Kia Carens 1.6 GDi
We drive the new entry-level Kia Carens MPV, which gives more practicality for your money
As it’s so cheap to buy, we were expecting the most basic Carens to feel like it was built to a price, but the opposite is true. Although it’s not as flexible or efficient as the diesels, this petrol car is just as practical, stylish and robust. And any large family on a budget will struggle to find a rival that offers the same levels of space or kit.
At only £17,895, the Carens 1 looks a good deal – especially with an extra £1,000 off cars bought before 30 June. Yet kit isn’t too miserly; you get the same LED running lights as the rest of the range, but do without alloys, chrome window trim or roof rails.
Inside, the spacious layout forfeits features like the plastic picnic tables and luggage nets, but it still feels practical. There’s space for seven adults... just.
Sturdy soft-touch material replaces gloss dash plastics, but you still get essentials like air-con, cruise control and electric windows. Luxury gadgets such as Bluetooth, audio controls on the wheel and stop-start are there, too.
A modest 165Nm of torque means the 1.6 GDi struggles to haul the Kia around. It also forces you to work the engine hard, which spoils the refinement and hits economy.
Figures of 44.1mpg and 149g/km mean more fuel stops on family trips and a higher annual tax bill than for the diesel. Still, in town the petrol car is quiet and the ride soft – so if you don’t plan to rack up the miles, this could be the right model to choose.