Kia's ability to develop innovative new cars that look beyond the obvious is given free rein in the Kia Carens. Styled with a hint of SUV attitude, but exhibiting all the versatility and practicality of the most modern compact MPVs, it appeals to families and active couples; private and fleet users alike.
The Kia Carens is available with either five or seven seats, using the same platform as the Magentis saloon. It is spacious, comfortable, refined, safe and built to the highest quality standards.
With seven-seaters taking an increasingly greater share of sales in this traditionally five-seat sector, Kia's design team has inventively created two cars out of one. It is therefore able to satisfy all buyers without the need to produce models with different wheelbases, like some competitors.
This has partially been made possible by the ingenious way the fuel tank is mounted as an integral member of the rear subframe and suspension assembly, permitting a low floor, easy access and more 3rd row cabin space.
The front bumper, with its black lower centre section and foglamp housings, differs from the model on sale in other continents, and gives the car just a hint of the tough underbody protection fitted to off-roaders. This treatment is echoed in the rear bumper.
The difference between five- and seven-seat versions can be largely explained by changes to the second-row seats. In the seven-seater they slide fore and aft and the backrests tilt, making it possible for passengers to climb into the two rear seats with ease. In the five-seater the second row of seats has fixed positions.
Both models provide full MPV versatility without requiring owners to lift any of the seats out of the car when they need extra luggage space. In the seven-seater, the cushions of the centre-row seats tip forwards, enabling the backrests to fold down, while the rear row folds into recesses in the floor, leaving a totally flat surface free of interruptions. When the rear seats are in use, these recesses are available as hidden storage areas.
In the five-seat model the second row also adopts the seven-seater's 'fold flat' system, creating a completely level floor when the seats are collapsed.
In keeping with all other recent Kia model introductions, the quality of the fixtures and fittings is a match for those in any rival. All main surfaces have a soft-touch finish, while the controls and switches have a premium feel and action.
Two-litre petrol and turbodiesel engines are available, offering similar power and performance, so it's simply up to buyers to decide which best meets their needs and budget.
Kia's 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 142bhp at 6000rpm and 189Nm of torque at 4250rpm, and is offered with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
However, the majority of buyers opt for the greater flexibility and lower fuel consumption of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which develops 138bhp at 4000rpm and 305Nm of torque from 1800 to 2500rpm. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual, but a four-speed automatic is again optional.
This 1991cc 16-valve CRDi engine features a second-generation high-pressure common-rail fuel injection system and a variable geometry turbocharger.
Despite running higher top gear ratios with both manual and automatic gearboxes, performance and economy are outstanding. Flexibility, drivability and efficiency go hand-in-hand with superb economy of up to 46.3mpg with the manual gearbox, depending on wheel and tire choice.
The automatic gearbox is Kia's latest unit offering drivers the option of smooth, sequential Sports Mode manual shifting.
The Kia Carens is a transverse-engined front-wheel-drive car that takes advantage of the platform and chassis designed for the new Magentis saloon, though with a 20mm shorter wheelbase. It features a stiff body, a long 2700mm wheelbase and a wide track front and rear. There are also big wheels and tires.
All of this allows the car to be steered and maneuvered with minimal effort while ensuring good high-speed stability. At the rear, the complex and sophisticated in-wheel multi-link set-up, so called because its dual upper arms and long lower trailing arms are largely housed within the road wheels, ensures precise control over changes in camber angle during cornering for more stable handling, while minimizing body roll for a smoother ride.
Source: Kia press