Given the glowing reports and warm praise regularly lavished on Korean car maker Kia for its most recent run of new and revised models, it may come as something of a surprise to find there are still some less contemporarily crowd-pleasing models lurking in the current line-up. The Kia Carens MPV is one such example, a halfway house between the slowly improving previous generation of cars and its latest crowd-pleasers.
The current Carens was a ground-up replacement for the previous generation car of the same name back in 2006, and since then, not a great deal has changed. It’s available as a five or seven-seater, and with a choice of either petrol or the latest CRDi diesel engines. There’s a 130bhp, 116lb ft 1.6-litre petrol engine available only in the cheapest, entry-level ‘1’ five-seater, which comes with a five-speed gearbox and a claimed 39.2mpg and 174g/km of CO2 emissions on the combined cycle.
But it’s perhaps best overlooked in favour of the 1.6-litre CRDi diesel, which is also available in the five-seater ‘1’ or as the only powerplant of choice in the two seven-seat versions, called ‘2’ or, for the top trim level, ‘3’.
The oil-burner produces 126bhp and a more useful 192lb ft from 1900-2750rpm, with combined economy of 49.6mpg and 149g/km of CO2. All the diesels get a manual six-speed ’box. Take it or leave it.