1.7 CRDi 4 Eco
For some drivers these
three letters spell an end to enjoyable
driving as family duties take priority.
But it doesnt
have to be that way
new 2017-model-year Carens
IF YOU WERE EXPECTING frumpy along with family-friendly, do not fear
the Carens is a breath of fresh air. Sure it's got the obligatory
seven seat-versatility and spacious cabin, but it's all wrapped up in an attractive
package penned by Kia's celebrated design guru, Peter Schreyer.
And while the latest Carens has generous room for multiple heads, it also turns
them: it's fronted by a sporty face wearing the instantly-recognisable Kia 'tiger-nose'
grille flanked by large sleek headlights cut deeply back into the front wings,
all underscored by a silver 'skid' plate.
An expansive, steeply-raked windscreen is framed by slim A-pillars while along
the sides clean flanks contribute to an athletic and aerodynamic profile. Once
seen it's distinctive enough to stay in your mind so, post-shopping, you won't
be wandering around the car park desperately seeking Susan… sorry, Carens!
a price range of £18,995 to £28,335 the Carens line-up offers four trim levels
that stick to Kia's easy-to-follow numerical hierarchy 1, 2, 3, and 4.
Power comes from either a 1.7-litre turbodiesel (with 114bhp or 139bhp) or,
for fans of unleaded, a 1.6-litre petrol with 133bhp.
packs more than enough
torque to get the job
done even with a full load
aboard: its 250lb ft
makes it the first choice
for those regularly using
all or most of the seats
for instance, for the
Equally its a fine choice
for long trips, where it
shines as a laid-back
Six-speed manual boxes are the default although the 139bhp diesel can, should
you prefer, be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Also keeping the
business of choosing straightforward is the fact that all Carens are seven-seaters.
The 139bhp 1.7 turbodiesel packs more than enough torque to get the job don,e
even with a full load aboard, and its 250lb ft makes it the first choice for
those regularly using all or most of the seats for the school run, for
Equally it's a fine choice for long trips, where it shines as a laid-back mile-muncher.
For either of those jobs and a host of others in between you'll
be glad of the manual gearbox's slick change action and
the six well-stacked ratios for fluent progress in day-to-day running; better
still, the pleasant and pokey engine is content running at low revs in higher
gears, which makes for a quiet and refined interior on the move.
And with a stop-start system doing its bit, economy is good driven in
MotorBar's usual demanding manner, the 139bhp 1.7-litre Carens averaged 42.1
over the course of a punitive week's testing. However, with an official combined
cycle figure of 62.8mpg there's plenty of scope for less pushy everyday owners
to generate more miles from their gallons.
But first you need to claim a seat… Swing open any door and you'll find a smartly-trimmed
cabin beckoning you in pale leather upholstery, carbon-fibre-look trim
and fine fit-and-finish together create a welcoming upmarket décor boosted by
a panoramic sunroof with a one-shot powered front section that retracts a long
The seats are supportive with holding but not intrusive bolstering and breathable
perforated centre panels, and any driver will immediately feel 'one-up' thanks
to ten-way power-adjustment including lumbar and an extending seat base front
cushion. Not that the front passenger is hard done by: both seats offer a fist+
of headroom and decent support for the upper back and shoulders, with plenty
of elbow room between them, along with three-stage heating and height-adjustable
seatbelts. Once set, the driver's seat provides a first-class driving position
with excellent 360-degree visibility helped by large glasshouse windows and
effective door mirrors.
smooth, satin black leather rim of the three-spoke wheel is nice and meaty to
grip (and heated, too) and it's comprehensively multifunctional with controls
for cruise, speed limiter, phone, voice, FlexSteer, and the driver's display
between the clear main dials. There's a digital speed readout in the trip display,
and mini secondary gauges within the rev-counter and speedo.
open any door
and youll find a smartly-
trimmed cabin beckoning
you in pale leather
look trim and fine
create a welcoming
upmarket décor boosted
by a panoramic sunroof
with a one-shot powered
front section that retracts
a long way back...
Most drivers will be glad of the traditional pull-up handbrake; an armrest between
the front seats that slides fore and aft at a height that will suit both the
driver and passenger; and a roomy footwell large enough for boot-wearing-drivers,
with a comfy left-foot rest for cruising.
And with a full complement of passengers on board, the standard-fit Parallel
Park Assist System really does take the stress out of parking for DIY-parkers
there are front and rear audible sensors along with a rearview camera.
And there's more: über sensible is the 'climate' button that switches the touchscreen
display to a full-screen climate control panel (after making your adjustments
just press the button again to return to the previous screen). Also handy if
you should accidentally get caught short of fuel (an easy oversight if you're
carting around a carload of lively kids!) is the system's offer to take you
to the nearest garage for a refill when the range drops to fifty miles.
The SatNav is user-friendly with full 7-figure postcode destination entry, 3D
mapping, and clear-cut auto junction zoom (brilliant for motorway exit lanes)
everything, in fact, to keep you on the right track.
If you like a tidy cabin and who doesn't, especially if you're regularly
carting a family around the Carens has more than enough in-cabin storage
solutions (class-leading, actually) to keep everything organised: a large cooled
glovebox, several centre console cubbies and trays, a lidded 'cave' ahead of
the gearlever, real-world bottle-holding door bins, numerous cupholders, and
two sizeable underfloor compartments in the second row.
Standard-fit kit, in addition to all of that already mentioned, includes Kia
Connected Services featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity with
TomTom Live, an eight-speaker JBL premium sound system with external amp and
subwoofer, 8-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth with voice recognition and
music streaming, USB and Aux ports, automatic dual-zone AirCon, power windows,
privacy glass (from the B-pillars back), ambient cabin lighting, heated powerfold
door mirrors (on-demand and automatically when locking-and-leaving), engine
Start-Stop button, drive-away auto door locking, a dual horn, and roof rails.
features include Hill-Start Assist, Electronic Stability Control, Cruise Control
and Speed Limiter, tyre pressure monitoring, auto lights and wipes, cornering
lights, and a full set of airbags.
is defined by packaging
and the Carens scores
strongly here too thanks
to a second row with
three individual seats
(each of which can
be slid fore/aft or folded
of the others) and a pair
of third-row seats that
fold away into the floor
when not in use...
desirability is defined by seat packaging and the Carens scores strongly here
too thanks to a second row with three individual seats (each of which can be
slid fore/aft or folded down independently of the others) and a pair of third-row
seats that fold away into the floor when not in use.
Wide opening door make for easy access to the middle row where each occupant
gets a multi-angle reclining backrest with a comfy headrest and a full fist
of headroom. Handy too are the flip-up trays with built-in cupholders fitted
to the back of the front backrests; lower down are expanding storage pouches.
Also appreciated are the rigid bottle-holding door bins and the mesh sunblinds
for the rear windows built-into the doors just pull up and latch.
Worth mentioning too is that the middle seat's backrest can be folded down flat
to provide a large table with three integrated cupholders. And of course there
are air vents to service the middle row along with Isofix child-seat mounting
points, and a seatbelt reminder to alert the driver if a second or third row
passenger fails to buckle-up or unfastens their belt during a journey.
The third row's two individual seats are reached by 'walk-in' tilting outer
second row seats. These also have their own bin and cupholder, and while there's
just enough room to accommodate lightly-built adults, they're perfect for smaller
children and teens who seem to love travelling back there in what they like
to call the 'executive suite'.
If you're not using all seven seats you can leave the rear pair folded away
under the floor and make full use of a 492-litre boot and that's just
loaded to below the window line; with rows 2 and 3 folded down (and locked safely
in place) the boot is transformed into a 1,650-litre loadbay with a totally
flat and easy-to-use seamless floor ending in a knee-height load sill.
More well-thought-out features include a dedicated storage well for the luggage
rollerblind cassette and two boot lights one of which is a removable
torch (it recharges in-situ). Bag hooks and a luggage net are present and correct
plus there's an extremely practical multi-adjustable load retaining system installed
in the boot.
the front passenger seat's backrest can be folded down if you need to carry
extra-long items, and should you decide to make use of the removable tow-bar
a braked 1,500kg can be pulled.
Carens is more than
satisfying to drive,
and not just for taking
the kids to school.
Well-mannered with minimal body lean (its
stylishly low for an MPV)
it drives reassuringly;
noticeably so on B-roads
and back roads.
Consequently, getting a
move on is definitely
be happy to do...
how does it handle? Let's jump right in here the Carens is more than
satisfying to drive, and not just for taking the kids to school. Well-mannered
with minimal body lean (it's stylishly low for an MPV) it drives reassuringly;
noticeably so on B-roads and back roads. For the record, these latest generation
Carens models are underpinned by a reworked suspension that delivers handling
and ride gains.
getting a move on is definitely something you'll be happy to do. Good brakes
and steering help too; Kia's FlexSteer system is electrically driven and offers
three weightings, from city-light to well-judged Sport which dials-in a tad
more weighting. We found it the best driver-oriented mode and left the FlexSteer
in its Sport setting throughout our week-long test.
While the suspension is firmer, that's in a control sense what it does
do is ensure a settled ride on quicker roads and a confident stride at motorway
speeds. So, a beneficial 'firmness' then, one that's good for handling but,
in ride terms, is agreeably compliant we're confident you're won't be
hearing any complaints from any of your passengers, whichever of the other six
seats they're occupying.
With its versatile and easily-reconfigurable people- and cargo-carrying abilities,
nice-to-drive character, contemporary good looks and comfortable cabin
and the best warranty in the business the latest Carens has real appeal…
and not just for those needing seven seats. ~ MotorBar
Kia Carens 1.7 CRDi '4' Eco
Maximum speed: 120mph | 0-60mph: 10 seconds | Test Average/Range:
Power: 139bhp | Torque: 250lb ft | CO2: 118g/km