As a five-door mini MPV, the Kia Venga was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009. Since Kia was working with Hyundai on the Venga, it shares the same platform used on the Hyundai ix20 and i20. One of the most notable features of the Venga is the Tiger Nose, the corporate grille for KIA designed by the South Korean car manufacturer’s design chief, Peter Schreyer. As a testament to the strides in design that were incorporated in the Venga, it won the IF Design Award in 2009 in Germany.
The Kia Venga was the first ever vehicle produced from scratch by Peter Schreyer, Kia’s new design chief. Taking inspiration from the Kia Soul though, it has a longer wheelbase by 65mm. This is the car’s main selling point. And as a result, front and rear overhangs are short. Add in a broad track and the Venga looks squat, which is helpful in hiding the fact that it is 1.6cm taller than your standard hatchback. Large three-quarter windows in front boost visibility at corners, complemented by large, swept-back headlights.
Going inside, the Venga delivers well. For starters, the driver’s seat is positioned right and being height-adjustable means you can fix it just the way that would work for you. There are a lot of cubbyholes to go around as well, ensuring that anything you have can be organized in however way you want. At the back, the rear seats split, recline, and slide, with the recline function opening up the option to free leg room in exchange for boot space. For taller passengers, no need to fret because there’s a lot of head room to be enjoyed with the high roofline.
The Kia Venga is the ix20 in Hyundai’s terms. The two essentially share the same platform so it cannot be avoided that similarities will pop up. However, using the same chassis and engine, even Kia and Hyundai have to admit that the Venga and the ix20 look so similar that it’s like the same car is being sold simply under different names. A way to tell them apart though would be through their warranties: the Venga comes with seven years and 100,000 miles, while the ix20 offers only five though no mileage limit is imposed.
There are petrol and diesel engine options available with the Venga. However, there’s just one for diesel: the 89bhp 1.4-litre unit which is stamped with Kia’s EcoDynamics badge. For petrol engines, there are two units to choose from: a 1.6-litre unit that coughs up 124bhp and a 1.4-litre unit capable of 89bhp. Despite great fuel economy from the diesel engine at 62.8mpg, best value should be enjoyed with the 1.4-litre petrol engine. Just three engine options make the pickings slim. Not to mention that the 1.6-litre unit, the petrol engine that could’ve taken the Venga further, is only available with a four-speed automatic gearbox.
There’s not much to be expected out of a 1.4-litre 89bhp unit but going from 0 to 60mph in 13.1 seconds is really slow. As a result, anything beyond that just feels sluggish. The 1.6-litre unit should perform better but nothing impressive as well.
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