BOOMING Korean car maker Kia has replaced two models with the all new seven seater Carens that has the impressive new family front designed by a former Audi design chief which is set to take the MPV market by storm and further boost Kia’s record UK sales writes Bryan Longworth.
The third generation Carens that replaces the previous model and also the larger Sedona is a much better looking vehicle which with Kia’s seven year warranty should make a sizeable impact in this market sector.
The previous Carens had rather bland styling but now that Kia’s President and Chief Design Officer Peter Schreyer formerly design boss with Audi haS worked his magic on the front of the new Carens especially and other recent models Kia now has a range of really attractive quality cars.
There are two diesel and one petrol engine, six speed manual and automatic transmissions, three trim levels, C02 emissions from 124g/km and prices start at £17,895 on the road.
The latest Carens is slightly smaller than the previous model but overall it is a much better car with far more street appeal thanks to the Schreyer influence which is not only evident on the outside but also on the inside that has a quality ambience.
There are three individual sliding and reclining centre row seats in place of a split bench and two seperate seats in the rear which fold flat into the floor of the load area and are easy to operate.
The three trim levels are badged 1, 2 and 3 with the first level having projection headlights and cornering lamps and Bluetooth with the second level having 16-inch alloys, fog lights and roof rails with the third level adding 17-inch alloys, panoramic sunroof,leather seats, heated front seats and steering wheels and colour reversing camera.
Prices start at £17,895 and the three power units are a 133bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine with two 1.7-litre diesels of 114bhp and 134bhp with six speed manual and automatic transmissions being available.
I drove models with all three engines and was immediately impressed by the feel of the car as soon as I started driving especially the steering, handling and road holding qualities which match the sleek styling and top quality interior .
New Carens should appeal to family owners in particular because of the seven seats and stowage space especially with the two rear seats folded and there is plenty of space for the oddments that young passengers are likely to take on board.
The manual gearbox provides precise changes but I would go for the six speed automatic model with the 134bhp diesel engine which costs £21,995 and this should have considerable appeal for those owners preferring relaxing auto gear changing with this type of vehicle.
There is no doubt that Peter Schreyer has helped to revitalise the Kia range both inside and out and the latest Carens is yet another example of just how much his influence has helped boost the image and sales of the company whose cars now have real style and quality.
My Verdict: Another Kia winner.
Model: New Kia Carens.
Engines: Two diesel and one petrol.
Transmission: Six speed manual and diesel.
Trim levels: Three.
C02 emissions: From 124g/km.
Warranty: Seven years.
Price: From £17,895.