The Kia Carens was first introduced in 1999 and since then it has changed from being a mediocre looking, mid-sized MPV into the attractive and versatile third generation that is on our roads today. This seven-seat vehicle is pooled with some excellent competition but if Kia could get more people to test drive the Carens, we think it could become a big seller. Competition for this MPV includes the Renault Grand Scenic, the Volkswagen Touran, the Opel Zafira, the Ford Grand C-Max, the Mazda5 and the Toyota Verso.
Kia has decided to keep things simple under the hood with only one engine available. This 1.7 litre diesel offering gives 0-100 km/h in 13 seconds which is slow enough but if you drive this vehicle sensibly it should return a very competitive fuel economy. According to the manufacturer it has a top speed of 181 km/h. There is a petrol engine available to other markets but it’s not available in Ireland. The diesel offering is smooth though and it has no problems lugging around a full car.
Yet again Kia has focused on driver and passenger comfort more than the handling abilities of the vehicle. The comfort focus is a good choice by the manufacturer because most MPV customers seem to look for versatility over a fun drive. On corners there is a small amount of body roll, while in all three driving modes the steering is light and could offer a bit more feedback. The Carens is not an amazing drive but it would be fair to say that this is the norm for many MPVs, and this car is by no means the worst.
The Carens is well-built and nicely padded. The 1.7 litre diesel engine is a work horse and it doesn’t moan and groan like other diesel offerings from Kia. The Carens is particularly refined at motorway speeds. Road and wind noise is unobtrusive too.
The entire cabin of the Carens has an enclosed feeling to it without being claustrophobic. The plastics in the dash are of the same high quality that you would find in most of Kia’s fleet. The seating position for the driver is excellent and it’s easily adjustable too. The windows are large and this leads to great visibility around the car. Two trims of the Carnes are available, EX and Platinum. There is a wide range of items that come as standard with the Carens including USB ports, Voice Activated Bluetooth, a power socket, and a good sound system. Opt for the more expensive Platinum and you will also get start/stop technology as well as 17 inch alloy wheels.
In 2013 the Kia Carens received a five star rating in the Euro NCAP. Its adult occupancy rating was an excellent 94%, whereas it scored 76% for child occupancy. The Carens comes with six airbags and a range of driver assistant systems.
When you fill the 1.7 litre diesel with fuel your range should read as 1,100 km. While the fuel economy of this vehicle is excellent we only managed to achieve 900 km – we consider this to be good especially when you know that the fuel tank has a capacity of 58 litres. Apart from that the Carens is perfectly spacious and comfortable. There are three full-sized seats in the second row and the foldable third row is good for children only. The front cabin offers plenty of room too. When seats 6 and 7 are in place the boot is small but with them down there is room for buggies, shopping and suitcases.