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As much as we might want to drive luxury SUVs, their price tags force most of us to choose less expensive models. However, as the months and years pass, you might notice that a cheap model isn’t worth buying. The 2023 Hyundai Venue is the South Korean automaker’s most affordable SUV, and you may question whether it’s a worthy investment. But don’t dismiss it.

Hyundai’s affordable SUV packs plenty of features

A bright green 2023 Hyundai Venue subcompact SUV model parked on a highway overpass with skyscrapers behind it
2023 Hyundai Venue | Hyundai Motor America

Kelley Blue Book recently reported that the average price of a new vehicle is over $48,000. Every day, finding a new car for less becomes increasingly tricky. However, the value-packed Hyundai Venue starts under $20,000. Its $19,620 base MSRP will have you double-checking, but don’t be quick to dismiss it — this subcompact crossover provides plenty of features.

The Venue makes shopping simple with only three trim levels — SE, SEL, and Limited — and one powertrain. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine makes 121 hp and 113 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is decent, taking 8.6 seconds from 0 to 60 mph. But its fuel economy — 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway — is superb.

The SE base model includes driver-assistance tech such as forward collision-avoidance assist and lane-keep assist. It also has a user-friendly 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability. Don’t expect a plush interior, but the Venue is well-assembled.

This SUV also has a roomy cabin for its small size, and the front and rear seats are comfortable. The rear cargo area provides 18.7 cubic feet of space. With the 60/40 split-folding second-row seats folded down, storage capacity increases to 31.9 cubic feet.

The 2023 Hyundai Venue SEL trim strikes an appealing balance

This Hyundai is one of the best small SUVs
2023 Hyundai Venue | Hyundai Motor America

All the features described above are standard for the Venue SE base model. However, the SEL trim, starting at $21,400, provides an ideal balance of equipment and value. For instance, the SE sits on 15-inch alloy wheels, while the SEL offers a nice upgrade with 17-inch alloy wheels.

That extra $1,780 also brings a power moonroof, a six-speaker sound system, a passive entry with push-button start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The manual climate control in the base trim is perfectly functional, but the SEL comes with automatic climate control. It also adds more performance and safety features, such as a drive mode selector with snow mode, to improve traction on slippery roads.

The Venue is available only with front-wheel drive, so the snow mode might be a desirable feature in the absence of all-wheel drive, especially for people in colder regions. Plus, the mid-level trim includes blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert in its advanced driver-assistance features.

The Limited trim adds more luxurious features

Last, the 2023 Hyundai Venue Limited trim gives drivers in colder regions another perk: heated seats. It adds upgraded leatherette, too. Additionally, the range-topping model has built-in navigation with real-time traffic updates. Wireless charging, which isn’t available in previous Venue model years, is now standard on the Limited. Hyundai also added two more USB ports for rear passengers.

It’s easy to see why the Limited trim is an attractive choice. It still provides more features than the base model of a more expensive vehicle. Starting at $22,900, the top-tier Venue Limited is a worthy investment with desirable features while remaining within budget.