The company may rhyme with diarrhoea but it is certainly not an unwanted offensive blot on the toilet landscape. I admit I personally wouldn’t buy these cheap cheerful cars! Then again I am the type of person whom would spend my hard-earned dosh on Dolce & Gabbana clothes rather than CO-OP originals (sorry if you wear CO-OP clothes but you don’t have to worry about pulling ever again in those clothes). So why did my parents buy this car your asking? £11,900 OTR Kia Carens GSX top of the range model which is a 6-seater Mini People Carrier. The Carens features a 1.8 Litre 16 valve DOHC engine, 5-speed gear box, Power steering, ABS, all-rounded electric windows, electric and heated door mirrors, metallic paint, adjustable steering, air conditioning, 10 CD auto changer, Alloy wheels including the spare, roof rack, dual air bags. Together this is supported by a 3 year’s warranty, 3 years Kia RAC assist and 6 years anti-perforation warranty. NOT QUITE THE UGLY DUCKLING The Kia Carens has an uncanny resemblance to a Toyota Picnic. I like the big clear headlights and backlights, but I am not quite sure on the two-tone colour. However the car grows on you compared to the bland one tone colour of most cars. It may not be a passionate Italian sexy model that you dream off but it is not your standard fat hairy-arm-pit ugly Italian slapper that you normally meet either. It’s the average family car nothing to serious, nothing to boring, nothing to special and for people who have price rather than brand name on their conscience it is heavens perfection. Like my Saxo VTR the speedo and rev counter head are a shade of blue and this is clearer to read than the normal boring black background and white speed characters found with your average Rover. The interior is spacious and all the controls are easy to understand and use. For passengers you have arm and head rests in the back for comfort, and the seat upholstery is soft and nice to relax in on long trips. RICHARD BURNS CERTAINLY WONT BE RALLYING WITH IT Many car magazine pundits that have reviewed the car complained the engine was gutless. Those pundits are the people who also drive a Porsche 911 and really do not get a damm about fuel economy or that the road is not a racetrack. The fact is the Carens is a Mini MPV not a boy racers car, a touring cruiser above thrillseeking mobile organ donation. I have quite comfortably taken the Carens up to 100 MPH, the only qualm I have is that following some friends to a football match I scared myself silly going through country lanes maybe far to quickly for my own good and finding the car to understeer quite badly. This maybe due to the longer wheel base and the fact it has 15 Inch alloy wheels which are maybe too small for this size of car. The fact that I drive a sporty Saxo VTR with superb handling may just mean that I had too much faith in the Carens handling. So it does not handle around Surrey Lanes at high speed it is not the end of the world, this car is a cruiser and taking it up the motorway to Nottingham, Leeds and back was far more comfortable that my Saxo. The extra legroom is so nice on long journeys and for trips abroad this car is far more suitable than a saloon or estate. Beng in a higher road seating position makes it possible to look down on most of your fellow motorists this is a major ego boost for those with a superiority complex. With the higher position the Kia complements this with larger wing mirrors making it easier to view oncoming traffic and curbs. I do love that little text message on the mirror warning things may appear closer than in reality. MORE RELIABLE THAN A FIAT, BUT NOT AS GOOD AS A MERC My parents have had problems with the car, the first major problem was the 10 CD auto-changer that swallowed the CD changer and refused to spit it out, so it definitely loved a good gargle. Philips supplied the unit and it was third unit lucky fo r a fully working changer. Although this is entirely Philips fault rather than Kia. Another problem we had before even the 1000th mile was the gearbox and clutch, which struggled to get into 5th gear. The gearbox and clutch was immediately replaced but we still had a problem with noise kicking in on first gear, this will mean the car having to be looked at again and maybe more work done on it. For this hassle we got 3 years servicing and reverse aid thrown in worth £200 which is very useful for my mum and all other women drivers who have an uncanny ability to hit the magic moving shopping trolley park. Kia are the type of company that wants to correct your problem as they have a chip on their shoulder and need to prove themselves to woo customers, unlike those french je le ashole Citroen who have a customer service that is poor by any standard. The car was supposed to come with a clock, it was strange to have the clock on the stereo as it only displays the time when it is turned on. After complaining the garage found it is supposed to be fitted with a clock and the car will have to go in for a factory clock to be fitted. Another interesting story from the Kia garage is that a shipment of Kia UK Specification cars came into this country fitted with metric speedo heads rather than in MPH a little error at the factory. Two Kia Korean mechanics had to fly over to the UK to sift through 1000+ cars to retro fit the heads MORE OF THE LITTLE BLIGHTERS ARE CLAIMING ASYLUM, MUPPET HAGUEY WONT LIKE IT The Carens is a common sense car for this fact MR & MRS 4.2 Boring Norman will be importing more of them, taking up more and more British Driveways my god its an invasion. I like the common sense way that you can open the fuel flap, boot and bonnet from the drivers’ side controls. What I do not like is going to fill up with petrol and finding you have forgotten to open the fuel cap followed by the march back to the drivers side (which is opposite the fuel cap side) to open it. Although even my Saxo does not feel naturalised English as the bonnet release on the passenger side compared to Kia drivers’ side lever. For the passengers there are drinks holders on all 3 rows of Seating which saves on drinks going over your nice upholstery. On the first row back seats there are food trays moulded in the back, I personally would not let any grubby filthy kids eat on those. The split fold seating arrangements allow many combinations for you to put your kids or shopping in, but personally I think the car needs a roof rack luggage storage as space is soon consumed when more than 4 passengers are in the vehicle. My only worry is that more and more housewives will be driving that 1 kid in the back to school in such a big car for such a short journey leading to clogging up of the roads and preventing people like me going to work. I mean don’t you just hate that especially when they are in the mother of all cars 4 Wheeled Off Roaders. It is like for Christ sake get a smart car or make that child walk or cycle to school, I had to! Stop complaining about murderers and rapists killing your kids its more of a fact that Blind Housewives with zero control in a 4 wheel drive tank will kill more kids a year than your average paedophile. It is all down to unfounded media pushed fear, when the real murderer escapes in the shadow of typical surrey middle classed Englishness.