- Solid interior quality
- Great value for money
- Not much fun to drive
- Petrol engine is underpowered
- Disappointing automatic
Practical, well-equipped 7-seater MPV.
The Kia Carens has been around since 1999, but it’s only in its latest guise that it has become a genuine contender in the family-focused SUV market. The third generation Carens is definitely a car worth considering though. It’s practical, stylish, and comes with plenty of kit as standard. It’s not exactly fun to drive, and it lags some way behind the Ford S-Max for genuine enjoyment. But it’s comfortable enough, and comes with a solid safety record. All in all, if you’re on the lookout for a family SUV, the Carens is a great option.
Seven seats are the biggest selling point.
Kias of old haven’t been known for their high-quality interior. But the Caren’s features a pretty classy design, that’s designed to withhold the rigours of family life. Practicality is also decent, whilst the equipment list will have money-savers purring.
Sit behind the wheel of the Carens and you might just be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the design. It’s modern, clean, and simple, making it a great car to control on the move. It’s a long way ahead of the Kias of old. Material quality is also pretty decent. There are some harder feeling plastics further down the dash, but the majority of the materials are soft-touch, and they feel pretty plush. Controls are logically arranged and well-damped as well, and few buyers will be disappointed when they’re behind the wheel of a Carens.
For a car in this class, practicality is king. The Carens is thankfully pretty impressive in this regard. The fact that it has seven seats will be a huge selling point for family buyers. And whilst they’re only really suited to children, or for occasional use, that’s what most buyers will use them for. The boot capacity with all seven seats up is a meagre 100 litres. Which isn’t big enough for much at all. But with the rear two seats folded down, there’s an impressive 492 litres on offer. The false floor is a nice practical touch as well.
As with most modern Kias, the Carens comes with a hefty equipment list, especially for the price. The entry-level 1 trim comes with cruise control, air-con, Bluetooth, and USB connection. Mid-range 2 trim is probably the pick of the bunch, adding alloy wheels, climate control, and automatic wipers and lights. Whilst range-topping 3 trim adds a reversing camera, and a panoramic glass roof.
When it comes to family motoring, the interior of the Kia Carens is mightily impressive. It’s well-designed, well-built, and comes with plenty of kit as standard. And perhaps most importantly, it’s built to last. Essential to know if you’re buying a used model.
Comfortable, but not a great deal of fun.
Driver enjoyment isn’t usually the most important factor for family buyers searching for a 7-seat MPV. It’s a good job, because the Carens certainly isn’t much fun on twisty roads. The steering offers little in the way of feedback, though its light character certainly makes it easy to park, and to drive around town in. Body roll is noticeable at speed, but it’s not enough to cause the little ones in the back to be car sick. It’s not fun, but it’s certainly functional.
Suspension and Chassis
More important to family buyers is comfort and refinement. Thankfully the Carens ticks both of these boxes. The soft suspension setup irons out all but the worst that British roads have to offer. It’s certainly more comfortable than the Ford C-Max. Road and wind noise are also pretty hushed, even at speed. So if you’re planning on doing a lot of motorway miles, it won’t be any more of a chore than it should be.
Gearbox options in the Carens come in two guises. The standard throughout the range is a six speed manual transmission. It does the job reasonably well, with a positive accurate action. A seven-speed automatic is also available with the most powerful diesel. It’s decent enough to use, but it is more expensive to buy, and it does significantly reduce fuel economy.
Diesel engines are the pick of the bunch.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Carens, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. The two diesels in the range will best suit most families, because the entry-level petrol is both underpowered, and more expensive to run.
If it’s power that you want from your Carens, you’re not going to be particularly excited with the engines on offer. Particularly if you’re a petrolhead. But most family buyers aren’t. The most powerful 1.7 litre diesel engine performs pretty well for a car in this class. It produces 139bhp, and will accelerate from 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds. Hardly blistering. But it has enough power to easily cope with day-to-day family life, even if you tow a caravan at the weekend.
Eco-friendly buyers are becoming more common in the family market. The Carens performs reasonably well in this regard. The low-powered 117bhp diesel is the greenest on offer. It produces a respectable 117g/km of CO2. Not class-leading, but pretty decent. This model also happens to be the best option for those who like to save money on a day-to-day basis. Costing just £30 each year in road tax, and with up to 60mpg on offer, this engine will save you plenty of money over the course of a year.
For the majority of buyers, going for a diesel engine makes a lot more sense than the petrol in the Carens. The low-powered model is the best for money-savers, though the 139bhp diesel offers greater flexibility for out of town driving. And if you regularly transport the full seven people, this is the one to go for.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with solid kit as standard.
As with nearly every car in its class, the Kia Carens easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It performed particularly well in the adult safety category, with an impressive score of 94%. Results of 76% in child safety, 64% in pedestrian safety, and 81% in safety assist are also decent, though they are beaten by some rivals. Despite this, you’ll get plenty of standard safety equipment. Even entry-level models come with six airbags, Isofix child seat points, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist. With all that kit on board, you can be confident that you and your family are always safe from harm.
Great value for money, if you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Kia Carens is one of the best value seven seat MPVs on the market. It’s not as cheap as its predecessor, but it’s a much better car all-round. Running costs do depend on which model you go for, but even the thirstiest petrol engine can return 44mpg. The diesel are most definitely the pick of the bunch however. With greater fuel economy, and lower road tax bills.
Insurance groups for the Carens again depend on which model you choose. Comparatively speaking, the Carens is a cheap to insure for a car in its class. The range starts in group 12 for the 1.7 CRDi 1, and climbs up towards group 18 for the range-topping 1.7 CRDi (139bhp) 4.
Depreciation is a factor to consider with the Kia Carens, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as high as ever, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
If you’re on the lookout for a stylish, practical seven-seater MPV, the Kia Carens is a great option worth considering. It’s almost the complete family package. A practical, modern interior, a solid range of diesel engines, and an impressive safety record. It’s not much fun to drive, but this won’t matter for most buyers, especially as it’s so easy to drive around town. And if you go for a used model, you can grab yourself a serious bargain.
Buying a used Kia Carens online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Kia Carens for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Kia Carens. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kia Carens online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Kia Carens? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Carens, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Kia Carens, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Kia to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.