Seven seats as standard, cheap to buy, long warranty, spacious
Resale values might struggle, not particularly exciting
Like the previous model, Kia’s all-new Carens compact MPV promises practicality and space, but this time it has a modicum of style. It’s not radical, but the more modern design replaces the rather humdrum outgoing model which traded on value and fitness for purpose.
New from the ground up, the ’13-on Carens is an affordable people carrier with a long wheelbase affording passengers plenty of leg- and headroom as well as a sizeable load area.
Interior quality on the previous model wasn’t particularly awe-inspiring but this third-generation Carens is an absolute improvement. Better materials, soft-touch plastics and a swisher cabin design make the Carens more desirable and when you factor in Kia’s seven-year warranty and seven-seats fitted as standard it becomes a sensible proposition for families.
The seven seat arrangement involves three rows of seats. The second row comprises three ISOFIX-compatible seats, all of which are mounted on individual runners and adjust independently. Behind them, there are a further two seats integrated into the boot floor in a 50:50 split.
They are simple and quick to lift into position by pulling a strap mounted on the back of the seats themselves. To drop them back into the floor, simply pull the strap again and they fold away neatly.
Greater visual appeal
Under the skin is an all-new platform (with bits borrowed from the popular cee’d hatchback) and the new Carens is shorter, narrower and lower than the previous model. The wheelbase has been increased, however, and the windscreen moved further forwards to free up some extra interior space. To its credit, despite the Carens’ seven-seat capacity it doesn’t look or feel all that big on the road and is easy to manoeuvre.
The new Carens is the final model in the Kia range to be updated with the company’s current ‘tiger-nose grille’ look, and it appears far more modern and attractive than the outgoing Carens and Sedona models it replaces.
Trio of engines available
There are three engine choices: a 1.7-litre turbodiesel available with either 114bhp or 134bhp and a 1.6-litre petrol engine with 133bhp. All engines are paired with a six-speed manual transmission as standard. An automatic gearbox is available too, although not with the lower-powered diesel engine.
So the Carens now looks the part, but is it a genuine contender if you’re in the market for a compact people carrier? To find out, read on for our full Kia Carens review.