Kia Venga review : Light interior and running costs make for a decent city car


  • Long warranty
  • Large interior
  • Practical


  • Too expensive
  • Quality not great
  • Sluggish engines

The Kia Venga gets reasonable, but not great reviews. The Venga is a small, short city car that has a comprehensive seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty, something that provides private buyers with masses of reassurance.

It’s no one-trick pony though; it’s more spacious than you’d imagine, nicely finished inside, and surprisingly agreeable to drive too, if not the best in the class.

Cheapest to buy: 1.4-litre ‘1’ petrol

Cheapest to run: 1.4-litre SR7 diesel

Fastest model: 1.6-litre ‘3’ petrol

Most popular: 1.4-litre SR7 petrol

The Venga is a short car that feels much bigger inside than it should; it manages this thanks to an upright seating position and by having the four wheels located at each corner, a bit like the original Mini.

There is room on the rear seats for three children and they slide fore and aft by 130mm too, adding to their versatility. The boot floor can be lowered as well giving even more room for luggage.

It feels bright in there too – especially if you specify the optional glass sunroof – and equipment levels are generous. It’s not quite as well built as the best of its competitors – but don’t lose sight of that seven-year warranty, will you?

The Venga rolls a fair bit in the corners but “it’ll hang on gamely” when driven hard. Kia has tuned the suspension for British roads (the European set-up is a bit too harsh for us, apparently) but it can still crash a bit at lower speeds, which is a drawback for what is primarily a low-speed, commuting and city car.

It’s quiet at motorway speeds and the brakes are reassuringly powerful at all speeds. The steering is light and easy. 

Although you’re not justified in expecting a thrilling ride and driving experience from a car like the Venga, even for an MPV it’s totally uninspiring and a long way short of being even slightly entertaining. While some may see its forgettable driving experience as something of a plus-point, most modern buyers expect a bit more these days, even from a vehicle like the Kia Venga.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine is underpowered and best avoided. Its bigger brother, the 1.6 petrol engine, is hampered by being bolted to a four-speed automatic gearbox.

The 1.4-litre petrol unit also has a pretty poor 0 to 60 mph time of 13.1 seconds, but even if you can cope with that you are unlikely to be happy with its performance beyond that point. It takes another 13.5 seconds to get from 60 to 80 mph, which is sluggish by just about anyone’s standards.

The best engine, then, is the 1.4 CRDi diesel engine – and not just by default. It gives useful performance and decent fuel economy – most reviewers think it’d be unwise to plump for either of the other two.

The inclusion of front, side and curtain airbags, active anti-whiplash head restraints and stability control in every Kia Venga tells you just how seriously the manufacturer takes safety.

By the very nature of what these vehicles are intended do – carry people – MPVs have to pay serious attention to both active and passive safety systems and the Venga comes out pretty well in this area.

MPVs like the Venga are inherently top-heavy, so it does require some work to make the driver and passengers feel totally safe in them. The Venga gets a five-star Euro NCAP rating for safety, so you can’t really ask for a whole lot more.

The Kia Venga isn’t as cheap to buy as you might imagine but that warranty makes it good value – especially as it’s a nice car to drive and own too. Few people will buy one and be disappointed after seven years.

Even though you have that excellent warranty, don’t expect to get a good trade-in price when the time comes to change as there are so many competitors that will prove more desirable to used buyers.

The high levels of standard safety equipment is a real positive for the car, but whether that actually means the car represents good value for money is debatable. If you need something small to nip around town then the Volkswagen Up or Skoda Citigo make for more complete packages.


For the family motorist on a budget the Venga should be considered, it doesn’t excel in any one area but is a competent, if slightly dull, all-rounder. There are better cars to drive – and the engine choice isn’t that great – but the ownership experience as a whole should be rewarding and trouble free; things that the average family will come to appreciate in a car over the years.

The length of warranty Kia offers puts competitors in the shade, but it means little if you don’t intend to keep your Venga longer than three years. Although it will be good for the next owner, it is unlikely to mean much to you in terms of a stronger resale value.


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