As it did with the Soul, Kia has tuned the Kia Venga’s suspension for British roads, which means a UK Venga rides differently from one in Europe. Kia UK has gone to this trouble because it felt the Venga’s European specification was too stiff for our broken roads.
The question is, has Kia gone far enough? Because all that has been changed for the UK is the damping; the spring rates are unaltered. Certainly the first impression is that, for a relatively tall urban car, the Venga turns with remarkably little body roll. As a consequence, it feels surprisingly nimble and planted during cornering, and grips strongly. The ESP can be switched off, although we doubt any Venga owner would want to.
However, while the Venga is competent, it could never be described as an entertaining car to drive. Rather, it is entirely forgettable, which we understand some people will see as a positive. We, however, wish the steering was more feelsome and less spongy on turn-in. The electric system is an improvement on that fitted to the Kia Soul, mostly because it is more consistent around the straight ahead, but it is still some way off the best electric set-ups.
As for the ride, the Venga just about gets away with it. Around town the stiffness of the spring rates means the Venga is displaced by bumps more readily than we expect of this class of car, but there is just enough compliancy in the dampers that the movement doesn’t disturb occupants.