with Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) to help inflate the mpg and tug down the CO2 output
Kia has been storming up the sales charts as one of the fastest growing car brands, winning friends for its stylish designs and sensibly-priced, good-to-drive models. Once known only for bargain-basement budget products, Kia now has a range of well-engineered, well-regarded cars that are dearer than they used to be but still good value.
The Kia Carens has undergone a major make-over to transform it into a much more appealing car in this third generation model that arrived fresh on the UK market for spring 2013. It is the third incarnation of a model that has been around since 1999. The old second-generation Carens was a car you could easily overlook, worthy but lacklustre. The new car is much more stylish, spruced up by Kia design chief Peter Shreyer and his team, considerably better to drive and is now a much more viable alternative for MPV stalwarts like the Ford C-Max and Vauxhall Zafira.
The Carens is a seven-seater with second and third rows of seats that fold down flat into the floor, for when you need more of a van than a car on those trips to B&Q or Ikea. Seven seats are standard in all versions of the car.
There is a choice of three engines, one petrol and two diesels. All three have direct injection and both the diesels have common rail technology. The line-up is: a 1.6 litre petrol (133 bhp), 1.7 litre diesel (114 bhp) and 1.7 litre diesel (134 bhp). There are three trim and equipment levels, 1, 2 and 3. On-the-road prices start from £17,895. Both six-speed manual and six-speed auto versions are available, and all the manual models come with standard stop-start.
This mid-range diesel-engined Carens has a turbocharged 1.7 litre, four-cylinder engine that produces a respectable 114 bhp of power output and 192 lb ft of torque, with a CO2 output of 124 g/km and a combined average fuel economy figure of 60 mpg. It’s no ball of fire, but it does a good job. The car’s top speed is 112 mph and the 0-62 acceleration time is 12.6 seconds. Driven with only the driver and one passenger on board, it feels lively and has good pace through the gears. It is undoubtedly a different story with a full load of passengers, but the engine feels robust enough to cope well enough. The gear action is slick and steering feel is reasonably informative.
All manual transmission versions of the Carens are equipped with Intelligent Stop and Go (ISG) to help inflate the mpg and tug down the CO2 output, as well as cutting out the noise and fumes that are caused by an engine idling while sitting in traffic.