Only a few years back, it would have been big news if Kia had produced a car as good as the Venga. Back then Kia was a value brand that meant accepting compromises in quality and competence. Then came the Cee’d, and Kia demonstrated it was ready to mix it with the established players. 

So now it is no great shock when Kia turns out another relatively good product. Which the Venga is, assuming you’re not buying the 1.6-litre automatic. But it is no more than that. It has one stand-out quality: interior space, which is above average if not quite class leading. However, that’s one of many things (including its looks) it shares with Hyundai’s version of the same car – the ix20. In fact, but for a few pounds here and there, the two share prices, too.

It is no great shock when Kia turns out another relatively good product

In other respects (performance, economy, dynamics and overall verve) the Venga is no better than average. The Citroën C3 Picasso has it licked for style, quality and boot space and, when discounts are taken into account, prices aren’t dissimilar.

The venerable Nissan Note is a better drive, but feeling old, while the Honda Jazz is a more expensive option. None, however, are as generously loaded as the 1 or 3 models, are as generous with interior space or as generous with the warranty. 

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Which would still be enough to recommend it if Kia had maintained its price advantage. But in pure price terms the Venga sits too close to more credible competitors for comfort.

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