New Kia cometh with style
The arrival of the Venga, with its space, economy and world-beating seven-year warranty, puts this marque up there with the best, says Campbell Spray
Published 31/01/2010 | 05:00
Up until I had picked up the new Kia Venga, the only thing associated with that name was the Arsenal manager and he even spelt it very differently. Then suddenly I was confronted with two Vengas -- a range of soft drinks which claimed to be "functional infusions"; and the very roomy, economical, adaptable and extremely low emissions Kia, which may have taken its name from the Spanish for "come".
Of course, we must not forget the Vengaboys -- a Eurodance group whose principal songs include Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom and We're Going to Ibiza.
I did like the Kia Venga; it has Tardis-like proportions inside and is definitely a B-Sector car at a C-sector price. It even reminded me strongly of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, with a lot of space packed into a squarish body. I found it had massive room in the front, even for two burly people; and the adaptability of the back sections gave me everything I could possibly want. There are also the hidden areas under the rear floor which give a good sense of security for things like laptops, cameras and machine-guns (for taking out groups with songs like Boom, Boom, etc).
Helping to bring the Venga into the lowest (€104) road tax band are low-rolling resistance tyres and so-called "intelligent Stop and Go technology. However, the latter is rather temperamental and needs a bit more work. All models have Bluetooth, air-conditioning, ESP and very high levels of safety equipment, which mean that Kia can confidently predict the Venga will also get the maximum five stars in the NCAP which was awarded to their previous three new models.
Prices start from €18,395 with the EX model €1,300 dearer, giving extras including 16" alloys, rear electric windows, privacy glass, front fog lamps, leather wheel and gear trims as well as folding side mirrors. I was very impressed by the Venga in so many ways and would happily live with it; yet I do feel the 1.4 diesel needs a bit more poke. It just doesn't have that extra power to make the most of motorway driving nor the acceleration power needed for really safe and confident overtaking. Despite that, it might suit many families' requirements and should be on their shortlists. It does fall into the scrappage scheme and has the massive benefit of Kia's world-beating seven-year warranty.
Kia says that the "dynamic" sound of the name echoes its core brand value of the "power surprise". Come on! Maybe it does but, whatever, it is a pretty good car anyway and I especially enjoyed driving it around town. There is an excellent driving position and it is very easy to park.
Kia is the coming marque.