Twin test: Kia Venga vs Vauxhall Meriva

  • We put two small MPVs to the test
  • Driving, practicality and costs compared
  • Find out which delivers the best package

If you’re looking for a small car that provides decent interior space, a compact MPV might be your solution. They’re more versatile than their hatchback counterparts and still deliver an engaging driving experience, but should you go manual or automatic? Find out below.

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Kia Venga 1.6 2 Auto (10-) vs Vauxhall Meriva 1.4T 16v Excite (10-)


Kia Venga: This 1.6-litre diesel engine comes with a four-speed automatic only, and achieves a slightly slower 0-60mph time than the Meriva. It manages a lower top speed too but the Kia is engaging to drive. The vague, heavy steering and notchy gearchange don’t add to the experience though.

Kia Venga twin test

Vauxhall Meriva: This responsive turbocharged petrol provides a wide spread of power that works well with the manual gears. The Meriva is focused towards comfort with its light steering and refined ride. All-round visibility is good, the Meriva delivers a stable and composed drive and is the better bet to tackle twisty roads too.


Kia Venga: The Venga features sliding rear seats that make for a very flexible set-up, plus its boot is bigger than that found in the Meriva. Access to the back passenger seats may be more conventional with the traditional front-hinged rear doors, but the simple folding mechanism for those rear seats is trick and creates a completely flat-load space.

Vauxhall Meriva doors twin test

Vauxhall Meriva: The clever rear-hinged doors are genuinely useful if you either have child seats to fit or older passengers who struggle with conventional doors. Just like the Kia, the rear seats also slide back and forth, but the Meriva goes one further with the ability to slide the outer two seats inwards, creating more space for when you just have two passengers in the back.


Kia Venga: Fuel efficiency in the Kia is only marginally lower than the Meriva’s, with slightly higher CO2 emissions too. The Venga does benefit from a lower insurance group however and comes with the transferrable attractive seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. It holds on to its value better than the Meriva too.

Kia Venga dash twin test

Vauxhall Meriva: The Meriva achieves a higher average mpg figure than the Kia Venga and thanks to a bigger fuel tank petrol station stops should be less frequent. Ownership costs are also further reduced thanks to group 12 insurance plus the Meriva’s service intervals are further apart compared to the Kia Venga.



Kia Venga

Vauxhall Meriva



4-cylinder petrol



4-cylinder petrol


Fuel capacity

48 litres

54 litres

Road Tax

Band G –

£180 p/a 

Band E –

£130 p/a




Insurance Group




11.8 seconds

11.1 seconds

Boot space

440 litres

397 litres




CO2 emissions




The winner is…

Vauxhall Meriva 1.4T 16v Excite (2010-)

It’s a close-run race with the Meriva taking the winner’s spoils thanks to greater practicality including those unusual doors, lower running costs and a more responsive engine. As a set of compact family wheels the Vauxhall Meriva really delivers.

Vauxhall Meriva twin test

The Venga has so much going for it including a very large boot, useful sliding rear seats and a reassuring seven-year/100,000-mile warranty. However, it’s not as frugal as the Meriva despite being powered by a diesel, so loses out by the smallest of margins.

Click here to read our full review of the Vauxhall Meriva

Click here to read our full review of the Kia Venga