All engines are mated to a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, although the higher-powered diesel can be linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
If you’re expecting your low-emissions seven-seater to be even remotely quick, you’re going to be disappointed. At this end of the market, good performers are separated from bad by driveability, refinement, economy and enough poke to see you through.
Fortunately, the Carens puts in a competitive showing. All three engine options deliver competent performance, although the higher-powered diesel is inevitably the most versatile.
The 1.6 petrol is perhaps the least obvious option, struggling slightly up steep inclines and when the Carens is fully laden. For parents on the school run, however, it would be more than sufficient.
That said, the lower-powered diesel is both reasonably refined and offers efficiency benefits that make the Carens a far more compelling proposition. Only a slight shortage of low-end torque stands against it.