Used buyer's guide: Kia Carens

Kia has recently launched a new version of its practical MPV, making the old MkII model look even better value

What to look for

• Dual-mass flywheel can fail after less than 50,000 miles on diesels if they’re mainly driven around town. • The automatic gearbox isn’t very sophisticated, and with just four ratios, it looks dated next to competitors’.• Some owners have found that their cars pull to one side because of faulty suspension geometry.

The 2.0 CRDi diesel is the most common engine, and has the most pull. While the 1.6 CRDi is smoother and more frugal, and only slightly less muscular, it’s rare. Petrol models are OK, but the 1.6-litre feels weak in a loaded car.

Bear in mind, too, that not all Carens got seven seats. The S has five, the GS provides five or seven and the LS has seven as standard. Even entry-level cars got alloys and electric windows all-round, but some earlier examples missed out on standard air-conditioning.


Reassuringly, the Carens MkII has been recalled only once so far. This came in November 2009, and affected examples built during September and October 2006. It was a simple issue, affecting the brake lights – there was a risk that they may not work properly because of a faulty switch.

The cure was equally straightforward; dealers fitted a new switch, which took a few minutes. In all, 1,816 cars across the Kia range were affected, which included Sportages, Sorentos and Sedonas, too.

Driver Power

Our view As the Carens is so rare, it’s never made it into our Driver Power satisfaction survey. But other Kias have, and readers rated the Picanto, Rio, Cee’d and Sportage highly for reliability, running costs and practicality in 2013.

Your view Melissa Holland from Walsall, West Midlands, owns a 2008 Kia Carens 2.0 CRDi. “I’ve had it three years, and it’s been totally reliable and cheap to run,” she explained. “There’s lots of space inside and it’s well equipped, too.” 



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