Kia Carens 2013
Back in 2006 I reviewed the Kia Carens. Even back then it impressed me with its versatility and great ergonomics. What was I to make of its new younger brother?
The first thing that struck me then was its looks. It seems to have had a bit of an ugly duckling / very fine swan metamorphosis, with the new, current incarnation being a really pretty car to look at with elegant and smooth lines and the newer ‘smiley face’ grille now common to all the new Kias.
What an assault course we had planned for its arrival… a few days of gruelling stop-start city torture revolving around the ‘Dad’s Taxi’ routes, the post office runs, the shopping trip. Then to top it all off, we had to go up to London and back to spend the weekend living it up on a short break.
The first part of the exercise showed that city driving isn’t perhaps the Carens’ real vocation. Though easy to drive, it didn’t have that nimble and nippy feel that a good city car has. It coped fairly well with everything, but didn’t shine, perhaps due to a somewhat lumbering feel between the lights and roundabouts. Despite this, it had loads of space and legroom and could carry lots of people with ease.
Driving around faster, windy A-Roads was less of a pleasure as things just didn’t seem ‘balanced’.
The next bit – the long run - was a different affair. This is where the Carens comes into its own. Getting it on the motorway in 6th gear, cruise control on and iPod plugged in, it becomes a much better place to be. It cruises comfortably all day, keeping up at the legal speeds with ease and with a very low cabin noise level. It’s one of those cars that ‘gets you there’ invisibly and effortlessly, purring away at low revs thanks to the long-legged 6th gear.
It returned an impressive economy, a little short of the manufacturer’s claim of a 60.1 ‘combined’ mpg. All the same, we had a good week’s run out of it with plenty of miles left in the tank when we’d finished, so all in all a good return for what is effectively a good-sized family car.
Strengths:Roomy, versatile, stylish, economical.
Weaknesses:A bit lumbering and laborious to drive in city traffic, small rear seats, tiny boot space with all seats up.
Model Driven: Kia Carens ‘2’ 1.7 CRDi 6-Speed Manual ISG