Economical entry level or commuter SUV
Roseville, CA- Hyundai has this vehicle aimed squarely at youthful buyers and seniors looking for a modest sport utility vehicle.
The all-new 2020 Hyundai Venue is a subcompact SUV with an extremely appealing sticker price. One can drive home with a new Venue for a budget-friendly $17,500. That ranks as one of the lowest starting prices in the class. Even the upgraded Denim trim model is relatively cheap at approximately $22,000. More savings arrive with fuel economy estimated at 27-35 mpg.
Despite already having a capable subcompact SUV in the Kona, Hyundai felt like it could squeeze another one in the lineup. And that shouldn’t be too surprising because the South Korean automaker has a thing for SUVs. The Venue joins the Kona, Tucson, Palisade, regular Santa Fe, Santa Fe XL, and the Nexo, a compact hydrogen fuel cell powered model.
Hyundai goes small with the Venue, which has a boxy shape, wide stance and looks a bit chunky compared to other subcompact SUVs. In comparison to the Kona, the Venue is 5.1 inches shorter, 1.2 inches narrower and has a shorter wheelbase (3.2 inches).
Americans love their SUVs and that includes the subcompact class, a fact that Hyundai certainly recognizes. It introduced the Kona in 2018 and two years later adds the Venue, The Venue has three available trim models (SE, SEL, Denim). Among the competition is the Nissan Kicks and Kia Soul.
Performance and handling
No one will purchase the five-seat Venue for its performance capability. While it has some upside, overall it drives like one might expect from an SUV with a 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. That’s not much power in today’s world, so merge cautiously on freeway on-ramps and avoid passing on two-lane country roads.
Yet the front-wheel-drive Venue has some zip when commuting around town, its primary focus. The base (SE) version has a standard manual transmission, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is available. An all-wheel-drive option is not offered. The Venue is equipped with a “Snow” driving mode that Hyundai says will help when the road is slippery in winter conditions.
For the class, we were fine with the overall handling of the Venue. It provides a smooth ride even on some rough surfaces. It’s easy to navigate the Venue in crowded city streets and parking is never an issue.
At a Glance – 2020 Hyundai Venue
- Performance: 1.6-liter, four-cylinder, 121 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 27-35 mpg
- Price estimate: $17,500 – $22,100
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited; corrosion: 7 years/unlimited
The interior is more than adequate, considering the cost of a new Venue. Hyundai did a nice job of providing an attractive gauge cluster and the infotainment system is fairly techie yet intuitive as well. It has an 8-inch touchscreen display and comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There is a fair amount of hard plastic and the base model doesn’t have a center armrest.
Seating is fine for those up front, but draw straws for who gets stuck in the second row, especially if three additional people are aboard. The leg room is tight in the back and the cargo area is minimal – 18.7 cubic feet behind the second row and 32 cubes if the seat is folded to the floor.
The 2020 Hyundai Venue is a good choice for entry-level car buyers or seniors who want a suitable commuter SUV. It’s easy to drive, has suitable performance for around town, and its fuel economy means less trips to the pumps.