Kia Carens (2006-2013)

As consumers embrace the crossover market, people-carriers are becoming ever less popular. As a result, some of the greatest used car bargains can sit in this sector, and when it comes to value, few cars can compete with the second-generation Kia Carens. It offered a huge amount for the money when new, and strong depreciation has ensured that on the used market you get even more bang for your buck. Look beyond the clunky styling and you’ll find a car that’s comfortable with ample space for the family – so if you’re after maximum practicality for minimum outlay, take a closer look. 


Key dates

8/06: The Carens Mk2 reaches showrooms with 2.0-litre petrol or diesel engines, featuring five- or six-speed manual gearboxes respectively; diesel buyers can opt for a four-speed auto.

3/08: A four-speed automatic gearbox is now offered with the 2.0-litre petrol engine, in the 2.0 LS.

2/09: A 1.6-litre petrol engine joins the range.

1/10: There’s now a 111bhp 1.6 CRDi diesel option.



  • The automatic gearbox doesn’t feel very sophisticated; the fact it has just four gears doesn’t help.
  • Diesel editions driven mainly around town can suffer from a failed dual-mass flywheel in less than 50,000 miles.
  • Some cars pull to one side, because the suspension geometry needs to be adjusted.
  • Make sure the rear door handles work; the mechanism can snap, making it difficult to fix as the door won’t open for access.
  • The handbrake is actually a footbrake, which on cars with a manual gearbox can make hill starts awkward when starting off on a steep hill.
  • Not all Carens have seven seats, and when they are fitted, that third row is cramped, even for children.
  • There can be gear selection issues with the manual gearbox. Changing the oil and adjusting the linkage should fix things.


We like

  • Keen prices
  • Practicality
  • Spacious cabin
  • Seven seats
  • Large boot


We don’t like

  • Cramped third row
  • Awkward styling
  • Stodgy dynamics
  • Cheap interior plastics