Kia Carens
Kia Carens

It rained, and rained, and rained!

Two things make trying out a new car for the first time that little bit more stressful: darkness and rain!

It is always nice to be able to see where everything is before it needs to be ‘used’ in action.

One of the first things that struck me with the new Kia Carens is the wonderful layout of the controls. Everything is ‘presented’ to you in an easy to reach, easy to see, easy to feel way. The centre console slopes gracefully down, as opposed to dropping vertically into the proverbial void. The ergonomics are excellent. Nothing seems to be in a position where it has to be ‘reached-for’. Everything is there for you in a style that I’m sure even Capt Kirk would be comfortable with as he boldly went where no man had been before.

However, back to that rain! You can imagine the scene…. Think of one of those David Attenborough documentaries, where he is suspended from the canopy of the rainforest, torrents of water descending from the heavens, dripping from the end of his nose, ears, and indeed anything else that seems to stand proud of his suspended body - then reduce the ambient temperature by 30 degrees!! It is the perfect recipe for a steam-up in any car! Combine it with a few puffs of exhaled breath and a miniscule bead of sweat on a driver’s brow and you have steam-room level condensation! There must be a couple of square metres of glass in the Carens and I swear that every last square millimetre was steamed up by the time I’d cleared the bottom of the road. I simply had to stop!

Simple Controls

After a cursory glance at the array of controls in front of me, it soon became apparent that all that was needed was a click of a single button on the really simple-to-use automatic climate control system. Within seconds the windows were clearing before my eyes, the air coming into the cabin was instantly freshened and I could be on my way again in a flash. To top it all, literally as I cleared the misted windows, beams of dazzling sunlight pierced the ominously dark rain clouds and made everything seem like a different day.

It was fortunate that, for the week of the review, I had rather a lot of running around to do. This gave plenty of opportunity to really put the Carens through its paces in a good selection of environments: heavy town traffic, a rush-hour-choked M4, some refreshingly windy (as in winding, not breezy) open A-Roads and lastly a very quiet night-time motorway jaunt.

I had memories of Kia Cars from way back in the 80s when I used to regularly be at the wheel of a Kia hire car to take me to or from various airports around the UK. Back then, the thought that always came to mind was that of a “Good Value” car, that was a cheaper alternative to the mainstream vehicles around at the time, but I never had a compelling urge to own one. This last experience has completely changed my opinions! I would happily exchange my existing 7-seater for the new Carens. I am very impressed! It is a sound, impressive, comfortable, versatile large family car and on top of all that it offers an impressive array of gadgets and gizmos to satisfy the little boy still in me!


Published : 11/02/07 Author : Melanie Carter

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