Carens driven by

style and space

Kia Carens, rear
Kia Carens

KIA'S new compact MPV the Carens will cost from £17,895 when it hits the streets next week.

The latest Carens, now in its third generation, is the final cog in a wheel set in motion by the Korean brand's design chief Peter Schreyer just a few years ago.

His plan was to completely transform Kia's range by renewing every model - the new Carens completes the job.

All versions of the car, which has three trim grades and equipment packages, boast seven seats and are powered by a choice of one petrol engine and a pair of turbodiesels.

While the majority of multi-purpose vehicles are designed to meet family needs rather than look stylish, the Carens has been designed to do both.

And Kia believes that like the popular Sportage crossover, the new Carens is also a car people will want to own rather than buy out of necessity.

Fractionally shorter, narrower and lower than its predecessor, the newcomer sits somewhere between the five-seat and seven-seat models from competitors.

Yet thanks to a 50mm increase in wheelbase and lower seat positions it scores highly on space with half decent head, leg and shoulder room in all three rows of seats, plus increased luggage space and a lower loading lip.

There are now three individual sliding and reclining centre row seats in place of a split bench and two separate seats in the rear, all of which fold flat.

You also get a more accommodating luggage area and - for the first time - an under-floor compartment, while the front passenger seat also folds flat to allow for longer loads.

Body-coloured or chrome exterior door handles and body-coloured door mirrors - with LED indicators and kerb lights on all but entry-level versions - are among premium touches, and most models have alloy wheels and roof rails.

Each trim grade - badged '1', '2' and '3' - comes with its own unique seat material and a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearshift with chrome surround are standard.

Of the engine line-up, the 1.6-litre petrol unit produces 133bhp and has a Combined fuel figure of 44.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 149g/km. Performance is 0-60 in 10.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 115mph.

The 1.7-litre CRDi diesels produce either 114 or 134bhp and fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are 60.1mpg and 124g/km and 56.4mpg and 132g/km respectively, and a diesel particulate filter is fitted as standard.

Performance figures are 0-60 in 12.6 seconds with a 112mph top speed for the standard version while the more powerful engine option can complete 0-60 in 10.0 seconds with a top speed of 119mph. Stop-start is standard on all manual models.

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