Hyundai’s all-new Venue subcompact is the company’s most affordable SUV, undercutting the previous titleholder, the Kona, by about $3,000.
Venue is smaller than Kona, less powerful, and not available with all-wheel drive, but do not pity it. The Venue is charming, easygoing, roomy inside, a godsend in tight-squeeze urban situations, and more fuel-efficient than Kona.
Like all Hyundais, the Venue comes with a great warranty and maintenance plan: a limited warranty of five years or 60,000 miles, powertrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles, and complimentary maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.
The 2020 Venue has three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Denim. Pricing with destination charge included starts at $18,490 for an SE with a six-speed manual transmission. If a manual transmission piques your interest, this is the only model available with one, and be aware that it is being discontinued for 2021.
An SE with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is $19,690. Hyundai calls its version IVT, for intelligent variable transmission.
The SEL is priced at $20,390 and the Denim model goes for $23,190. Both have the IVT automatic transmission.
The same engine is used in all Venue models, a 1.6-liter four-cylinder generating 121 horsepower. Fuel economy ratings with a manual transmission are 27 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 30 mpg combined. With the automatic, the ratings are 30/34/32 mpg.
Some of the standard features on the Venue SE are 15-inch steel wheels, manual six-way adjustable driver’s seat, cruise control, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry system, remote liftgate release, an 8-inch touchscreen audio system with four speakers, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, and a safety suite of driver-assistance technology including forward-collision avoidance and lane keeping.
All 2020 Venue models have cloth seats and a 60/40 split fold-down rear seatback. With seatbacks in upright position, the cargo area provides 18.7 cubic feet of space, and with seats folded, 31.9 cubic feet.
I drove the Venue SEL model, whose added features include alloy wheels, automatic climate control, snow driving mode, a center console storage box with driver’s armrest, two USB charging ports, and six-speaker audio.
The SEL trim also allows for some desirable optional features, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, sunroof, proximity key with push button start, navigation, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The above optional items are clustered into two packages: Convenience ($1,150) and Premium ($1,750). My tester was equipped with both packages.
Venue’s interior lacks some of the fancier details found in more expensive cars, like lots of soft-touch surfaces, but it is solid, tidy, and put together with precision. Visibility is excellent and headroom is plentiful for both rows of seats. Rear seat legroom, often sacrificed in a subcompact to give driver and front passenger space to stretch out, is pretty good in the Venue.
The infotainment system is an agreeable, uncomplicated system with manual operation in addition to the touchscreen. Its control buttons and dials, along with those of the climate system, are large and sturdy.
Venue’s ride is serene except for travel at freeway speeds on uneven surfaces such as the entirety of I-5, when things can get a bit raucous. Not unbearable, though. The small engine doesn’t blow the doors off other vehicles, but it does a fine job of accelerating from a standstill and providing momentum during nonhyper driving.
2020 HYUNDAI VENUE SEL
Base price, including destination charge: $20,390
Price as driven: $23,425
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.