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