Steering Column 25.09.09

Venga on the trigger

Korean car manufacturer Kia is preparing to release a new small multi-purpose vehicle onto the market. Called the Venga, it will go on sale across Europe later this year.

First pictures suggest it is a pretty good-looking five-door, chunky and solid with a touch of grown-up attitude. And considering it is coming from Kia, it has a pretty reasonable name too, unlike the pro_cee’d which … well I don’t really need to finish that sentence, do I?

Although only available with five seats, as is the norm in this sector of the market, the rear seats can fold flat to the floor to leave a big cargo-hold. Some models will also get the option of a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof to make it feel light and airy inside.

As is Kia’s wont, the level of equipment even on the base-model LX is more than adequate, but there are two higher levels of specification known as EX and TX that add things like keyless unlocking, bigger wheels and bits of leather depending how high up the tree you go.

There are two petrol and four diesel engine options pushing between 75 and 128PS to the front wheels through a manual or automatic gearbox. The petrol engines are a 1.4-litre and a 1.6-litre unit. The diesels are also either 1.4 or 1.6-litre units, but both come with two optional power outputs.

It is slightly smaller than Kia’s eye-catching Soul – and not quite as eye-catching – but it promises to be more flexible. The question that springs to mind is, if you set fire to one, would the crime be known as “arson venga”? Sorry.

More Max

Ford has unveiled a few more details of its own mid-sized MPV known as the C-MAX.

It is bigger than the Kia Venga in its basic form, but now there will be an even bigger Grand C-MAX with seven seats and sliding rear doors. Both will be on sale in Europe by the end of next year.

Much is written by the company about what we’re meant to feel about the design features using phrases like “muscular, expressive shapes”, “taut wing-like sections”, “dramatic bull-horn shapes” and “emotive, dynamic design”. Truth is it is a tidy looking car in seven-seat guise and a bit more sporty with five seats. It won’t set your soul on fire but it won’t bore you into early slumber either.

There will be plenty of engines to choose from. Ford speaks of upgraded version of its TDCi diesel engines and a choice of petrol engines, but solid facts about performance and kit are still thin on the ground. We’ll have to wait until nearer the launch date for those.

Sad for some

Anyone fancying the look of Mazda’s next new performance car, the Mazda3 MPS, is unlikely to be able to buy it from a local showroom.

When it is launched onto the market at the start of next month, it will only be sold through specialist dealers, the nearest one to here being in Inverness.

Mazda will be dedicating staff, showroom space and demonstrators to specially chosen dealerships through which to sell what will be its fastest-ever hatchback.

Shame really since the swift little beast is available for a far-from-prohibitive-by-Shetland-standards £21,500. Not bad for a good-looking hatchback that will hit 62mph just 6.1 seconds after take-off.

Mike Grundon


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