Everything bar the name. Kia’s mid size MPV gets a new look including SUV design touches and a BMW X3-aping rear window line. Inside, there’s a third row of seats bringing the Caren’s seating capacity to seven, and an improvement in interior quality.
So what’s it like?
Practical, functional and boring. The seats are a bit thin for comfort on longer journeys, but otherwise the packaging works fine. The middle seats slide and recline and everything rearwards of the driver folds flat. But the 'surprise and delight' features of the Carens' competitors are missing. The Carens is also instantly forgettable to drive. It doesn't grate, but nor does it provide any sense of enjoyment. What it does do is acceptably meet the brief of no-fuss transport acceptably. Avoid the automatic though – with only four speeds it’s obtrusive and inefficient. Although the cabin is awash with hard plastics, the construction is solid, the design intuitive, and the overall ambience utterly inoffensive.
Should I buy one?
For those more interested in where they’re going than how they get there, the Carens will be an ideal car - perfectly acceptable, if completely unremarkable. But to make real sense the package needs a good price, which Kia are yet to fix. More news is to follow in October.