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New car reviews online: Kia Carens and BMW X1

Plus a review of the Toyota Auris Touring Sports

With the new design you’d almost forget the new BMW X1 was a crossover

This week we’ve tested three spacious cars – the Kia Carens, BMW X1 and Toyota Auris Touring Sports – to see if they have what it takes to be Best Buys.

We’ve checked every box in large car bingo this week with an SUV from BMW, a seven-seater from Kia and an estate from Toyota. 

Each car has been put through its paces, so whether you’re after something with a bigger boot, higher ride or two extra seats we can tell you if any of these cars are good options or best avoided.

Our tests go as deep as they can without taking the car apart. Being the UK’s only independent testers we promise impartial results that reflect exactly how the car performs based on our extensive real-road driving and controlled lab tests.

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The sporty new design is a huge improvement over the previous Carens

Kia Carens (2013-) MPV – facelift

The Carens is the latest Kia to get a makeover from the designer of the Audi TT, Peter Schreyer. The improvements are evident as the Kia trademark ‘tiger nose’ grille and deep door creases transform the ill-defined look of the original Carens into something modern and attractive.

There’s something sporty about the Carens too with its understated spoiler and unusually low profile for a big people carrier. 

We thought the old Carens was dull to drive and not particularly efficient – are the Carens’ bevy of updates only skin deep? Read our Kia Carens review to find out. 

BMW X1 (2015-) SUV – new model

Despite the BMW X1’s SUV crossover moniker there’s certainly more SUV than hatchback in the new design. The first X1 was released in 2009 at a time when crossover SUVs were something new. The latest X1 emerges into a category thick with premium competition, such as the Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA.

BMW hopes that a good range of engines, including a petrol model, as well as the SUV-focused design will set it apart from its rivals. Read our review to see whether the BMW X1 has what it takes to be a Best Buy. 

At 285mm longer than the standard Auris the Touring Sports isn’t short on space

Toyota Auris Touring Sports (2015-) estate – new model

The Auris estate is looking for a foothold in a densely packed category where the established Ford Focus Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate are the cars to beat.

The Touring Sports is doing all the right things though. It’s 285mm longer than the standard Auris and that additional length is all boot, so space shouldn’t be an issue. There’s a range of engines too, including a diesel and a hybrid that should keep mpg high and tax low.

Read our full review to see whether the Toyota Auris Touring Sports can carve itself a slice of the estate-car pie.

More on this…

  • There are plenty of solid estate-car choices – see which ones made it onto our list of Best Buy estates
  • The SUV market is a crowded one – find out which cars rival the X1 with our Best Buy 4x4s and SUVs
  • Whether you’re after something with space or seven seats, visit our top MPV buying tips
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