From £13,780
The Carens has decent packaging and is an acceptable drive. But it is thoroughly unexceptional - and will need keen pricing

Our Verdict

Kia Carens 2006-2011

The Kia Carens is a cheap way to carry seven, but its poor cabin finish lets it down

  • First Drive

    Kia Carens 2.0 CRDi GS

    The Carens has decent packaging and is an acceptable drive. But it is thoroughly unexceptional - and will need keen pricing
30 August 2006

What’s new?

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.

Jamie Corstorphine

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
    First Drive
    19 March 2018
    The Mercedes-Benz E-Class could be all the estate car you’ll ever want — or it could be overkill. Let’s see which...
  • Dallara Stradale
    The Stradale is the first road-legel car from Italian motorsport constructor Dallara
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    The motorsport constructor's first road car is inspired by Lotus minimalism. Does it thrill on road and track?
  • Hyundai i30 N
    Standard spec is good so paint colour is our car’s only option
    First Drive
    16 March 2018
    What’s Hyundai’s first hot hatch and N-brand debutant really like? Let’s find out
  • Porsche Boxster GTS
    This is the new GTS version of the Porsche Boxster
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The 718-generation Boxster is our favourite roadster of the moment – so is this new GTS variant worth the extra outlay?
  • BMW 5 Series
    First Drive
    15 March 2018
    The BMW 5 Series is top of the mid-exec pack, but is there still room for a diesel saloon in everyday family life?