HUSTLING SCAMP: 2020 HYUNDAI VENUE
Whether we like it or not, a new segment of compact crossovers is among us and the latest entry to the smaller-ute category has been brought to us by Hyundai with their all-new sub-sub-compact, Venue. Seeing that Hyundai has been hitting nearly a grand slam with every new model they’ve been releasing these days; we’re delighted to deliver that this new little-ute is worth getting giddy over.
Accentually replacing the five-door version of the discontinued Accent Hatchback, the Venue serves up a slice of pie that all consumers can enjoy. Call it a hatchback, call it a crossover, we’re not going to argue over petty little details on something that tastefully stands out. Riding tall, there is a rugged essence to its extra small stature – attractively executed body lines mixed with a tasteful array of body cladding gives the Venue a keen advent.
Sitting at the entry-level portion of the segment, the Venue is officially the cheapest crossover money can buy with the Nissan Kicks next in line at nearly $1500 more. The entry-level SE starts at $18,470 and can trickle upwards to a low $23,200 for the specialty Denim. All models, including the base SE comes standard with a long list of safety features including Forward Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, Automatic High Beams and an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The one to get truly excited for is the Venue SEL, starting at $19,250 it features automatic climate control, rear-disc brakes and a drive mode select with choices between Normal, Sport, and Snow modes. Adding in the $1150 Convenience Package brings in a more premium feel with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power sunroof and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic detection. Going one step further with the $1750 Premium packages adds on LED head & taillights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats and Navigation with Blue Link Connect.
Sized to fit all, the interior is quite quaint with charmingly attractive styling cues. A healthy array of quality materials with robust switch gear gives the cabin space a more than a bargain basement feel. With an airy cabin and tall roof line, passengers can sit comfortably – although rear passengers may have to be subjected to asking the front seater to scoot forward for a few more inches of leg room. The seats are tastefully designed with a fun display of contrast stitching. Stepping up into the Denim and the seats get an outline of leatherette material with a unique fabric pattern that creates a more vibrant space.
Supporting a funk value however, we couldn’t help but enjoy the little details the Venue had to offer. The digital climate control readout is a cute touch, but constantly had us confused as also being the knob to change the temperature, which it isn’t. We also quite enjoyed the illuminated stitching around the instrument cluster – something that didn’t need to be there but adds a tasteful touch of style.
Power displacement for the Venue is the same across its while lineup. A modest 121-horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque stems from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that chirps away at any given moment. Like hustler at pool, it will give you a good run for your money as it can get up and going in around about eight and half seconds. Granted, highway driving isn’t quite its strong suit seeing that passing became more of struggle. Engine noise was apparent with a loud buzz, buzz, buzzing sound as the needle passed 4,000 rpms and fuel economy on the open road didn’t quite like the 40-mpg’s we quite often see from these compact vehicles. We managed to hit 35-mpg’s on the highway and a total combined average of 33-mpg’s – three more than the EPA rated mpg’s.
Around town, the Venue is a little scamp, excited to get out of the garage to go play. At low range speeds its quite frisky with a rigid suspension, responsive steering and eagerness to dart in and out of traffic. Its animated manifest maintains enough strain to keep up with the flow of other vehicles while providing a comfortable driving manner. Braking also felt strong with an appetite to grip the brake pads from the firm, linear pedal.
Even though the Venue doesn’t support the trendiness of all-wheel drive, the spunky Kona is just a couple more grand up that alley should it be a requirement. Hitting nearly every checkbox when it comes to offering the attributes of a crossover with attractive style and a hardy, functional interior, the Venue showcases that being cheap is sometimes a good thing.
Model: 2020 HYUNDAI VENUE
Base Price: $18,470
Starting Trim Price: $19,250
As Tested: $23,445
Color: BLACK NOIR PEARL
Engine: 1.6-LITER FOUR-CYLINDER
Horsepower/Torque: 121-HORSEPOWER / 113 LB-FT TORQUE
Transmission: CONTINUOUS VARIABLE TRANSMISSION (CVT AUTOMATIC)
Drivetrain: FRONT-WHEEL DRIVE
Fuel Economy: EPA RATED: 30-CITY / 34-HWY / 32-COMBINED
AS TESTED: 33.0 MPG – COMBINED | 35.5 MPG – HIGHWAY (200 MILE TEST)
Fuel Range: 330 MILES
0-60 MPH: ±8.5 SECONDS