Altogether average; comfortable enough if rather noisy with a tendency to lean around corners
We like the raised driving position and easy-to-use layout of all the controls
Everything we'd like to see in an MPV from airbags to stability control, with active head rests thrown in for good measure
If the chic, good-quality interior doesn't convince you, try a seven-year warranty for peace of mind
A petite exterior conceals plus-size levels of interior room
All models get air-con, remote locking and electric front windows, upgrade for alloys or a panoramic sunroof
Although the Kia Venga isn't bad to drive - think yesterday's club sandwich rather than last week's lettuce - it's hardly a gourmet experience. We'd plump for the cheapest 1.4-litre petrol engine which has a dash of spice and keeps the price down. All versions are comfortable enough, but the tall body does tend to lean in corners and a fair bit of noise reaches the cabin - particularly in diesel versions.
You'll enjoy a good view out from the raised driving position in the Kia Venga, although if you're on the short or tall side you might find the limited seat and steering wheel adjustment a problem. A dizzying array of dashboard buttons makes navigating the controls trickier than it needs to be, too.
From a practical point of view there's plenty of space inside, with a good-sized boot that can be extended, thanks to rear seats that slide back and forth, and fold flat. The boot floor can be raised to level the load area - a handy feature.
The entry-level 1 models come with remote control locking, electric front windows and a CD player with USB socket, while 1 Air trim adds air-con. Stepping up to a 2 brings alloy wheels and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls.
The Venga doesn't feature in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey, but Kia as a whole was rated average in the overall manufacturer league table. The seven-year warranty should help ease your reliability worries, though.
On the safety front, the Venga has everything we'd expect to see in an MPV, from six airbags to stability control, with active head rests thrown in for good measure. It scored 89% for adult protection and 85% for child protection in crash tests - the same as its sister car the Hyundai ix20, and better than a Citroen C3 Picasso (81%/76%).
Kia hasn't stuck to its usual budget brief with the Venga, because prices are higher than we'd expect. Resale values aren't likely to be particularly strong, either, although a seven-year warranty, which transfers when you sell the car, should soothe even the most anxious owners. Even so, a Kia Cee'd is a much better buy.