More stylish, more luxurious, better equipped and headed by a new premium range-topping model - Kia's quart-from-a-pint-pot small car, the Venga, is now on sale in the UK in the facelifted form revealed at the Paris Motor Show in the autumn of 2014.
All versions feature restyled front and rear ends which give the Venga a sharper, sportier appearance. The interiors have been refreshed with added touches of luxury and more equipment, and at the top of the range there is a new Venga 4 model which brings previously unattainable features to the range.
The new line-up is based on five trim grades - 1, 1 Air, 2, 3 and 4 - and four engines, giving a choice of 11 models. The highly economical 1.4- and 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines are carried over from the previous Venga and give potential fuel economy of up to 64.2mpg, with CO2 emissions as low as 117g/km. Intelligent Stop & Go (ISG) - Kia's fuel-saving, CO2-cutting engine stop/start technology - is standard where it can effect a worthwhile improvement in fuel consumption and emissions, and appears on all but one manual transmission version. The Venga is produced in Europe at Kia's plant at Žilina in Slovakia.
The 89bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine is offered with 1, 1 Air and 2 trim grades, while the 89bhp 1.4-litre diesel is reserved exclusively for Venga 2. The two 1.6-litre engines with manual transmission are available with grades 3 and 4. The 1.6 petrol engine is also offered with a four-speed automatic gearbox in grades 2, 3 and 4.
A bold new exterior, upgraded interior and new alloy wheels and paint options
Venga was the first car launched under the stewardship of Peter Schreyer, now President of Design for both Kia and partner company Hyundai. Proving that small can be beautiful, it brought sensational good looks to the supermini segment of the market.
For 2015 those looks have been enhanced by new front and rear styling and upgraded interiors. All versions have a more aggressive, sportier front bumper and main grille, featuring a new take on the ‘tiger nose' theme with high-gloss black mesh and a chrome surround. The Kia logo has been relocated to the bodywork. The lower air intake has been redesigned to house daytime running lights (LED with grades 3 and 4) next to the fog lights, which now sit in high-gloss black housings joined by a chrome strip. There is also now a chrome strip linking the rear light units, which are LED on Venga 4. Another premium touch with Venga 4 is the chrome exterior door handles.
For grades 2 and above, there are new-style 16-inch alloy wheels with five triple spokes, while grades 1 and 1 Air continue with 15-inch steel wheels with five-spoke embellishers. Grades 2 and above are also offered with two new metallic paint colours - Planet Blue and Dark Gun Metal - which replace Space Blue and Sirius Silver.
Interior improvements include new black Houndstooth cloth for entry-grade models, while grade 2 continues with black Beat cloth and level 3 again has black Bamboo part-leather and part-cloth upholstery. This is also fitted to the new Venga 4. There is a new Grey Metal Grain paint finish for the centre fascia of Venga 1, 1 Air and 2, while high-gloss black continues to adorn Venga 3 and is replicated in the new Venga 4.
Venga is not a mini-MPV but a five-seat supermini with genuine space. It avoids the boxy profile of other tall, passenger-friendly small cars and instead presents a sleeker, racier profile that gives it a Cd figure of just 0.31 - reducing fuel consumption, emissions and wind noise when travelling quickly.
At 4,068mm long and with an unusually long 2,615mm wheelbase, a high roofline and class-best width, Venga provides interior space comparable to that in C-segment cars - but within a footprint typical of a B-segment vehicle. Venga is amongst the class-best for interior measurements in many key areas, including front and rear leg and hip room and luggage space.
Split rear seats that slide fore and aft by up to 130mm allow the passenger accommodation to be stretched when maximum luggage capacity is not needed. Alternatively, a two-tier boot means that owners who occasionally need more than the standard 440 litres of cargo space can expand the luggage area simply by lowering the floor. The luggage compartment thus becomes 163mm taller, extending total volume to 570 litres. If more space is required, the rear seats have ‘Fold & Dive' functionality, which makes them seem to disappear into the floor, creating a completely flat deck in a load area offering a cavernous 1,253 litres of space.
New equipment features available
All models are extremely highly specified, and features previously unattainable with the Venga now appear in certain models. Tyre Pressure Monitoring is fitted to all versions, warning the driver of any potentially serious loss of pressure via a symbol in the instrument cluster. Automatic Light Control is now standard with Venga 3 and 4, and Venga 4 also has ‘welcome' and ‘follow-me-home' lighting.
Other unique features to Venga 4 are a smart key with engine start/stop button, a heated steering wheel activated by a control switch on the right-hand wheel spoke to complement the heated front seats fitted to Venga 3 and 4, and a panoramic sunroof. Venga 3 and 4 are also equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen satellite navigation system with European mapping and a Traffic Messaging Channel (TMC). The full-colour touchscreen also includes a reversing camera. The infotainment system, which is also accessed via the touchscreen, no longer includes a CD player due to the increasing trend among customers of using portable devices to play music. The high-quality six speaker audio system includes RDS radio, full MP3 compatibility and AUX and USB ports.
Standard across the range are driver's seat height adjustment, tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment, electric front windows, remote central locking, tinted glass, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, a front passenger armrest, body-coloured handles and door mirrors and electrically adjustable heated door mirrors.
Venga 2 models add alloy wheels, an iPod cable, Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone operation with music streaming, rear electric windows, folding door mirrors and reversing sensors. Venga 3 versions come with climate control, front and rear electric windows, front fog lamps, privacy glass on the rear windows and tailgate and cruise control with a speed limiter.
For safety, all Vengas have six airbags (front, side and curtains), active front head restraints and two ISOFIX child-seat mounting points.
Every Venga benefits from Kia's unique seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, subject to terms and conditions covering wear-and-tear items. It is transferable to future owners should the car be sold during the period of the warranty.
All four engines in Venga are torquey and fuel-efficient, ensuring excellent driveability with low running costs. The two petrol engines are 1.4-litre 89bhp and 1.6-litre 123bhp units from Kia's Gamma family. The 1.4 is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 1.6 is available with either a six-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.
The 1.4-litre 89bhp U2 CRDi diesel engine made its debut in Venga and is offered alongside a 114bhp 1.6-litre version. Both were designed and engineered at Kia's research and development facilities near Frankfurt in Germany and are manufactured at Žilina.
The running gear benefits from Venga's unusually long wheelbase and wide track. Venga therefore has a lively, fun-to-drive character while delivering excellent comfort and refinement.
Motor-driven electronic power-assisted steering (MDPS) is standard as a further fuel-saving measure, and all models have an all-disc braking system with anti-lock (ABS) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD). Also standard is electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC) with brake assist (BAS) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) to ensure the car always remains under control, even in the most difficult conditions, and can stop in the shortest possible distance in an emergency. Hill-start assist control (HAC) is also fitted. This holds the car for two seconds when setting off on inclines to prevent it rolling backwards.