Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder direct-injection petrol, 122kW/213Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto, front-wheel-drive
Overall fuel economy: 7.9litres/100km
C02 emissions: 184g/km
Equipment: Includes reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers, and smart cornering headlights.
Safety: Yet to be tested
Factory warranty: Five year/100,000km
You know a car is versatile when it’s hard to classify it. The seven-seat Carens is a good example. For many, it’s a people-mover given the number of pews. For others it’s a station wagon, given that six of those seats can be quickly folded down to create van-like levels of haulage space. For me personally, the Carens is simply a Kia Cerato hatchback with a high-rise roof.
That final definition also describes the way the Carens drives. It shares much with the Cerato – same underpinnings, same powertrain, same electrically-assisted steering with three settings of resistance. So it’s easy to drop into the driver’s seat of the Carens after some wheel time in the Cerato and fail to notice anything that’s different. Even the design of the well-equipped cabin is identical, and only the more raked windscreen, higher roof, and a newly-added front quarter-window create anyb distinction. This is no problem, as the Cerato is a great drive, numb steering wheel aside.
However take the team to an away game, or be the designated driver on a stag-night do, and the extra versatility of the Carens will immediately make its presence felt. Although it’s best to usher those of smaller stature into the two seats in the third row, this is a genuine seven-seater, and a generous Gross Vehicle Rating (GVR) of 2200kg should ensure that any fatties in the group won’t exceed the capabilities of this well-made vehicle. Towing capacity is 1500kg just in case you think the Carens should be classified as an SUV. For extra grunt, a diesel version is available on special order, as is a six-speed manual gearbox for both engines. Ticking both these powertrain options will no doubt improve the fuel use of the Carens considerably.
The ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Kia’s burgeoning range of compact vehicles.
Not so good
Men don’t like to be seen in a car named Carens.