Kia’s fam­ily car shows why firm is mak­ing record sales

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - Carmel Ste­wart

IT is hard to be­lieve that the com­pany which once of­fered us cheap and cheer­ful cars for a £1 de­posit is the same com­pany which has just posted record sales for the first quar­ter of 2013.

Kia has now cap­tured a 3.17 per cent share of the new car mar­ket – up by al­most 12 per cent against 2012. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Kia’s best­selling car so far this year is the ex­cel­lent Slo­vakian-built Sportage, fol­lowed closely by the Picanto, Rio and cee’d.

The peo­ple-car­ry­ing Carens does not fea­ture on the list. It has been tak­ing a back seat in re­cent months as it is the last in the range to get the all-over beauty treat­ment from the Korean man­u­fac­turer’s highly suc­cess­ful de­signer Peter Schreyer.

Orig­i­nally launched in 1999 as a boxy, squashy seven- seater, the Carens has now grown into a so­phis­ti­cated, spa­cious, flex­i­ble fam­ily ve­hi­cle – al­beit shorter, nar­rower and lower than the model it re­places.

The all-im­por­tant rear seats – which are the key to its very ex­is­tence – pull out of the boot floor with ease. Th­ese are no longer the au­to­mo­tive equiv­a­lent of the naughty step but now ac­com­mo­date an adult frame with­out re­quir­ing a hip re­place­ment at the end of ev­ery jour­ney.

The mid­dle three have in­di­vid­ual seats which slide and re­cline in­de­pen­dently of each other.

There are also air­line-type trays and seat pock­ets. Up front, the more grown-up oc­cu­pants have plenty of space and de­grees of com­fort de­ter­mined by the trim level des­ig­nated 1, 2 and 3 but even at en­try-level it is a com­fort­able, pleas­ant place to be.

The Carens is pow­ered by a choice of three en­gines. The en­try-level 1.6litre 133bhp petrol has an aver­age econ­omy of 44mpg and CO2 of 149g/km. High mil­ers may pre­fer the 1.7 litre tur­bod­iesel which de­vel­ops ei­ther 114bhp or the higher 134bhp which re­turn an of­fi­cial aver­age of 60mpg or 56mpg re­spec­tively but the aver­age mo­torist will be more than happy with the ef­fi­cient and ex­cep­tion­ally quiet petrol unit. Prices start at £17,895.

The Carens won’t stop the slings and ar­rows of out­ra­geous sib­lings but it will give them a more com­fort­able space in which to do so. THE fifth Fly­ing Scots­man Rally which sees en­thu­si­asts drive from Lon­don to Ed­in­burgh in a pre-war car was won by Gareth Bur­nett and Jeremy Hay­lock in a 1934 Tal­bot 105 – just seven sec­onds ahead of Sue Shoo­smith and Trina Hart­ley in a 1926 Bent­ley 3-4½. The three day event at­tracted more than 100 vin­tage cars from 18 dif­fer­ent coun­tries on a route which took them across the Der­byshire Dales and York­shire Moors. RE­NAULT has de­vel­oped a Twizy Re­nault Sport F1 con­cept car – a fun take on the brand’s elec­tric ur­ban com­pact ve­hi­cle. It sits on the wheels of a sin­gle-seater race car and is equipped with a front split­ter, side-pods, rear wing and a dif­fuser com­plete with an F1-style rain light. Ad­di­tional tech­nol­ogy boosts the power out­put six-fold to reach al­most 100 horse­power. It will be shown at ma­jor mo­tor­ing events through­out the year.

SPACE AND COM­FORT: The sur­pris­ingly stylish seven-seater Kia Carens in­side, above, and out, top.

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