When thinking of seven-seater, family vehicles, most of us just abandon all hope of driving anything of a sporty nature.
Even at the height of SUV-mania, you couldn’t exactly call the gas-guzzling monsters that everyone was dying to get their re-mortgaged hands on anything other than boxy.
Volume seemed to be all-important when ferrying the 2.4 children between school and after-school activities.
But mercifully, we have since learned so much about clever use of space, and, more importantly, good car manufacturers have learned a few things about fitting that clever space into really attractive design.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the Gazette motoring pages, will be well aware of the praise that has been heaped on the Korean brand Kia. Not just because of its innovative seven-year warranty, but because they can really give even their most modest vehicles an attractive edge that makes them stand out in the crowd.
Enter the all-new Carens.
Arguably one of Kia’s most practical offerings, the Carens has established itself as one of the family favourites since its initial release.
Anyone trading up to the new model will be in for a big surprise, as they are presented with a car that has an unapologetic, stand-out sporty design.
This car simply does not have the appearance of the traditional family minivan.
It’s just different.
There is a big shift in looks away from the practical, utilitarian approach of its predecessor, but still features a spacious five-plus-two seating layout, a generously proportioned luggage bay and numerous stowage spaces.
This model is shorter, narrower and lower than the previous-generation model (by 20 mm, 15 mm and 40 mm, respectively). But, thanks to the new model’s increased wheelbase (up by 50 mm) and cab-forward design, the overall cabin space is still generous.
For anyone who might think they are not enjoying the same top-drawer quality of the Carens’ stable mates, rest assured that this motor is powered by the same economical 1.7 diesel engine that powers the incredibly impressive Sportage.
This wouldn’t be Kia if it didn’t boast a wealth of safety features, and all Carens models come with six airbags, electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and emergency stop signal.
Manufactured with a high percentage of high-strength steel, the new bodyshell will contribute to new Carens earning an anticipated five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash safety tests.
Standard equipment for the entry-level TX model includes alloy wheels, rear spoiler, LED daytime running lights, cornering lights, front and rear electric windows, luggage cargo screen, steering mounted audio controls, and voice activated Bluetooth.
The EX model, that starts at €27,790, adds auto light controls, LED rear lights, rear privacy glass, folding mirrors with puddle lamps, seat back tables, dual zone air conditioning, rear parking sensors and rear view camera – while the top-of-the range Platinum (coming in at €31,790) adds luxury features such as a leather upholstery with heated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat, panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors and a supervision instrument cluster.