There was a time when the smallest and cheapest new car in any given year always reminded you it was a cheap car. Hard plastic interiors, different levels of buzzing, sound but little power when you depressed the go pedal-things like that. And as the months and years went by it became a bit more painful every time you hopped into your cheap car. From the vibrating rear-view mirror to the peeling clear-coat, it wasn’t the bestest.
Not anymore and not with the 2020 Hyundai Venue. Even for a bit more, it would be a worthy candidate if you’re looking for a compact SUV. But at $17,350 with a six-speed manual transmission or $18,550 for the optional CVT automatic, it’s really the best of the cheap. Without reminding you of the cheap. Cheapness is now goodness.
Even the cheapest base Venue has lots of features
For the base SE trim, you get a solid car with lots of features you expect in more expensive SUVs. We know that sounds like a cliche but it’s true. Safety features include Lane-keep assist, front collision warning, and emergency braking. It also comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and projector headlights.
Even if you step up to the highest trim SEL model, you’re still right at $22,000. That gets you blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, heated seats, navigation, LED running lights and taillights, and 17-inch alloy wheels.
For that same $22,000 you can get the special Denim Edition. It comes with two-tone blue and white paint and a blue-themed interior.
The Venue is Hyundai’s smallest offering but you wouldn’t know inside
The Venue is the smallest offering from Hyundai. It’s a full five inches shorter than the Kona, yet they look like they share platforms. They don’t. The Venue has distinct proportions that aren’t compromised by its small size. Even with the body cladding, which can be obnoxious on some SUVs. The little Venue doesn’t offend.
Inside every dimension is so close to the Kona’s that, again, you think they share platforms. Yes, everything is smaller in the Venue, but only by very small amounts. The headroom is good, while the legroom is also good upfront. In back those 34-inches of legroom might be a bit tight for taller peeps.
The Venue replaces the Accent which was Hyundai’s smallest car. So, one small car went for one small SUV. It’s a sign of these times.
Forget the Snow and Sport Modes and just go with the normal mode
Power comes from a 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 121 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque. Not the best, but not anemic either. Fuel economy is 30 mpg City and 34 mpg Highway, for a combined 31 mpg. When you step on the gas there is no buzzing, except in Sport Mode. There you’ll feel and hear it slightly by keeping the engine performing in the higher rpm range.
Snow Mode is another function for added traction. It optimizes shift points and traction control. Our suggestion is to leave it in the normal mode and you don’t have those cheap reminders.
No Harsh bumps, clunks, or buzzing
Cruising speeds will reward you with a good ride without harsh bumps and clunks over train tracks or potholes. The ride is also quiet, without the drone or wind noise you’re familiar with.
You don’t get a driver’s side grab handle and the headliner looks a bit compromised, but those are the only items reminding you you’re not in an Audi. The anti-glare works well for the touchscreen and switching between menus you experience little hesitation.
It’s a good sign when your smallest, cheapest model invites few negatives. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Hyundai.