The American lifestyle has clearly defined needs and wants. Within them, crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) rank up there with sliced bread, which is why it’s no surprise that Hyundai has several CUVs to offer the American public, one of them being the subcompact Venue.
The Hyundai Venue hit the market earlier this year as a 2020 model. While the Venue is smaller than the popular turbocharged Hyundai Kona, it fits in the lineup nicely but doesn’t stand out in the crowded landscape of CUVs. There’s nothing about the Venue that impresses or wins me over for a small crossover. In fact, I would go as far as to omit the Venue from a top subcompact CUV recommendation other than the fact of it having an attractive price and a decent list of tech features and safety equipment. Otherwise, the Venue is an “Okay” proposition with 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque from its 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine.
The engine sends power to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is the only available setup for the Venue. Interestingly, the engine and CVT work well together to feel “zippy” around town due to its small and lightweight factor. Still, you’re not going to thrill anyone with the acceleration, which will take about 9.9 seconds to hit 60 mph.
Fuel economy is consistent but not as stellar as I would have hoped for such a small crossover on the highway at 34 mpg. You’ll get a steady 32 mpg combined and fundamentally match the EPA estimated 30 mpg city, which is the good part.
Inside of the Hyundai Venue in the top-level SEL trim, there is a compliant cabin with controls just where they need to be. Even the volume knob is larger than the tuning knob to show its importance and easy-to-reach factor. The automatic climate control just below the Hyundai brand’s latest easy-to-use 8-inch infotainment touchscreen all adds to the tech factor along with lane keeping assist, forward collision avoidance w/pedestrian detection, and the optional features of the blind-spot and collision warnings, rear cross-traffic collision warning, a power sunroof, LED headlights and taillights, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Seating areas are surprisingly accommodating up front and cargo area is ‘good’ for its class. Still, the Venue is small – and looks small – and there isn’t any way of getting around that fact no matter what angle you look at it or try to fit in four or five normal-sized adults.
All in for my loaded-up Venue SEL test vehicle, and you’re looking at spending $23,280. Though the base Hyundai Venue SE with an admirable bit of standard equipment, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration with an 8-inch touchscreen, you have a price of $18,750 to start.