The new Sportage takes the challenge to popular cars in the compact SUV sector, and the latest Sorento offers luxury SUV motoring without the luxury SUV price tag.
Now, it’s turning to other growing sectors within the market. Such as the mini-MPV sector. Just a few years ago, this was characterised by the Renault Modus, the first-gen Vauxhall Meriva, and… that’s about it.
But in recent years, more makers have joined the party – and, crucially, car buyers have
cottoned on to the value they offer, too.
For family hatchback money, such cars come with super-flexible practicality and, usually, a damn sight more equipment than a comparable family hatchback. They make genuine entry-level people carriers: which is why Kia has decided to enter with the Venga.
The Venga is one of a series of all new Kias that are successfully transforming perceptions of the brand from budget offering to genuine mainstream contender. It is powered by a modest selection of small petrol and diesel engines with automatic gearbox and stop-start options on some models, and features neat styling outside and solid interior quality inside.
A big part of the appeal, of course, is Kia’s market-leading seven-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
It’s impossible to mention a modern Kia without noting the staggering warranty; there’s nothing on the market to match it and it really does help overcome any residual buyer apathy.
Not that the Venga leaves much to doubt. While not a style icon, it is neat and mature in its styling, with tidy detailing that shows Kia’s growing
understanding of European needs.
Naturally, it has loads of family-orientated showroom appeal inside, too. It is a good proposition for those looking for a smaller car able to cater to the demands of living with young children, yet also wishing to maintain a sense of style and fun.
Kia has intentionally designed it low and wide, rather than tall and long. This means plenty of elbow room but, be aware, not all that much head and legroom, especially in the back. Teenagers and adults will fit, but don’t expect them to be comfortable for lengthy periods.
Vengas are enjoyable to drive with specific suspension and steering set-ups developed right here for our roads. This further heightens the impression that you are getting a well considered, quality product.
The ride quality in particular is good and there is precision through the bends as well. Factor in a competent range of engines and you have all that’s required to please most family buyers. Indeed, thanks to the keen pricing of the Venga, those buyers may actually find their budget stretches to diesel instead of petrol – and the 1.6-litre Kia turbodiesel is well worth it.
The Venga is a strong statement from Kia to other car manufacturers that says they need to watch out. The value-led pricing and generous equipment levels remain, but the Venga is also one of the best-looking cars in its segment. We have no doubt it’ll fly out of showrooms.
Engine: 1.4-litre CRDi
Power: 89bhp, 220Nm
MPG: 62.8 (comb’d)