Long term report: Kia Carens


With seven months under its belt now, the Carens – or Karen as I have come to call it (original, I know) – has become the grandmother of the fleet.

It now occupies that unique status in the AOL Cars car park: Anonymity. I was lucky enough to find some time to have a holiday this month and immediately went straight to the key cupboard, trading in the Mondeo's for the ones to Karen... I mean the Kia.

My week was the first time I had spent some proper time with it. I originally specc'd the car about six months ago, and while there wasn't much call for a heated steering wheel in an unusually warm March, the panoramic sunroof and soft leather seats were major bonuses during my 600-mile hols.

It's remarkably frugal, too. Even with the roof bars on (which, it must be said, make the Carens look super-cool), I was easily averaging 42mpg – not bad from a 1.7-litre engine.

And it's quite fun to drive – not like a Mazda MX-5 or anything, but you can chuck it round a country road and Kar... the Kia will hang on quite gamely.

The only real drawback is the cabin. Don't get me wrong, it's very nicely made and I'm sure it will live up to the rigours of family life for many... umm... families, but my goodness it's boring. Unacceptably boring, really.

Sorry, Karen.

The knowledge

Model: Kia Carens '3' 1.7 CRDi manual ISG
Price: £23,895 (as tested)
Engine: 1.7-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power: 134bhp, 330Nm
Max speed: 119mph
0-60mph: 10s
Emissions: 132g/km
Mileage this month: 765

This month's highlight

The panoramic sunroof. Topped my tan up nicely. And gave the girlfriend sunburn.