Kia Carens 2 1.7 CRDi road test

  • We drive Kia's seven-seater family car 
  • Interior space and practical features impress
  • Low running costs and well equipped

The Kia Carens is a car that has sometimes been overlooked in what is a very busy MPV market with rivals like the Ford C-Max and Citroen C4 Picasso taking up most of the limelight.

Redesigned from the ground up, Kia is hoping to re-introduce families to the Carens helped by a new refreshed design, more interior space and improvements to interior quality.

The car on test, the Carens 2 1.7 CRDi costs £20,595 to buy and comes very well equipped including 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, reversing sensors, cruise control, LED daytime running lights, climate control  and USB and AUX ports all available as standard.

Inside the quality of materials used is impressive and far better than what you would expect considering the price tag.

To be a good family car, the practicality box needs to be well and truly ticked and this is where the Carens performs brilliantly.

Space in the second row is generous with plenty of legroom and headroom available thanks to an extended wheelbase, there is also plenty of storage options and handy fold away trays behind the front two seats with cup holders.  The extra comfort afforded by the sliding and reclining second row seats are perfect when only five occupants are on board, and the underfloor storage adds practicality.

Kia Carens

Second row of seats slide, fold and tilt

Behind the second row are a further two seats which can be easily folded into the boot floor if not needed. Children or young teenagers will have no problem getting into the back and will be reasonably comfortable, but a fully grown adult will find it a squeeze.

As with most seven-seaters, boot space is compromised with only 492-litres available, though this can be increased considerablye with all seats folded. The boot also comes with various storage options, nets and hooks to help transport your weekly shopping or luggage for the next family holiday.

When it comes to fuel economy, the 1.7 CRDi diesel engine performs well with an official figure of 60.1mpg, on test the car achieved mid 50’s so still a good performance.

Despite being a seven-seater car the Carens doesn’t feel big or cumbersome on the road. The Carens isn't exciting to drive but the ride is smooth and the supple suspension soaks up all the potholes and bumps thrown at it.

KIa Carens

Distinctive grille makes Kia Carens stand out

The 1.7-litre diesel engine is refined but not the quickest in the world, 0-62mph will be reached in 12.6 seconds with a top speed of 112mph.

Even with a car full the Carens handles well and still feels agile on the roads and the 114bhp on offer is enough power to make getting out of busy junctions easy work.

Would we buy one?

Definitely.

Spacious, refined, practical and loads of kit all for £20,595, the Kia Carens has it all and seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the family MPV market. When you add to that a seven-year warranty and competitive running costs the only real question left to ask is why there aren’t more of them on the roads. As a complete package the Carens more than delivers and is worth considering when you come to look for your next family car.

Also Consider

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The latest car has only just come to market and it boasts low running costs and lots of space.

Ford S-Max

A new model is expected for 2015 which brings new practical features and more space.

Vauxhall Zafira

Vauxhall's people carrier offers good value for money and a wide choice of engines.