9.9.2010Kia Venga 1.4 CRDi EcoDynamics review
Highly competent compact MPV with supermini running costs and stylish looks we aren't used to from Kia. Cabin is classy too with versatile seating arrangement. Reasonably enjoyable to drive but diesel engine lacks refinement. Car feels built to last as you might expect from that highly publicised seven year/100,000 mile warranty.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Venga offers a choice of 1.4 or 1.6 litre petrol engines but the most economical is the 89bhp 1.4 litre four-cylinder diesel tested here. Despite its 162 lbs ft of torque you have to wring its neck to access performance and even then 0-60mph takes 14 seconds. Worked hard it's not a quiet engine. Its CO2 rating is 117g/km. Top speed is 104mph, exactly the same as the 1.4 petrol which is 1.6 seconds quicker to 60mph. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 1.6 litre petrol.
Good all-round visibility, a relatively high seating position and light controls make the Venga easy to drive around town yet the power assisted steering is not so light you feel at sea on twisty country roads. Road noise can be intrusive on some motorway surfaces but no problems with stability passing trucks on a windy day.
Designed and built in Europe (Czech Republic) the Venga is a thoroughly modern looking five-door mini-MPV with an unusually long wheelbase to help make the cabin more spacious and this overall short length car ride well. The Venga is a big step forward for the Korean manufacturer and gives it a strong contender in this tough area of the market. Venga 3 specification brings all-glass, two-piece sliding panoramic sunroof covering almost the entire roof. Length 4068mm. Width 1765mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Kia seems to do good seats and even long motorway stints didn't cause any aches or twinges. Classy interior has simple to learn switchgear if you spend a few minutes before moving off. Huge glass sunroof which makes the cabin so light and airy was wasted on me as I kept the front blind closed most of the time. But I liked the set-and-forget full climate control and useful radio minor functions on steering wheel spokes.
Car self locks as you drive off which might be useful in towns if you have bags on seats etc.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy: Urban 54.3mpg, extra-urban 70.6mpg, combined 62.8mpg. This translates a fuel cost of around 8.7p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 117g/km put the Venga 1.4CRDi in band C. Annual road tax is £30 after zero in year one. Insurance group 11. Warranty covers seven years/100,000 miles. No mileage limit in first three years.
'Intelligent' stop-start to reduce fuel consumption when stationary is the main feature. Low rolling resistance tyres, power-saving alternator management system (car's battery is recharged when coasting or braking), on-demand electric power assisted steering and change up/change down gear indicator all also help minimise fuel thirst. Engine has high pressure common rail injection, variable swirl control (up to five fuel injections per cycle), exhaust gas recirculation and diesel particulate filter trap.
WhatGreenCar Rating of 33.
Standard specification includes anti-lock brakes, emergency brake assist, manual air conditioning, six airbags, power steering, six-speaker sound system with CD player, tilt and slide steering column, electric front windows, remote control central locking and three power sockets. Venga 2 trim includes alloy wheels, electrically adjustable door mirrors, leather rimmed steering wheel. Venga 3 adds climate control, electric sunroof, front and rear electric windows and privacy glass on rear windows and tailgate.
Model tested: Kia Venga 1.4CRDi EcoDynamics 3
Body-style: Five-door mini MPV
Engine/CO2: 89bhp 1.4 litre turbo diesel/117gCO2/km
Trim grades: 1, 2, 3
On-road price: From £11,890. Test car £15,755
Warranty: Seven years/100,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 3.0 STARS