Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

The new Carens’ cabin is a pleasant place to be. It’s not just higher-quality than the models it replaces but also compares well with many other compact people carriers in the market.

The soft-touch material used on the dashboard has a high-quality feel, and although there are a few scratchier plastics out of the driver’s main sightline the overall impression is one of quality. The door inners, for example, have a perforated artificial leather finish which wouldn’t look out of place in a more upmarket car.

There are two interior colour schemes – a combination of black and beige, or predominantly black colour scheme. The broad centre console has a gloss black finish and black headlining can also be specified.

As with many current cars, the conventional handbrake has been replaced by an electronic button and automatic hill-hold arrangement to save space and reduce clutter.

The steering wheel adjusts for both height and reach and incorporates various switches for systems including the stereo, cruise control and Bluetooth.

Kia Carens comfort levels are a great improvement over the models the new car replaces and also compare well with competitors in the compact people carrier class.

Ride quality is very good, soaking up large obstacles such as speed bumps with aplomb. Smaller road imperfections can occasionally upset the Carens a little but overall it’s fairly composed on uneven roads.

Wind noise is pretty well contained, although engine noise is a little more noticeable than ideal. The Carens can be quite a noisy car to make progress in, particularly in the lower gears. It settles down at higher speeds however, and it’s a pretty relaxed machine on motorways and A-roads.

The plushest seats available on top trim models are not only heated but also have a three-level cooling system which is a welcome addition in hot weather. For passengers in the back there are rear air vents and on longer journeys front seat passengers benefit from an adjustable seat extension for extra comfort.