NEWS:

Paris 2012: Kia Carens, pro_cee'd
And Optima Hybrid

(Thursday 27 September 2012)

Kia Carens.

Ah, so much to talk about regarding Kia's display at the Paris Show. First there's the all-new, third-generation Carens compact MPV (pictured above), a five- or seven-seater which, though shorter, narrow and lower than its predecessor nevertheless has a 50mm longer wheelbase, and as a result more room for all occupants.

There are three engines, one available with two power outputs, giving a total choice of four. The 1.7-litre diesel comes in 113bhp and 134bhp varieties, the former giving a CO2 figure of 118g/km - that's 19% lower than the best effort of the previous Carens, and means that that version will cost £30 per year to tax.

Alternatively, you can have a direct injection petrol engine, either the 133bhp 1.6 or the 174bhp 2.0 which, with manual transmission, is the only one capabe of making the Carens accelerate from 0-62mph in under ten seconds.

Six-speed manual gearboxes are offered with all four engines, while the more powerful diesel and the two-litre petrol have the option of a six-speed automatic.

Luggage capacity is either greater than that of the current model in all but one of the possible configurations. With seven seats in place it's 103 litres, with five it's 492 litres, and if you fold down all but the front two seats and measure up to roof level it's 1667 litres. Previous figures were 74, 430 and 2106 litres.

Kia pro_cee'd.Rather more dramatic-looking than the Carens is the new pro_cee'd. It has the same overall length, width and wheelbase as the five-door hatchback launched earlier this year, but its roofline is 40mm lower and of course it has two fewer doors.

The same engines and transmissions already offered in the hatch and the even more recently launched Sportswagon will also be available in the pro_cee'd, which is due to go on sale in the UK next spring.

Lastly, Kia is displaying the first hybrid it will ever have sold in Europe. It's based on the Optima, which has been on sale in the US for some time with a 2.4-litre petrol engine and an electric motor.

The European version uses a more modest two-litre petrol engine, along with six-speed automatic transmission, and despite having a combined power output of 188bhp it's more economical (52.3mpg) and emits less CO2 (125g/km) than the 1.7 diesel Optima automatic.

Unfortunately, this is all academic as far as the UK market is concerned, because the Optima Hybrid is being built in left-hand drive form only.

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