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Kia Venga: Test Drive Review

Date: 15 December 2009   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Supermini-MPV
P11D price: £12,750*
Key rival: Nissan Note

Kia is rapidly expanding and renewing its range and in February will launch the Venga, a supermini-MPV that will rival cars such as the Vauxhall Meriva, Nissan Note and Citroen C3 Picasso.

Based on the same underpinnings as the i20 (and Kia Soul) from sister firm Hyundai, Kia has worked hard and been successful in producing a stylish car that hides its size well.

The model range is simple and easy to understand with two petrol (1.4 and 1.6) and one, 1.4-litre diesel engine available in three trim levels labeled 1, 2, 3. All of which are well equipped and standard safety kit includes ESP anti-skid control and six airbag.

The 1.4-litre 90PS petrol engine is refined and free revving, but it's not got the shove of the identically sized 90PS 1.4 diesel.

And it's the diesel that will appeal to fleets and company car drivers for the lower taxation thanks to CO2 below 120g/km due in part to the standard stop-start system and low rolling resistance tyres. The downside of the diesel is that it it's noisier and less refined than many of its rivals. The 1.6-litre petrol is expected to be the smallest seller and will only be available with a four-speed automatic gearbox.

For any size of car competing as an MPV it's the interior that counts for many buyers. In the Venga the interior fit and finish quality if first rate. The majority of materials used, the parts you touch, are also of good quality. However, there are a few hard shiny plastics in use in other areas, but for a car at this price and size, it's not a criticism.

The boot is impressively large with 314 litres of space with the slideable rear seats in their rear-most position. This rises to 444 if you don't need any rear-passenger leg room. Better still, there's a further 126 litres of space under the boot floor. The result is a whopping 570 litre boot before you start folding the seats. The only area where the Kia loses a few marks to rivals is that the rear seats are 60/40 split rather than the 40/20/40 set-up of some rivals.

Unfortunately, BusinessCar is unable to give a verdict on how comfortable or sporty the car is as UK cars, arriving in February, will come with a suspension set-up developed specially for this country. This is a good thing as the Continental European cars we drove on the international launch of the car were on the bouncy side and needed more steering feel to match the class best.

Kia is rightly optimistic about the whole life costs given the price and residual value performance of the larger Ceed, possibly the best indicator of how fleets are taking to the latest generation of Kias.

If the UK suspension is up to scratch then the score of 7/10 should rise to 8/10 when the car reaches Britain.

Kia Venga 1.4 CDRi 90PS 2 5dr manual
P11D price£12,750*
Model price range£11,500-£15,500*
Fuel consumption62.8mpg
CO2 (tax) 117g/km (13%)
BIK 20/40% per month£27/£55
Service interval12,000mls
Insurancegroup 4*
Boot space (min/max)314/1253 litres
Engine size/power1396cc/90PS
Top speed/0-62mph104mph/14.5secs
On sale February 2010
VerdictWill worry established