Our cars: Carens, Qashqai and i10
Read the latest updates on the What Car? long-term test fleet. Our Kia Carens swallows more people and luggage than expected, and the Qashqai’s fuel cap release is just plain awkward...
Every day, we take a look at a few of the cars that we are living with. Today, it's the turn of the Kia Carens, Nissan Qashqai and Hyundai i10.
No car is more useful for handling a big occasion that a seven-seat MPV. As comfortable as it is economical, the Carens was the perfect car to take on the airport run to a friend's wedding in Norway.
However it was only on the journey home that its practicality was really put to the test. With seven people to carry, along with four days worth of luggage each, it was a real squeeze to fit everyone inside.
Unlike rivals such as the Seat Alhambra, the Carens makes you choose between carrying either people or luggage, rather than both at the same time. Fully loaded, it also felt a bit nervous on the motorway, with the light steering giving little confidence or stability at higher speeds.
Still, the Bluetooth streaming and air-con worked perfectly to keep the packed car comfortable and entertained on the two-hour journey home, and when we all climbed out at our destination a neighbour asked if the car was a Tardis.
That's surely the highest compliment anyone can pay a humble people-carrier.
By Paul Bond
Read all of our updates on life with our Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi.
In the car park
Database editor Mark Pearson finds a chink in the Nissan Qashqai’s armour - an awkwardly placed fuel filler cap.
Deputy consumer editor Matthew Burrow is even more confused about the lack of Bluetooth on a mid-spec Hyundai i10, because you get cruise control as standard.