So, I’ve had it for a week now. The Venga, that is. My new company car. It’s an odd, odd thing, this car. Mine is the top banana – a Venga 3 Nav with a 1.6 litre diesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. In addition to the sat-nav, it has a lovely big sun roof which opens and then creates the most awful kerfuffle. There is leather upholstery which manages to look much more like the by-product of refining oil than growing beef. There is Bluetooth for your phone and to stream music. There’s a reversing camera which shows its image on the sat-nav screen as well as rear parking sensors. There are seat heaters in the front seats which are astonishingly powerful. I could probably toast a crumpet on the passenger seat if I haven’t had time for breakfast. The back seats slide to increase the size of the boot or to give your passengers a little more legroom. I’m told that they recline in the back there too but I haven’t tried that out yet.
There are somethings missing which I came to admire on the Octavia. This is going to sound like a #FirstWorldProblem but I’m really going to miss the air-c0nditioned glovebox. I could keep chocolate and water cool in there. There was a very useful storage box under the front passenger seat in the Sk0da which is missing from the Kia. There are no headlamp washers, probably because there are no Vengas with xenon headlamps. There is no LW or DAB on the tuner which means my ability to listen to the cricket this summer is going to be severely impaired. I’m going to have to get a DAB tuner so I can listen to the Aussies get the pasting they so richly deserve. Barmy Army, Barmy Army, Barmy Army… Anyhoo.
Not that there was a LW tuner on the Octavia either, sadly.
I’ve done just under a thousand miles in my first week with the Venga. It’s clear that acceleration is going to be happening much more for other people in the next three years than it is for me. Corners are going to be a source of passing fear and frustration. The Venga is quite a tall car which means that I’m clinging on to its leather steering wheel or leaning on the fold-down armrest. A bit like the Mokka, I just need to slow down, calm down, think of the nice, big sunroof and allow things to happen at a more gentle pace than even the douce Skoda would permit. It managed the 400 miles from Glasgow, stopping only for diesel. The range is adequate for most days’ use and the seats just about allow you to travel without too much squirming around.
I’ve been unkind about my new car. I’ve wanted one of these tall hatches for years now. The Renault Modus, Fiat Idea and the first Vauxhall Meriva all intrigued me by feeling substially more spacious than the Clio, Punto or Corsa. The Venga feels a brighter and happier place than the Rio. There is enough room in the back with the seats folded down for my bike and all my triathlon gear. The taller seating position means that I can get in and out more easily with marathon legs. I’m looking forward to the next three years, really. I need an appliance for living more than I need a car and I think the Kia will do.