I got a chance to check out Hyundai’s newest small crossover the Venue while waiting on an oil change at the dealer. Weirdly, Hyundai still doesn’t have the build and price up for the Venue (and 2020 Sonata) even though my Hyundai dealer already had 3 in stock (with ADMs on all 3): 2 base SE’s and one SEL.
First let me start off by saying this thing is small in every measurable way. Its just 4.5 inches taller (I’m just 6'0 ft tall, and standing next to it I could look down on the top of the roof) and 1.6" wider than the Accent its based on. And somehow its smaller than the Accent in some ways too. It rides on a wheelbase that’s 2.4" shorter while being 13.5" shorter in overall length. The small wheels that it comes with seems to somehow enhance how small it is. Base models make due with 15' steel wheels; SEL gets 15" alloys while Denim trim or the SEL if you select the Premium package, get 17" alloy wheels. This smallness is very apparent on the inside as well where rear legroom is 3 inches less than the Accent. In fact in almost every measurable way its smaller than the Accent on the inside.
(Forgive me. I wasn’t able to snap any actual pics besides the one above because its raining like cats and dogs outside. ) The Venue comes in 3 trim levels Sorta. There’s base SE, and SEL. And then there is Denim. Which is less a trim and more an appearance. It comes in the color pictured above a denim like Blue and is the only trim that you can get the Blue with White roof. This model is loaded with LED DRL’s and headlights, sunroof, automatic temp control etc. They didn’t have one of these in stock. Pricing starts at where the Accent tops out at, around $18k or so and tops out at $25 for the Denim trim. If you don’t want the Denim trim but want the features of it, you can equip the SEL with the Premium package to get all of the goodies the Denim comes with.
The interior is a nice place to be. Quality materials and plastics though cheapness shines through if you go looking for it. But you cant expect much at this price point with a small crossover like this. The thing the sales person liked to point out was the fact that the screen, an 8" touch unit, is the biggest in the segment.
Driving it was...an experience. Honestly, its forgettable. So forgettable that I wouldn’t want nor do I think an N version would spice things up. And slow. OMG is it slow. All Venus get powered by a 1.6 I4. No turbos or anything. That gets paired to either a 6 speed manual that is only available on the SE, or what Hyundai calls a “Smartstream Intelligent Variable Transmission.” Its all just a fancy name for CVT. AWD isn’t an option either. But like I said, its slow. It has less power than a Chevy Sonic and that’s saying something. It has 121 horses and 113 lb/ft of torque. So you cant just pass in this thing. You literally have to plan merging and lane changes. Around town maneuverability is excellent of course. Being so small, you can whip in and out of parking spaces, tight streets etc. Mileage is excellent as well with it getting a combined 32 mpg.
In typical Hyundai fashion though the value is here. Along with the warranty, it comes standard with a suite of driving aids like forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist etc that should make it appealing over anything else in the segment. Would I buy one though? No. I don’t like crossovers, and this is another one that doesn’t make sense. Its smaller in almost every sense than the car that its based on, while getting worse fuel economy. Not to mention the standard tire sizes are laughably small. But this isn’t for me. Its for first time buyers, older people and people like my girlfriend who want something small and easy to drive that isn’t a car. But if you aren’t one of those people, I’d pass.