It’s interesting how the Hyundai SUV/crossover lineup has grown in recent times after many years with just two products to choose from. The Korean automaker hadn’t quite got all segments covered though, but that will soon be put to rights with the introduction of the 2020 Venue SUV/crossover.
The Venue fits into a class that’s become increasingly popular in recent years, that of the subcompact crossover. Vehicles like this are the smallest of the class offered and consequently are usually the least expensive way of getting into a specific automaker’s SUV/crossover offerings.
Slightly smaller than the products we’ve gotten used to as “compacts,” These vehicles are usually surprisingly roomy, but have dimensions more suited to city and suburban day-to-day use. Buyers of products like the Venue get most of the benefits of larger stablemates without the bulk. They also win on the fuel economy front, no small point when considering any vehicle these days.
Compact the Venue may be, but it doesn’t look downsized thanks to some clever styling work by the Hyundai design team. It has a nice purposeful stance and a muscular appearance is emphasized by substantial flares around the wheel openings. The Hyundai grill with its big logo is something of a trademark for the automaker’s recent SUVs and gives them instant recognition. They follow the design of the company’s Kona and Nexo models. The optional 17-inch wheels make the Venue look even better.
Hyundai planned the Venue around the fact that most buyers would place fuel economy high on their needs list. Consequently, the engine chosen is something of a fuel-sipper, a newly-modified Hyundai Smartstream Gamma 1.6-litre four-cylinder that delivers an expected average consumption figure of 7.1-litres/100 km. This is impressive as the engine doesn’t lack power and response. Buyers can choose either a 6-speed manual transmission or an automatic CVT. Being able to choose a manual gearbox is a plus for Hyundai, as many rivals don’t offer this option.
For a small and inexpensive vehicle, the Venue has a very worthwhile list of safety features, including forward collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, blind spot collision warning, driver attention warning, rear collision cross traffic warning and other features. Interestingly, there is no all-wheel drive option but Hyundai has included a front-wheel drive with snow mode for slippery conditions.
The comfortable and roomy interior has advanced connectivity and multimedia systems, as befits its role as mainly a youth market vehicle. The 8-inch display can handle both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A navigation system is available as an option. A rear view camera is standard with the Venue, as is Bluetooth for hands-free mobile phone use.
Interior space is generous when it comes to carrying luggage or cargo and the rear seat folds in 60/40 fashion. The cargo spaces uses a rear covering shelf for privacy.
The Venue fills a gap in Hyundai’s lineup of SUVs and will be welcomed by buyers who like the brand and prefer the smallest vehicle they can get for efficient urban use. The Venue will arrive later in the year at a price yet to be announced.
SPECS AT A GLANCE:
BODY STYLE: 4-door, 5-place crossover
ENGINE: 1.6-litre, 4-cylinder
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual or automatic CVT
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 9-secs
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.1-litres/100km (Est. combined)
PRICE: TBA, but will be the least expensive Hyundai SUV