What is it?
The car world is always transforming. Models come and go and even the manufacturers that build them are ultimately subject to a beginning, a middle and an end.
Happily, it seems that Kia is firmly entrenched in its ‘middle’ phase, and long may it continue. But anyone with a keen eye will have spotted Kia’s morphing from budget manufacturer to mainstream player. In the process its cars have not only become better built, more stylish and superior to drive but also more expensive.
Not all the changes have been seismic, though, as we can see with this gentle facelift of the Venga mini-MPV which, at £14,895 for this 1.4 CDi SR7 model, is bang on the money of rivals such as the Nissan Note and Honda Jazz. So has Kia's latest offering lost some of the old model's rough edges and become a real player?
What's it like?
Outside the changes mean a bigger grille, sharper-looking bumpers and, on the SR7 model, smart new 16in alloys. Tyre pressure monitors are now standard, as are air-con, electric windows, automatic lights, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth.
Despite is being just 10cm longer than a Ford Fiesta, the Venga has got space inside for four six-foot adults. Indeed, with no transmission tunnel in the rear, it will facilitate a fifth person, too, if you don’t mind some friendly rubbing of shoulders.
So is the boot tiny as a result? No, there are 440 litres of luggage space back there, extending to 570 litres if you drop the boot floor to its lowest setting. You can also fold both rear seats in one simple action - without even removing the headrests - for a full 1253 litres and including a fabulously flat load deck.
If you need more options, the rear seats slide forward or back by 130mm and the backrests tilt, so you can prioritise the boot or rear seat space depending on your needs.
The driving position is good, with lots of adjustment to the steering wheel and seat. There’s also a good-sized glove box and plenty of oddment storage dotted around. The basic infotainment system, with its dinky, old-school display, is a mite fiddly, but given time you eventually become its master.