Kia Carens: Welcome to Parkers

  • Top-spec 1.7 CRDi ‘3’ joins the Parkers fleet
  • Huge equipment list and fine build quality
  • Celestial Silver paintwork makes it stand out

Let me take you by the hand on a little journey if I may, because recently I was allowed to experience the joy of ordering a brand new car for the first time.

Having being told to choose any Kia Carens, I set about speccing up my ideal version. I had visions of agonising over a plethora of different optional extras, justifying to the folks at Kia why it had to be included. In my mind it was an exciting adventure of Enid Blyton proportions. Then reality hit home.

I’d decided to go for a top-of-the-range ‘3’ version, fitted with the 134bhp edition of Kia’s 1.7-litre diesel engine. Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, six-speed manual gearbox and more electronic goodies within the confines of its seven-seater body than a branch of Currys in the run-up to Christmas.

Our Kia Carens 3's interior is something of a button-fest, with lots of standard equipment

Therein lay the problem. In ‘3’ guise the Carens is so well equipped there was no opportunity to add a few touches to personalise it to my requirements.

LED day running lights? Check.

Leather seats? Yep.

Rear privacy windows and a glass roof? Of course.

Dual-zone climate control, heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition and 4.3-inch touchscreen for the sat-nav? Affirmative.

Surely it’s not got a heated steering wheel?? Well, actually it has…

All that and a considerable amount more of the kit fitted to this £23,895 people carrier will be reviewed in forthcoming updates, but for now the only significant choice was what colour to go for.

I’d been steered away from white and black for photographic reasons so the remaining options were four shades of grey. The bluey one wasn’t blue enough for me, silver and gunmetal a bit ‘me too’, so I went for ‘Celestial Silver’, a sort of greeny-beige-grey-metallic as you can see. It’s not unappealing and so far I’ve only seen one other Carens that colour, so it helps make it quite distinctive.

How many other Kia Carens have you seen in 'Celestial Silver'?

After spending a couple of hundred miles behind the wheel so far it’s proved to be a well-made, comfortable, spacious family car with a pleasantly surprising turn of speed. No, it’s not the most exciting of people carriers but with middle child being partial to travel sickness I’ll take driving comfort over driving thrills.

Three aspects of the Carens have irked me so far though, so I’ll be keeping them in mind to see if I get used to them: the centre armrest is set too low and too far rearwards, the sat-nav graphics are more 2004 than 2014 (although the directions are fine) and the leather on the steering wheel is particularly slippery.

Overall though, first impressions are good – the next six months will prove how capable the Kia Carens is.

Total mileage: 584 miles Average mpg: 51.4 mpg