Long term report: Kia Carens
In the short few months since our ice-white Carens arrived, it's made quite an impressions with its practicality, generous kit-list and all-around easy-going nature.
I was lucky enough to be custodian of the big Kia over Christmas, and without wanting to get all bah-humbug about it, there were one or two irksome foibles which detracted somewhat from the car's overall high-level of liveability.
Firstly – and most importantly in the rather inclement weather we've been having – is the question of heat. In an age where many new cars can bathe their occupants with warm air mere seconds after being turned on, the Carens takes its time about things. Hands are left placed under bums, where at least the quick-witted – and superbly well judged – heated seats keep the blood circulating.
This lack of heat on startup has made itself particularly felt on damp mornings, when the blowers take an age to cut through windscreen fog. It's nothing drastic, but can prove frustrating when you're trying to make a quick getaway.
Fuel consumption, too, has been slightly disappointing. I'm not usually one for eco-driving, but over 600 miles, most of which was done at a motorway cruise, the Carens refused to return more than 40mpg.
Other than these minor drawbacks, the Carens did its best to worm its way into my affections over the festive period, and proved to be a useful and comfortable holdall for the huge plethora of people and things we all seem to end up moving around at Christmas. The kids were particularly entertained by the panoramic sunroof, which 'magically' appears from behind an electric roller blind.
It was all going so well, until I returned to the car after it had been parked overnight to find the wing mirror had been damaged. While it's suffered only a minor crack to the interior housing, we've been told the whole unit will need replacing, which will cost £320 not including painting or labour. Merry Christmas indeed!
Model: Kia Carens '3' 1.7 CRDi manual ISG
Price: £23,895 as tested
Engine: 1.7-litre diesel
Max speed: 119mph
0-60mph: 10 seconds
MPG: 56.4mpg (combined)
Emissions: 132 g/km CO2
Mileage this month: 700
Costs this month: £312 + paint and labour