Review

Kia Carens MPV

Price  £18,195 - £27,055

Kia Carens MPV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Comfort and refinement
  • Plenty of equipment
  • Practical seven-seat layout
Cons
  • Getting expensive
  • Rear seats only for occasional use
  • Not the best driver’s MPV

At a glance

The greenest
'2' 1.7CRDi 114bhp ISG 7-seat 5dr £20,995
The cheapest
'1' 1.6GDi 133bhp ISG 7-seat 5dr £18,195
The fastest
'3' 1.7CRDi 134bhp ISG 7-seat 5dr £24,300
Top of the range
'4' 1.7CRDi 134bhp Auto 7-seat 5dr £27,055

"The Carens has been brought up to Kia’s now-familiar high standards of design, technology and build quality."

The Kia Carens gets the good looks that we’ve come to expect from the latest models in the Kia range. It's available as a seven-seater only and the rear row of seats can be folded down almost completely flat.

This MPV competes with models such as the Renault Scenic and Ford Grand C-MAX, along with the Volkswagen Touran and Vauxhall Zafira. All these models start from around £19,000, so the Carens undercuts them slightly – but with Kia aiming for higher quality and higher list prices in recent years, the days are long gone when this brand was the bargain-basement choice.

Engines come in the form of two diesels and one petrol, and the diesels offer the best balance between fuel economy and performance, although they’re still not as quick as those in rivals such as the Fiat 500L MPV. The most economical engine in the range is the less powerful diesel, which returns around 60mpg.

The Carens isn’t an exciting car to drive, but it gives you the option of changing how the wheels respond to your steering inputs, so you can feel comfortable both in town and on the motorway.

This generation of the Carens is smaller than the last one, so it's easier to get around town in. Space inside hasn’t been compromised, though – in fact, there's more than ever. There are many ways you can slide, fold and arrange the seats inside for maximum flexibility.

The Kia Carens model range is easy to understand, with the basic Carens 1, mid-range Carens 2 and top-of-the-range Carens 3 making up the available trim levels. Kia has been generous with kit across the range: all models get air-conditioning, cruise control and electric windows. There's a decent amount of safety kit included and a five-star crash-test rating from Euro NCAP, too.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4 / 5

Less powerful diesel is the best Kia Carens engine for performance and fuel economy

Engines, drive & performance

3.8 / 5

The Kia Carens doesn’t offer a class-leading drive, but it is comfortable

Interior & comfort

4 / 5

The Kia Carens has a spacious interior and is quiet on the motorway

Practicality & boot space

4 / 5

Seven seats come as standard with the Kia Carens

Reliability & safety

4.5 / 5

The Kia Carens has proven engines and a solidly built interior

What the others say

4 / 5
based on 3 reviews
4 / 5
"The signature Schreyer style is a little diluted in MPV form, but that's a tough challenge for any designer. Meanwhile, practicality is impressive for a car that's smaller than its predecessor, and there are huge improvements to comfort, refinement and quality."
4 / 5
"The 2013 Kia Carens is a strong effort from the Korean company. Combining competitive efficiency, decent space and welcome practicality despite a smaller footprint than the competition, it should certainly be on your shortlist if you're looking for a seven-seat MPV."
4 / 5
"True, it's pretty ordinary to drive, but then so are most of its rivals and the Carens compensates with good ride comfort and refinement. Given that the Carens also comes with a smart cabin, competitive space and the reassurance of a seven-year warranty, it's definitely worth considering."
What owners say 
4.25
4.3 /5 based on 30 reviews
67%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
18 Dec 2014
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