for all models, diesel preferred to petrol though

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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