The Kia Venga may be small on the outside but it delivers a surprising amount of space on the inside. The Venga is one of the oldest models in the current Kia range but it was refreshed at the beginning of 2015 to bring its styling and equipment up to date.
The Venga's small dimensions and spacious interior put it in the same class as the Ford B-MAX, Citroen C3 Picasso and Nissan Note. The Venga doesn’t cost much to buy or to run and benefits from Kia's impressive seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, so it's a strong candidate if practicality, reliability and affordability are your main priorities.
The engine range consists of four engines, including two petrol engines and two diesel engines in 1.4 and 1.6-litre sizes. Performance from all four is distinctly average, with the bigger petrol engine proving quickest with a 0-62mph time of 10.6 seconds. The smaller of the two diesels is the slowest in the range, with a 0-62mph time of 14 seconds.
It's unlikely that speed is your top priority if considering a Kia Venga, and what the car lacks in pace it makes up for to a certain extent with its low running costs. The 1.6-litre diesel in EcoDynamics trim is the most economical, claiming average fuel consumption of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km for tax of £30 per year. The 1.4-litre petrol is cheaper to run than the larger petrol engine, returning 50.4mpg and emissions of 130g/km of CO2 for road tax of £110. While these figures are very reasonable, they’re not so great that they trump the competition; there are newer rivals that are both more efficient and more powerful.
Space is ultimately the Venga's biggest selling point. It can easily accommodate four adults and there's plenty of leg and headroom. You can create more passenger space or boot space depending on your needs thanks to rear seats that can be slid back and forwards. The Venga offers a huge load area with the rear seats folded too. The 2015 facelift improved the quality of the materials used throughout the car's interior and the car has a reputation for good reliability.
The Venga's high seating position means visibility is excellent. However, it suffers from body lean in corners, its suspension is a bit on the firm side, plus its steering is very light, with little in the way of feedback, so the car isn’t much fun to drive. On the other hand, it's well equipped: even the entry-level 1 model features electric front windows, USB ports, MP3 player connectivity and power-folding heated door mirrors, which is impressive for a car at this price point.
There are five other trim levels: 1 Air, SR7, 2, 3, and 4. The 1 Air adds air-conditioning, while the 2 includes alloy wheels, Bluetooth phone connectivity and reversing sensors. You get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system and sat nav with 3, while the top-of-the-range 4 comes with a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and part-leather seats.
SR7 was introduced in 2015 model and includes sharper-looking trim and alloy wheels, reversing sensors, Bluetooth and tinted windows, among other things. It's good value, too, as it costs less than the 2 yet has a similar amount of equipment.
Our pick is the Venga 1.6-litre CRDi diesel 3, though, as it's still an affordable car and offers a good blend of fuel economy and standard equipment.
A full five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating means the Kia is a safe car. Every version comes with a suite of airbags, hill-start assistance and electronic stability control, too.