The GS adds chrome exterior and interior trim, leather-covered steering wheel and gear selector knob, heated door mirrors and the choice of 5 or 7 seats.
The GS adds chrome exterior and interior trim, leather-covered steering wheel and gear selector knob, heated door mirrors and the choice of 5 or 7 seats. The LS goes further with 16-inch alloys, auto headlamp control, soft-touch heating controls, climate control with an air quality system, in place of air-con, cruise control, rear parking sensors and an electric tilt and slide sunroof amongst other items.
The second row of seats in the 5-seat version are static while those in the 7-seater have fore and aft adjustment for easier access to the last row. The second row in both versions has a 60:40 split and fold function. Like the S-MAX, the rearmost seats can accommodate people up to 1.8m tall, although legroom can be a bit tight, and neither of the individual seats has to be removed for extra luggage space as they fold and dive down to form a flat load platform.
It is just as well because, as with the Ford, there is only 74-litres of luggage space when all seats are occupied. However, it is possible to mix and match seating positions to gain up to 2,106-litres capacity, measured to the roof and obviously at the expense of passengers. Having said that, the above is a good illustration of the Caren's versatility - from folding the seats into impromptu beds to load-lugging duties.
I did some 600 miles in the Carens during the test week and it proved to be very comfortable. The height adjustable seat and rake adjustable steering column made it easy to find a good driving position again, after driver changes and the cabin ergonomics made for an easy, relaxed journey.
There were just a couple of annoying points that came to light - every time the ignition was switched on the climate controls automatically reset themselves to air-con. But the really big niggle was the foot operated parking brake with a 'pull-off' handle to the left of the steering column. There seemed to be no mid point - it was either on or off, which makes hill-starts a little awkward in that it requires some fancy foot-work or clutch control.
The idea behind it is that it frees-up space between the two front seats and this is further aided by the high position of the gear-shift, on a pod below the centre console. Very little has been gained because the area between the passenger and driver has been filled with storage trays, cup-holders and a deep bin topped by a central armrest. On the subject of armrests, even the third row of seats has armrests over small storage units and there are up to 10 cup holders in the 7-seater and 8 in the 5-seater.
Kia Carens Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Kia Carens 2.0 CRDi LS|
|Colour||Pure Silver Mica|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||11 Seconds|
|Top Speed||116 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||54.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 13/11/06)||£15,995|