YOU’D like to think that Kia‘s latest version of the Carens has a stonking great big heavy duty battery under the bonnet.
Why? Because there are so many electrical sockets inside the commodious seven seater you could effectively run a small mobile office from in there.
Three – yes, three – of your normal 12v sockets are complemented by an aux and a USB input, making this the ideal car for the man on the move – and the man on the move with a growing family, the offspring of which seem to have a mind boggling array of electrical gadgets to play its these days.
Carens caters for them all and there are even seat back tables for those in the second row. It’s been described as a useful and well-structured family vehicle, and I wouldn’t argue with that.
Continuing the well equipped theme is a multi function steering wheel controlling radio, phone calls, cruise control and the onboard trip computer. And the well thought out interior has more cup and bottle holders and cubby holes than you could possibly need. Practical with a capital P.
All this in a car that might not have warranted much of a second glance in the past as compact MPVs aren’t the most exciting cars on the road, but is now a more attractive proposition than has been the case with its new modern look. Check out the new frontal treatment and you’ll see what I mean.
It has a neat enough profile for a seven seater, but then so do a fair few of the others in the current crop of mid size mpvs on the road. But ignore it at your peril, for the Carens really is a decent all round machine, one with a very acceptable level of interior space yet one which manages to feel no bigger than your average hatch and one which performs pretty well on the road.
It’s got seats so supportive and comfortable you probably wouldn’t mind unbolting them and sticking them in the corner of your lounge and its one of those cars win great ergonomics. The dash doesn’t look all that interesting but it’s tidy, with a big swathe of piano black on the model sampled here. It’s well thought out so that everything is in easy reach and Carens has a great driving position. I always appreciate good head, leg and shoulder room, but it’s not just the driver who benefits here – all the occupants do.
There’s a lengthy list of neat little touches that help to make your motoring a more pleasurable experience – and reassuring too from a safety point of view.
The 1.7 litre diesel engine under the bonnet serves up 114bhp and 192lb/ft of torque and seems lively enough, and will cruise effortlessly at motorway speeds. Combined fuel figure is quoted at 60.1mpg, which is not too shabby for what is a decent sized vehicle.
There is a bit of body roll but you’d be bit of a norbert to expect otherwise. What is there though is fairly well controlled so it’s in no way alarming for those aboard. Carens retains a nimble feel on the road, and doesn’t seem to suffer from any build up of noise, so trips are fairly quiet affairs.
Prices star at £17,895 to £23,895, and all versions are seven seaters, the last two folding flat into the floor when not in use. There’s a choice of three engines, two transmissions and three trim and equipment packages
What you get, without question, is a lot of car for around the £20k mark. Kia are aiming to make it as car you want to own rather than one bought out of necessity. They could be on to something….
FASTFACTS: Kia Carens ‘2’1.7 CRDi; £20,595; 1685cc four cylinder 16 valve diesel, 114bhp, 192lb/ft torque; six speed manual gearbox; Top speed 112mph, 0-60mph 12.6 secs; Fuel – urban 48.7, extra urban 68.9, combined 60.1; CO2 124g/km; Will it fit the garage? 4525/1805/1605 (l/w/h); seven year warranty.
© wheelwrite 2013