The Kia Venga is roomy inside and the touches designed to make it versatile work reasonably well. The cabin looks quite stylish, too, and safety equipment is comprehensive.
Crucially for a Kia, the Venga is not particularly cheap, while driving it isn't an exhilarating experience. The noisy, under-performing diesel engine is best left alone.
On the road
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Your best bet is the 89bhp 1.4 petrol model. It's the cheapest to buy and the perky, eager engine really suits the car. The 89bhp 1.4 diesel is best left alone: its fuel economy is vastly superior to the petrols', but it's not particularly flexible. We haven't driven the 123bhp 1.6 petrol yet, but that one is available only with an automatic gearbox.
Ride & Handling
The Venga is generally pretty comfortable. The suspension does a good job of taking the sting out of big bumps, but the ride can feel a little knobbly on average surfaces. Its tall body leans quite a bit in corners, and the steering has virtually no feedback, although there's enough grip to make it feel secure.
The smaller petrol engine does a decent job of melting into the background at cruising speeds, but the diesel is coarse – giving off too much noise and vibration at all times. In fact, there's so much engine noise that you won't hear the moderate levels of wind- and road noise that is audible in the petrol version. The suspension is a little noisy in both versions.