As the seventh in their extensive line of fine crossover/SUVs, Hyundai has debuted their Venue, a newly designed from the ground up compact crossover (although Hyundai classifies it as a midsize). Venue cannot be considered a true SUV since it’s only available with FWD not AWD. But that may come.
Venue is the smallest and least expensive crossover Hyundai offers, and likely the least expensive among its six main competitors.
Size wise, it’s about 5 inches shorter, 1.2 inches narrower and rides on a wheelbase that is 3.2 inches shorter than Hyundai’s Kona, a recent top seller.
What it lacks in size, it makes up for in interior space and fuel economy with near hybrid EPA mileage estimates. And it’s handsome to boot. In fact, when stopping at a friends’ house and he saw the Venue, he said the front end resembled a Mercedes crossover.
Offered in SE SEL and Denim trims, we tested the latter with its denim blue color with contrasting white roof and white accent strips over each wheel well.
Venue has a boxy look but that’s to its advantage as a cargo and people carrier. Its pronounced shoulders give it a macho, off-roader look even though it’s not intended as such. Merely very mild off-roads due to its low 6.69-inch ground clearance.
Venue’s interior, after a mere 17-inch step-in, is spacious and airy, the latter compliments of tall windows and expansive fore and aft visibility. The steering wheel is telescopic (few cars offer this) and tiltable.
Front seats are heated, sensibly supportive, semi-soft with cloth inserts and leatherette trim over outer high wear points.
An 8-inch iPad type touchscreen, serves the audio, navigation, rearview camera, Blue Link infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, XM radio, traffic alerts, weather, local fuel prices, eateries and some voice commands. And it can do so in split-screen mode.
The console mounted shifter controls what Hyundai coins, Intelligent Variable Transmission. It differs from a CVT as it shifts similarly to a traditional transmission with quick, smooth shifts. It’s flanked by a mode switch offering Normal, Sport and Snow modes. Sport alters shift points, steering effort and responsiveness of engine and transmission. When engaged, acceleration and passing maneuvers are spirited. In Snow mode, wheel spin on snowy roads is suppressed which is helpful when starting off from a dead stop on slick surfaces.
Venue’s gauge cluster features a large, bold speedometer and tachometer with a driver information display nestled between them for a host of alerts and operational functions.
With wide opening doors, ingress/egress into the seats, especially the back seats, is easy with comfy seating. They’re rated for three, but that’s mainly for youngsters. Provided the front seats aren’t racked well rearward, leg room is adequate for two average size adults with gobs of headroom.
Back in the cargo area, that has a low 29-inch liftover, and with the seatbacks upright, there’s 18.7 cubic feet of space that measures 25.5 inches deep, 28 high and 38 wide. Flip the seatbacks and capacity increases to 31.9 cubic feet for 56 inches of cargo loading depth.
Beneath the cargo floor is a space saver tire with space around it to stow small items out of sight.
Venue’s power comes from a 1.6-liter, inline 4-cylinder that generates 121-hp and 113 lb/ft of torque that earns impressive EPA mileage estimates of 30 city, 34-highway mpg. Now those are close to hybrid numbers. Despite its size, the little 1.6 displays a linear application of power until Sport mode is engaged wherein torque kicks in quicker. At idle the engine, like many 4-bangers, is a bit noisy but once underway it dissipates. The 1.6 moves Venue’s 2,735-pound curb weight with ease.
Venue rides on Nexen 17-inch tires and along with a torsion beam rear axle and twin tube shock absorbers, the ride is on the taut side which is understandable with its short 99.2-inch wheelbase. Major pock marks and tar strips ripple into the cabin, but they’re far from punishing.
Handling with electric assisted steering is noble with nary any lean in sharp turns. And Venue parks ever so easily with a tight turn diameter of 16.6 feet. It’s nimble and a real hoot to drive.
Venue Denim came with but one extra cost option – floor mats ($135). Otherwise, there’s a long list of standard safety and amenity items that include forward collision avoidance w/pedestrian alert, lane keeping assist w/driver attention warning, blind spot collision warning/rear cross traffic alert, infotainment system with audio and voice controlled searches and plenty more. For all this, Venue carried a base price of $22,050 and with the mats and delivery, it bottom-lined at an extremely affordable $23,305.
But that’s not all. As with all Hyundai’s, Venue comes with a very generous and unbeatable 5 year/60,000-mile new vehicle; 10/100K powertrain; 7/Unlimited anti-perforation (rust); and 5/Unlimited roadside assistance warranties.
Venue makes a perfect college student crossover where loads of belongings can be carried, or, an economical commuter, or secondary vehicle for those who may own a pickup truck. It’s destined to be another top seller for Hyundai.