2020 Hyundai Venue

2020 Hyundai Venue Test Drive Review: A Little Breath Of Fresh Air

by Ian Wright

Hyundai's latest subcompact crossover boasts a tiny size, a practical boxy shape, cute styling, and a price tag aimed at the budget-conscious buyer. Brand new for 2020, Hyundai is squarely aiming the Venue at younger buyers that need something practical to get them around urban environments. Powered by a 1.6-liter engine producing just 121 horsepower, the Venue shows surprising pep at low speeds but isn't well-suited for freeways. Inside is a sparse but pleasant cabin bolstered by functional space for passengers and cargo, in contrast to its subcompact sibling, the Hyundai Kona. Also adding to the Venue's list of positive features is an attractive lineup of standard driver assistance features. As a package, the Venue slips in just below the Kona to become Hyundai's smallest and cheapest vehicle in its catalog, shaping up against the likes of the Ford EcoSport vying for the title of most value-packed sub-compact crossover.

🚙What's New For 2020?

What's new for 2020? The entire car! The Venue is Hyundai's all-new subcompact crossover SUV and is the seventh model in Hyundai's crossover model lineup. The Venue represents the smallest, and cheapest SUV offering and slots in below the Kona, Tucson, Sante Fe, Nexo, and Palisade. Under the hood lies a Smartstream 1.6-liter engine with either six-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission. Mike O'Brien, vice president of product for North America, is quoted as saying that the all-new Venue might be small in size, but it's big on practicality and personality, so there you go.

Pros and Cons

  • Great value for money
  • Good interior space
  • Nippy in-town performance
  • Solid amount of standard features
  • Standard driver assistance features
  • Seriously affordable
  • It struggles on the highway
  • Feels busy at cruising speed
  • Seats lack support
  • Road noise, lots of road noise

2020 Hyundai Venue Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
SE
1.6-liter Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$17,350
SEL
1.6-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$19,250
Denim
1.6-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$22,050

Venue Exterior

Hyundai has seen a renaissance in car design in recent years and shown a massive improvement in style and flair since the days of the morbidly depressing XG. The 2020 Venue is the perfect example of Hyundai's gutsy new design language with its chunky proportions and small frame, and as far as subcompact crossover SUVs go, we think this is one of the better-looking offerings out there. The front-end is unmistakably Hyundai with its cascading grille and slithers of headlight working in harmony with its larger siblings, the Kona and Nexo. The rear end of the car is finished off with squared-off taillights and looks suitably cute. Base models are fitted with 15-inch steel wheels and projector beam headlights, while SEL models get the same size, but manufactured from aluminum alloy. The top of the range Denim model rolls on a set of 17-inch wheels that fill out the arches nicely and also gets LED headlights. SEL and Denim models also add a set of roof rails, and the SEL is available with an optional power-sliding sunroof.

2020 Hyundai Venue Forward View CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Frontal Aspect CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Aft View CarBuzz
See All 2020 Hyundai Venue Exterior Photos

Dimensions

Seeing a Venue in the flesh will drive home the fact that this is Hyundai's smallest SUV offering: it looks simply diminutive, and we think it adds to its cutesy appeal. The Venue rolls on a stubby 99.2-inch wheelbase and is only 159.1 inches long. Without the wing mirrors included, the venue is 69.7 inches wide, perfect for squeezing in and out of tight parking spaces and city traffic, and it's 61.6 inches tall. That short wheelbase, combined with a ride height of 6.69 inches, means you'll be ramping over curbstones without worry. The Venue's small size translates into a low curb weight ranging between 2,557 lbs for the manual variant, and between 2,612 and 2,738 lbs for automatics, which not only helps it feel nippy in traffic but lowers brake wear and fuel consumption at the same time.

  • Length 159.1 in
  • Wheelbase 99.2 in
  • Height 61.6 in
  • Max Width 69.7 in
  • Front Width 61.2 in
  • Rear Width 61.6 in

Exterior Colors

If the Venue had a middle name, it would be cheeky. This small crossover SUV exudes a playful attitude no matter what angle you view it from and has the exterior color palette to match. Hyundai gives buyers seven options to choose from on SE and SEL models. These colors include your basic black and white, as well as two hues of silver and gray. The two standout colors here have to be Green Apple and Intense Blue. The top of the line Denim is only available in, you guessed it, Denim Blue, and comes with a white roof, but if we were speccing the ideal Venue, we'd get ours in Apple Green.

  • Black Noir Pearl
  • Ceramic White
  • Scarlet Red Pearl
  • Intense Blue
  • Stellar Silver
  • Galactic Gray
  • Green Apple
  • Denim

Venue Performance

Being the smallest SUV on offer from Hyundai doesn't precisely shout performance, especially when you see the Venue for the first time. It simply doesn't look fast, but that was never the intention here. What Hyundai has looked to achieve with the Venue is a simple runabout that will use as little fuel as possible, while still being able to keep up with traffic. Hyundai has accomplished its mission by keeping the curb weight low and fitting a small capacity naturally aspirated engine under the hood that generates 121 hp. What this translates into is a car that feels nippy around town, especially in slow-moving traffic. Still, there's one major issue that keeps the Venue from being a good little performer: it falls flat on its face as soon as you hit the highway, and don't even think about overtaking when there are not miles of open road ahead of you; the Venue feels asthmatic at anything over 50 mph.

2020 Hyundai Venue Rear-Facing View CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Gear Lever CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Engine CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

Hiding below the hood of the 2020 Hyundai Venue is a naturally-aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve control. This engine produces a scant 122 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed manual in the base model or an intelligent variable transmission in the SEL and Denim. The CVT transmission is available as an optional extra on the SE.

Scant is precisely the right word when it comes to power produced by the Venue's 1.6-liter engine and CVT transmission combo. The manual transmission won't help much, and getting up to highway speed requires putting the go pedal to the floor mat and leaving there if you want to join fast-moving traffic.

  • Engine
    1.6-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    6-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

It's also not a great freeway cruiser by any stretch of the imagination once eventually up to speed. However, the freeway is not the Venue's natural habitat. In the city, the Venue's small footprint and eager steering make it fun and easy to navigate through the urban environment. Even the engine comes into its own with a little pep in its step at lower speeds, and the suspension is happy to soak up rough concrete. The Venue's small boxy shape and light steering also make it easy to park in tight spots.

Venue Gas Mileage

The EPA rates the Hyundai Venue at 30/34/32 mpg city/highway/combined for cars fitted with the CVT transmission, and 27/35/30 mpg for the SE fitted with the six-speed manual transmission. The 11.9-gallon fuel tank should, in theory, give it a maximum range of between 357 and 381 miles. Through our week of driving the Venue, we scored a natural 30.6 mpg after visiting the highway just twice.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    11.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 27/35 mpg
* 2020 Hyundai Venue SE Manual

Venue Interior

Looking at the Venue from the outside, you'd swear that it could only fit a family of hamsters, but the opposite is actually true. Firstly, getting in and out of the Venue is no hassle at all: the doors open at a wide angle, and the slightly lifted ride height means your rear end does not have to do much work to get to a designated seat. Once inside, the Venue feels spacious enough to fit five adults without a problem. As for the general layout and design of things, one can clearly see that the Venue borrows its style from its larger siblings, but in a stripped-down way. The dashboard is a simple affair and houses all essential controls and knobs within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. Some noteworthy features include cloth seating surfaces on the SE and SEL, (the Denim gets denim interior color with cloth and leatherette combination front seats) with six-way manual adjustment, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

2020 Hyundai Venue Dashboard CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Steering Wheel Details CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Front Seats CarBuzz
See All 2020 Hyundai Venue Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

For such a small car, there's a surprisingly roomy cabin inside. Up front, there's 41.3 inches of legroom and rear passengers get 34.3 inches. Tall rear passengers won't want to be inside for long journeys, but all passengers have a comfortable amount of head and elbow room. In line with its price point, there's no option on the Venue for power-assisted front seat adjustment, and the base model doesn't get a center armrest. While basic, the seating is comfortably cushioned and there's enough adjustment in the driver's seat for larger drivers to get the position they need. The boxy design comes into its own again for the driver with excellent visibility and over the shoulder sightlines.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.3 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 34.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.6 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The basic SE model comes with a black cloth interior with a funky white-line pattern. Stepping up to the SEL model brings the choice of a black cloth interior with a grey double racing stripe-style pattern, or darker grey cloth with the double stripes in light grey. Topping the trim levels is the Denim model, which, predictably, comes with a denim interior but a much lighter color than the denim paint on the outside.

The Venue might be small, but it isn't chintzy. All the switchgear is sturdy, and the gauge cluster and infotainment system are attractive and streamlined. While other small vehicles try and play up to the youth market with designs that age rapidly, the Venue keeps things simple and classic.

Venue Trunk and Cargo Space

Compared to other small crossover SUVs such as the Kia Soul and Ford Ecosport, the Venue fails to impress with its overall trunk and cargo capacities, but small families and couples should find it adequate for trips to the shops or short weekend getaways. Behind the rear seats, the Venue offers a total of 18.7 cubic feet of space, which is over two less than you get in the Ford. With the 60/40-split folding rear seats folded, that space increases to 31.9 cubic feet; that's all the space you need to fit Carole Baskin's husband.

2020 Hyundai Venue Back Seats CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Cargo Room CarBuzz
2020 Hyundai Venue Trunk Space CarBuzz

Venue Infotainment and Features

Features

Expecting the world from a budget-friendly small SUV is not fair to the car or yourself, but the Venue offers a glimmer of hope to those that demand the world. The base model SE offers basics such as manually adjustable front seats wrapped in black cloth, manually adjustable air conditioning, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The SEL is the middle child of the Venue range and gets a decent amount of added features such as standard dual USB charging ports, automatic climate control, and a driver's side auto-up window. Denim trim cars offer heated cloth and leatherette combination front seats, a leather steering wheel and shift knob, as well as keyless entry with push-button start. Fortunately, Hyundai hasn't skimped on the driver assists, and all models get standard forward collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning, while optional on the SEL and standard on the Denim is blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Infotainment

One of Hyundai's consistent strong points is its infotainment systems. The eight-inch touchscreen-based system in the Venue is no exception. It's easy to use, and in its base model spec comes with AM/FM/HD Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a four-speaker sound system. Most importantly, it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Optionally on the SEL and standard on the Denim, you get voice recognition as well as dual USB charging, navigation, and a six-speaker sound system.

Venue Problems and Reliability

The Hyundai Venue is a brand new model and has not been recalled. Hyundai will cover the Venue with an impressive five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a seven-year/unlimited-mile corrosion warranty, drivetrain cover for ten years or 100,000 miles, as well as five years of roadside assistance. Hyundai also offers free maintenance for three-years or 36,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles

Venue Safety

When you target young people and small families, safety has to be one of your top priorities, so Hyundai has made sure that the Venue ticks all the right boxes. Although the Venue has not yet been tested by the IIHS, the NHTSA has put one through its paces, and it returned with an overall rating of four out of five stars; not great, but not terrible either. According to the NHTSA, the Venue only managed four out of five for front driver side and front passenger side collisions, as well as rollover protection. The good news is that Hyundai has included a good number of standard driver assistance tech across the lineup.

Key Safety Features

The 2020 Hyundai Venue might be low on price, but the Korean manufacturer sure hasn't cut corners when it comes to the standard safety gear on its new compact SUV. First off, new owners can expect to find a six-airbag system with front and rear roof-mounted side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control, and vehicle stability management. Then comes the good bit: all Venue trims come standard with forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane keep assist, and driver attention warning. Blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic assist is optional on SEL models and comes standard on Denim derivatives.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Hyundai Venue a good SUV?

As a town and city commuter car, the Venue is an excellent car once you consider its low price point. We would not want to have to drive the Venue on the freeway with any regularity, but we genuinely enjoyed scooting through city streets and traffic. The Venue is clearly aimed at a youthful demographic, and scores big in its sheer amount of practicality for such a small and inexpensive new car. As an expression of style, that's all in the eye of the beholder, but we grew to love its looks through our week with it. While we love the Kona as an all-rounder, the Venue is a little more accessible, and even though it's not as safe and is far more basic, the affordable price tag is a strong drawcard.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Hyundai Venue?

Possibly the most appealing part of the new Hyundai Venue is its asking price, and while it might be low, it doesn't mean you get a sub-par product: Hyundai cars have come to be known as hardy, reliable and well specced. The 2020 Hyundai Venue will set you back $17,350, which excludes freight charges, tax, title, and license fees. Go for the mid-range SEL, and that price will increase by $1,900 for a total of $19,250. The top of the range Denim trim car goes for $22,050. To put those prices into perspective, the Ford EcoSport only starts at $19,995 for the base S FWD.

2020 Hyundai Venue Models

The brand new Hyundai Venue is offered in three different trim levels: SE, SEL, and Denim. All three trim levels are powered by the same 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, and all send their power to the front wheels. The base model comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission and optional CVT auto, while SEL and Denim trims are exclusively available with the CVT.

The base model features projector-beam headlights and 15-inch steel wheels on the outside. The interior gets six-way manually adjustable cloth seats, an eight-inch touchscreen with AM/FM/SiriusXM/HD Radio, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Integration, Bluetooth streaming, and manually-adjustable air conditioning. Standard driver assistance features across the range include forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, and driver attention warning.

SEL models add alloy wheels and a chrome grille, while on the inside, you'll find dual USB charging ports, voice recognition, six speakers, automatic climate control, and a vast array of available options.

Denim models include standard LED headlights and daytime running lights and an exclusive Denim exterior color. The interior includes standard heated denim interior color with cloth and leatherette combination front seats, navigation, and keyless entry. Safety is bolstered by blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic control assistance.

See All 2020 Hyundai Venue Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Base models are not available with optional packages, but you can add a CVT transmission for an additional $1,200. The mid-range SEL is the first trim to offer optional packages such as the $1,150 Convenience package, which includes a power sunroof, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a sliding armrest, and blind spot and rear cross-traffic assistance. The $1,750 Premium package adds features such as LED headlights, heated front seats, navigation, and push-button start. The top of the range Denim comes fully packed and is not offered with any options.

🚗What Hyundai Venue Model Should I Buy?

As the Venue is based around being a value proposition, that comes down to how big a check you want to write. At $17,350, the Venue SE covers all the basics someone might need, while the $19,250 SEL trim adds things most will want, and at a remarkably competitive price. The Denim model leaves us a little cold, though, and for the $22,050 we would rather go with the SEL trim and add the $1,150 Convenience package. That gets a nice little runaround car for $20,400, and includes a sunroof.

2020 Hyundai Venue Comparisons

Hyundai Kona Hyundai
Kia Soul CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Hyundai Venue121 hp27/35 mpg$17,350
Hyundai Kona 147 hp27/33 mpg$20,300
Kia Soul 147 hp25/31 mpg$17,490

2020 Hyundai Venue vs Hyundai Kona

The Kona is a slightly larger and more awkward looking Hyundai SUV that we've come to know and love as an affordable and capable crossover SUV for the masses. In base trim, the Kona comes fitted with a naturally-aspirated four-pot delivering 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, but a turbocharged 1.6-liter unit with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft is also available. It's the turbocharged engine that adds much appeal to the Kona range and obviously places it in a different league to the Venue. As with the Venue, we love the funky exterior design, but unlike the Venue, the Kona actually behaves itself on the road and feels planted on most occasions. The interior features the same build quality and is flush with features, especially on the safety side. If we had to complain, the steering feel could be more direct, and cargo space could be improved. Give us the turbocharged Kona any day of the week.

See Hyundai Kona Review

2020 Hyundai Venue vs Kia Soul

Against all the odds, the boxy Kia Soul has won over the hearts and minds of many an American motorist, and when you dig a bit deeper, it makes sense. Under the hood, you'll find a 2.0-liter four-cylinder producing 147 horsepower and 132 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.6-liter turbocharged four-pot producing 201 and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Kia offers a best fuel economy figure of 29/35/31 mpg city/highway/combined in base form. Despite its unwieldy looks, the Soul handles with aplomb and is by far the better handling car. Inside there is room for days, and the Soul also provides much more cargo space. Tech features are not in short supply either, but on upper trims, it starts to get expensive. On a like for like basis, however, the Soul is unbeatable, with the Venue's real allure being base trims with a real budget price. The Soul remains the king of the subcompacts.

See Kia Soul Review

Hyundai Venue Popular Comparisons

2020 Hyundai Venue Video Reviews

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$17,350 - $22,050
Price Range (MSRP)
Hyundai Venue