Kia, the company that introduced a "full-size" MPV for the price of a "mini-MPV" is now launching the Carens, a highly successful "mini-MPV", for the price of a "supermini". This dramatic development makes the convenience and practicality of a "mini-MPV", with a full three year/60,000 mile warranty, affordable to a new group of customers.

The Carens is a practical and spacious design, which is currently the second best selling car in the Korean market. The car is available in either a five or six seat version with two trim levels. All versions feature a proven 1.8-litre engine.

European pricing pledge

Kia is pioneering a full range of cars at affordable prices, which are almost certainly closer in price to European mainland markets than any other car manufacturer in the UK. This new model line-up and European "pricing commitment" has seen Kia become the fastest growing car marque in the UK with sales exceeding 12,000 cars in the last 12 months.

Best seller

The Carens has been an outstanding success story in the Korean market. Nearly 60,000 Carens cars were sold in 1999 with the car only being launched in June. This extraordinary momentum has been maintained with 23,000 cars being sold in the first quarter of this year. Carens has developed a new market segment and style of car in Korea, which makes the fact that it is the second most popular car in the country even more remarkable.

From the driving seat the Carens has the reassuringly conventional look of a modern hatchback or saloon but with the advantage of improved all-round visibility provided by the higher seating position. Unlike some mini-MPVs, the fact that the dashboard is no deeper than a typical hatchback or saloon and the windscreen is not elaborately curved makes it easier to locate the front corners of the car when manoeuvring in tight spaces and provides less opportunity for unhelpful reflections in the windscreen.

The Carens is offered in two derivatives, a five-seater and a six-seater. The five-seater offers a conventional 2 + 3 seating pattern with a 60:40 split/folding seat and a very generous load area.

The six-seater uses a 2 + 2 + 2 seating arrangement with the 50:50 split/folding second row seat having a reclining and sliding facility for greater comfort and easier access to the rear seat. The second row also features armrests on the outside of the seat which fold away. The seat belt for the second row of seats is also stowed away to reduce the chance of snagging when gaining access to the rear seat. The second row seat backs fold into tables on the GSX model. The third seat double folds to maximise luggage space when not in use.