Fold-up trays on Kia Carens front seatbacks a nifty idea

The Kia Carens adds a nifty fold-up picnic tray on the backs of the front seats.

The Kia Carens adds a nifty fold-up picnic tray on the backs of the front seats.

It’s one of those nifty ideas that you wondered why no one ever thought of it before. Actually, they had. The classic cars from the Thirties regularly had fold-down trays on the backs of the front seats, that is, when the rear seats weren’t so far rearward that the backs of the front seats couldn’t be reached. More recently, the convenience of rear seat “picnic tables” have been offered on premium sedans, such as in Jaguars.

However, this is the first time we recall seeing it in a lower price range. The new Kia Carens has a tray that folds up from the backs of the front seats, but as a modern touch, the tray also has…a cupholder. The tray also has a small lip, which should help keep things from rolling off during the normal gyrations of driving. Or maybe that’s just the way we drive.

But what’s a Kia Carens? It was a compact multi-purpose vehicle sold in the U.S. from 2007 through the 2009 model year as the Kia Rondo, but it never caught on. Kia dropped it in the U.S.as of the 2010 model year in deference to the Kia Sportage.

Still, we think the fold-up tray—and we’d also make it a sturdy affair, knowing children—though collapsible under high stress for safety, would be a good idea. There, that’s not asking too much, is it?

Maybe Kia, or someone else quick on the uptake, will offer the front seat-back tray—with cupholder—on medium priced vehicles for the U.S.