2020 Hyundai Venue Ultimate

The SUV craze has reached a fever pitch in recent years. Not only are they replacing full-size sedans, but they are now replacing sub-compact sedans as well. With the likes of Nissan Kicks doing extremely well on the market, Hyundai is coming up with its own answer.

Slotting under the Kona, the 2020 Venue is Hyundai’s latest SUV entry. Hyundai now has seven SUVs in its lineup, and the Venue is the smallest, most budget friendly one among them. Given Hyundai’s track record of providing great value for its vehicles, I was very curious to see what the latest SUV has to offer. 

Thanks to Hyundai Canada, I was loaned the 2020 Hyundai Venue Ultimate for one week to test drive. Below is my unbiased review. 

From the outside, the Venue looks like a much bigger car than you would expect. That is, until you get closer. The front fascia with its large cascading grille and cube shaped light housings actually resembles the Santa Fe more than the smaller Kona. Just like with the Kona, the upper strip lights are for turn signals only. The real headlamps are located inside the cube shaped light housings. The housings are accentuated by wraparound led lights for an unique light signature. Below the center grille, a metallic looking bumper makes the Venue look more off-road ready than it actually is. 

On the side, beefy wheel arches and carved side door panels give the Venue a muscular vibe. Sweeping beltline matches with the slightly slanted roofline for a more sophisticated upper profile. Our Ultimate trim tester comes with 17” alloy wheels which look surprisingly premium for the price. Unlike many of the Venus's competitors, there aren’t excessive black claddings around the wheels. This gives the Venue a more upscale appearance in comparison. 

At the back, the cube shaped tail lights echo the headlamps with interesting character lines, and triangular turn signals. The bumper has a layered design consisting of thick black claddings and a metallic looking skid plate. The tailpipe is hidden under the skid plate for a clean look.

Overall, the designers of Venue finds a good balance between youthfulness and sophistication. For buyers looking to personalize their Venue, there is the option of choosing a two-tone color scheme for the roof, mirrors, and trims.

The interior of the Venue has a youthful, clean vibe. Despite its small exterior dimensions, the cabin actually feels quite roomy. The deck has a rounded design that features a passenger convenience tray and well organized switched gears. Color accents are found around the air vents, the climate control dials, and the  shifter.
The front cabin temperature can be regulated through the the climate control dial. It is not as sophisticated as a dual-zone system, but a pleasant surprise at this price point. Another nice feature is the 8” tablet style infotainment screen. Although the mounting style of the screen looks like an afterthought, it is actually quite typical for a Hyundai vehicle.

Our Ultimate trim tester comes with cloth heated front seats that are only manually adjustable. The seat surfaces feature printed graphics, leather inserts, and contrast stitching. While the seats are pretty comfortable, I would prefer more lumbar support for longer drives. The slightly elevated height of the Venue does provide a higher vantage point from the driver seat. 

The rear cabin is surprisingly spacious for a subcompact SUV. Taller passengers might still struggle, but most people will find enough knee and headroom behind the front seats. There is no folding armrest in the middle, nor is there USB charging ports in the rear cabin. 

Every Venue comes with a large 8.0” touchscreen that is high resolution and responsive. The infotainment system features sharp graphics and an intuitive user interface. A row of physical buttons below the screen provide quick access to specific menu pages. The presence of a large volume knob and a physical tuner knob is appreciated. Both Apple Carplay and Android Auto are standard. Hyundai has always done an excellent job of integrating them into its infotainment system. 

The instrument cluster consists of two analog dials and a 3.5" information LCD screen. While not the largest in its class, the LCD screen is easy to read and navigate. It can be easily interacted with the switchgears on the steering wheel. 

Standard Venues come with 4 speakers, but our Ultimate trim tester comes with 6. It also comes preloaded with the optional navigation system.

Safety and Driver Assistance
With Hyundai’s Smart Sense Assist, the following safety features are standard:

  • Rearview Camera
  • Brake Assist
  • Tire Pressure Monitor

Above Essential Trim, the following features are included:

  • Blind-Spot Collision Warning
  • Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning 

The Preferred Trim and Ultimate trim also get:

  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA)
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian Detection
  • High Beam Assist

It is the latest Hyundai vehicle to receive a Top Safety Pick rating from IIHS. It also earns 4 star crash-test rating from the NHTSA.

If you are looking for raw power, the Venue is not for you. Its 1.6L Inline 4-Cylinder Engine produces a meager 121hp of power and 113lb.ft. or torque. While that is perfectly adequate to get you from point A to point B in the city, the car struggles to overtake other cars on the highway. 0-100km/hr happens in 11.2 seconds, and the continuously variable transmission (CVT) gets quite loud when the car is pushed hard. 

The Venue finds itself at home in city traffic. The steering is light and responsive, the outward visibility is excellent, and the car's small size makes squeezing into tight parking spaces a breeze. 

There is no AWD option for the Venue, but there is a SNOW drive mode that improves transaction control on slippery road surfaces. The suspension does a surprisingly good job of absorbing road bumps, but you do experience some degree of body roll around high-speed corners. 

The Hyundai Venue is rated at 8.0L/100km city, 7.0L/100km highway, and 7.5 L/100km combined. Our mostly city test drive returns a fuel economy rating of 7.8L/100km. While I wouldn't recommend taking the Venue on longer road trips, it is a great urban warrior. For people looking more power, the Hyundai Kona turbo  arrives in the same small form factor but with a much more powerful 175hp engine. 

Cargo Space & Storage
I find the Venue to be very practical given its small size. There is 355L of storage space behind the rear seats. The 40/60 split rear seats can be folded almost completely flat to increase the cargo space to 1148L.

The hard trunk cover can be held in place vertically using the cleverly designed side tracks. Alternatively, it can be hidden under the floorboard. The dual-position floor design allows additional storage space and ways of concealing valuable items within. Under the floorboard is a compact emergency tire. I always prefer an actual tire instead of the emergency inflation kit. 

The two front door pockets are decently sized, but the rear door pockets are on the smaller side. Other than the standard glove compartment and the central console storage bin, a convenience try in front of the front passenger seat provides additional storage options for smaller items like smartphones.

The Hyundai Venue is great for what it is designed for: getting you around town in a fuel efficient, effortless fashion. This segment of the market is getting pretty crowded, but the Venus manages to stands out among the competitors with a great infotainment system, an attractive exterior, and a tasteful interior. If you are looking for a small crossover, the Venue deserves a serious look.

Test Vehicle
2020 Hyundai Venue Ultimate
$25,324 CAD as tested
Fiery Red


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