From time to time we talk about some cars that represent a niche that no one really needed, but look here. And Kia Venga and Hyundai ix20 are other such examples.
This is because the Hyundai ix20 and Kia Venga are sister cars, with only a different badge slapped on their noses. What is interesting instead is that they are not built on the i20’s platform as you would expect, but are built on the Kia Soul platform. That’s because the idea of the Kia Venga is not to be a bigger Rio, but a smaller minivan to go toe to toe with Ford’s B Max, for example.
And yet Venga and ix20 went on the road with the idea of customer base and found themselves with another customer base, namely the typical minivan and/or Suzuki Splash customers – the old people. Kia Venga is a car that you can get in and out of very easily, you have a high driving position, you have all the buttons nicely laid out on the oven tray which sits in the middle of the dashboard, you have sliding rear seats, you have simple engines and low purchase prices. So we have a spiritual successor to the Suzuki Splash or a rival for the Suzuki Ignis, except that you can’t fit in the Suzuki Ignis if you have hands and feet. Only if you have hands OR feet. Not “and”.
Unfortunately, we saw from the story of the Ford B Max that the minivan in 2010 had a lower audience even than “The Marvels”, a movie marketed so aggressively that the next step was just to send Brie Larson from door to door and to convince people to watch the movie.
Yes, the minivan has its own customer base, but it is not the biggest possible customer base because it is generally addressed to older people who want a new car, the Kia Venga and Hyundai ix20 being cheap enough to buy for just about anyone. It’s just that most people still have the Omega from their youth and won’t give it up any time soon, so even more potential buyers are cut off.
Moreover, these two cars arrive on the market in 2010 during the crisis. The world throwing money out the window, usually from the window of a Range Rover, and now they were being hit by the recession as if Vinnie Jones had personally delivered them the reality check. The good part, on the other hand, was that now the cross-over segment was becoming popular, because the world was reorienting itself from symbols of excess on wheels to smaller cars, like the heyday of hot hatches but also the grim period of the rise of compacts with legs like Qashqai or Rav4 or worse, the Tiguan. Nope, there wasn’t much room for the Kia Venga in this situation.
Kia Venga Engines
- 1.4 MPI Gamma of 90 horsepower – Honestly, I don’t think you need more power, not for a Kia Venga. Sure, it’s as thirsty as the 1.6 engine and the engine mounts wears out prematurely and has that specific whine that doesn’t affect the engine, but the 1.4 petrol remains all the engine you’ll ever need.
- 1.6 MPI Gamma of 125 horsepower – Very few people look at a Kia Venga and say “mmm, yes, this is the car I want to barrel down the M4 in”. Otherwise, it has the same issues as the 1.4 so nothing special.
- 1.4 CRDi U of 77 and 90 horsepower – Retired in 2014, this engine makes as much sense as kebab pizza or sushi pizza. Besides the fact that it is a diesel engine for a city car, this diesel has issues with cold starting, but only in the Venga wierdly enough. Other cars powered by this engine don’t seem to have problems waking up on a cold morning.
- 1.6 CRDi U of 115 and 128 horsepower – They still decided to keep a diesel so you don’t say you don’t have one to choose from. The same 1.6 CRDi we are used to in the Kia / Hyundai group and which needs constant software updates to protect the turbo.
Kia Venga Reliability Issues
- The fuel level indicator does not work all the time and you never know how much fuel you have left. Fortunately, the engines are capable of stellar mpg and most of the owners anyway spent their youth behind the wheel of cars at a time when there was no fuel level indicator or antifreeze or tachometer or speedometer or any kind of indicator.
- The electric power steering is a recurring problem in the Kia Venga and Hyundai ix20, and your retired hands definitely don’t stand a chance when you’re left without power steering.
- The cable of the 4-speed automatic gearbox detaches from the slot and the gear changes are just as fast as the guy in front of you at the fuel pump. It takes forever.
Kia Venga Verdict
It may not be the most popular car, nor is it a car aimed at the youngest and who are not necessarily in a hurry but want to reach their destination someday. But if you want a simple, cheap, reliable, easy to drive and generally practical car, then the Kia Venga is an option that is definitely worth looking at. Especially since the main rival, the B Max, has quite abit of reliability issues, whereas the Venga does not.
What engines do I recommend? 1.4 MPI with 77 horsepower is enough for petrol power, and the 128 horsepower 1.6 CRDI for diesel.