Three engines are offered: a 1.6-litre petrol and 114bhp and 134bhp versions of a 1.7-litre diesel. The petrol engine is smooth but feels gutless at low revs. The 134bhp diesel has no trouble hauling around a heavily loaded Carens, although it’s not as flexible as some engines in rival MPVs; you have to keep the revs above about 1600rpm. The lower-powered diesel isn’t as quick, but it’s more flexible and has a smoother power delivery, so is our favourite.
Kia Carens ride & handling
Kia has put comfort before agility, which is no bad thing in an MPV. The ride generally feels a lot more forgiving than a Peugeot 5008’s, although things can become a bit unsettled over scruffy road surfaces, and the Carens rolls far more than the Peugeot in bends. The fact that the Carens is quite slow to respond to steering inputs also counts against it on twistier routes, while the steering itself has an artificial feel.
Kia Carens refinement
The Carens is a pretty refined cruiser with either a petrol or a diesel engine, with the more powerful diesel particularly quiet on motorways. Other noise levels are decently low, with little road noise, and only a bit of flutter from around the door mirrors at higher speeds.