Kia is continuing its momentum after the scrappage scheme with its new B-segment contender – the Venga.
It’s not a replacement for the Picanto (that is not due until 2011, along with
a new Rio). Instead it creates a broader choice for customers looking for a compact car, but with more interior space.
The mini-MPV Venga slots into Kia’s product portfolio range just below the Soul and will go up against models such as the Honda Jazz and Skoda Roomster.
It’s the first car designed from scratch by Kia’s chief design officer, Peter Schreyer.
The unique selling point for the Venga is its cavernous cabin and dealers will be expected to highlight this to customers looking for something more affordable without compromising on interior space.
A two-tier boot means owners who occasionally need more than the standard 444 litres of cargo space can expand the luggage area by moving the floor. The luggage compartment becomes 163mm taller, extending total volume to 570 litres.
If more space is required, the rear seats have ‘fold and dive’ functionality which makes them disappear into the floor and creates a completely flat deck in the load area and expands the total space to 1,486 litres.
Dealers can, of course, push Kia’s seven-year warranty as a key selling point to help win customers and the fact that it is now available across the South Korean brand’s entire range highlights how much confidence it has in the quality of its products.
Kia is expecting the best seller to be the Venga 2 1.4-litre petrol and is expecting to sell a total of 3,800 in the first full year of sales.
Venga goes on sale in the UK with a choice of three engines and the option of manual or automatic transmissions. Diesel versions feature EcoDynamics, Kia’s fuel-saving, CO2-cutting technologies that include intelligent stop and go (ISG).
There are three trim levels (1,2,3) and customers can choose from 1.4-litre 89bhp and 1.6-litre 124bhp petrol engines or a 1.4-litre 89bhp U2 diesel.
The petrol variants AM tested were perky and while the Venga can cover 62.8mpg it was pretty unrefined and noisy. However, due to carbon dioxide emissions of 117g/km vehicle excise duty is just £35.
The consumer view
A pretty but otherwise pretty average little monobox on offer at a pretty unremarkable price.
Stylish, roomy, easy to drive and, significantly, has a seven-year transferable warranty.
The Venga’s arrival is well timed as buyers consider smaller, cheaper cars.
The 1.4-litre diesel lacks the punch you expect from low revs. We’d save £1,400 and buy the smoother 1.4-litre petrol version.