Kia Carens 3 1.7

CRDi SatNav ISG

Kia Carens, action
Kia Carens, rear
Kia Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav
Kia Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav
Kia Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav
Kia Carens, front

MUCH of the success of Kia's Carens compact MPV is achieved by doubling the power of seven.

That is seven seats on all models plus a seven year 100,000 mile transferable warranty.

The Carens, in its latest form is something of a milestone for Kia as it completed the company's design revolution headed by its chief design officer Peter Schreyer who has overseen a major project which has witnessed the whole range replaced with new models which appeal in terms of style and quality as much as they do in terms of practicality and value.

The old days of Kia being seen as a cheap alternative to big hitters in the marketplace have gone with the range having a major new pull, especially in the family market in which Carens is placed.

One of the problems in the past with compact MPVs is that they were nearly always cars you bought out of necessity rather than cars you really want to own.

This is where the Schreyer touch comes to the fore. His positive and vibrant design language gives this family all purpose car a dynamic, elegant and quality stance which took me by surprise when I first got behind the wheel.

You almost expect to see the badge of a German famous name embossed on the steering wheel hub rather than the badge of a Korean car maker.

But this is now how it is for Kia, a manufacturer that has literally shot up in the outside lane in terms of user appeal.

The whole picture comes into focus after a short time at the wheel of the range topping Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav manual ISG which is on sale at £24,845.

A few years ago the canny motorist would have fought shy of shelling out the best part of twenty five grand on a Kia but things have now changed and the car has tremendous appeal.

It keeps pace with the times by being smaller than its predecessor with highly competitive packaging and a choice of efficient and refined power options.

The 1.7 diesel I experienced came with the more powerful output of 134bhp which endowed an almost sporty capability with 119mph on tap and a 0-60mph sprint of 10 second plus bags of torque and a stop/start system to aid economy.

Kia has not quite reinvented the compact MPV but has certainly refined it.

In terms of size it sits between five-seat and seven-seat models from competitors, yet it manages to swallow seven passengers and a reasonable amount of their gear due to a slight increase in wheelbase and  lower seat positions. There is even an underfloor compartment to stow the cargo screen.

FAST FACTS

Kia Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav ISG

Price: £24,845

Mechanical: 134bhp, 1,685cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: seconds

0-62mph: 56.4

Combined MPG: 16

Insurance Group: 132g/km

C02 emissions: 21%

Warranty: 7yrs/100,000 miles

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