This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Kia Carens (13-19) review.

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Just two engines are available - a 2.0-litre petrol and a 2.0-litre diesel, badged CRDi. The petrol unit develops 144bhp and comes with a five-speed manual transmission, but while it's smooth enough, it does have to be worked harder than the diesel and lacks low down pulling power. The 140bhp diesel model is just as quick as the petrol engine over the benchmark 0-62mph sprint (at 11 seconds flat), but is far better when it comes to overtaking, helped further by its six-speed manual gearbox.

It makes for very relaxed motorway driving plus it's also frugal, averaging a useful 46mpg. Both engines are available with a four-speed automatic gearbox, but it's not especially smooth or quick to change gear.

People don't usually choose people carriers for their handling prowess and the Carens is certainly not driver focussed. On twisty roads there's too much body roll and it doesn't feel particularly happy when thrown into tight corners, hampered by steering which is overly light and lacks feel. But the ride quality is excellent with the soft suspension soaking up potholes and providing a cosseting experience on motorways.

This makes it a great car for long journeys. It's easy to manoeuvre in town too, although rear visibility isn't ideal due to the thick pillars.