What Stopped the 2021 Hyundai Venue From Being the SUV of the Year?

The 2021 Hyundai Venue promises some great features and offers plenty for potential sport utility vehicle owners. So much so that the Venue became a contender for MotorTrend’s SUV of the year award. 

However, it didn’t make it to the finalist round. What happened that prevented the Venue SUV from taking its offering to the next level? Let’s see what MotorTrend had to say about the Hyundai Venue, but first, we’ll look and see what criteria they use to award a vehicle. 

MotorTrend’s criteria for SUV of the year

MotorTrend takes all the contenders vying for a specific award and puts them to the test, evaluating each on their own merits. They look for six particular points that they feel would make it stand out as the winner of a specific category, in this case, SUV of the year. 

They take the design of the exterior and interior into account. Is the styling good-looking or ugly? Or were there decent materials throughout the interior as well as the exterior? Then they extend that into the powertrain, suspension system, and all the engineering technology used within the vehicle. Is the vehicle up to snuff or does it fall it short?

Then they’ll look at things like fuel economy, safety features, and performance of the vehicle. If a company brags its vehicle does something, they test to see if the claim is true. For example, if an automaker says it rides great, they’ll make sure it really does. If not, they don’t hesitate to mark that in their review. The vehicle that scores the highest gets that award in the end. 

Why did the Hyundai Venue make it as a contender but not a finalist?

RELATED: The Hyundai Venue Is Small but Safe

MotorTrend liked the Hyundai Venue and saw it as a contender for SUV of the year. But there were a few things that kept it from becoming a finalist for the award. One is its nice looking interior. While it does have some excellent features, it still suffers from too much cheap plastic used throughout the vehicle. 

MotorTrend’s reviewers also didn’t care for the weak engine installed in the Venue. Acceleration time for the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine was a slow 9.4 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run. Even pressing the gas pedal didn’t bring any more power to save it, it only brought more noise. 

The one drawback, however, that probably had the most influence on getting the Venue passed up as a finalist for SUV of the year, has to be the choice of drivetrain. Or lack thereof, in this case. The Hyundai Venue is a front-wheel-drive vehicle with no option for AWD on any of the trims. This alone had them questioning whether or not it should be called a tall hatchback instead of an SUV.

What’s good about the Hyundai Venue?

Despite not being a finalist for SUV of the year, the Hyundai Venue has many great features. You’ll still get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless start and entry, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and LED headlights adorning the front of the Venue. 

Hyundai managed to pack a decent amount of tech into this small SUV at an affordable price. Actually, even with the weaker engine, this vehicle makes the perfect option for the younger generation. High schoolers that just got their license all the way up to those entering the workforce after college would benefit from its affordable price. 

With a base price at $18,490, it doesn’t come with much, but if you add some decent options, you’re still making out like a bandit with a $23,380 MSRP. Of course, the fuel economy for this small SUV isn’t bad either. You’ll get approximately 30 mpg driving in the city, according to the EPA. On the highway, you’ll likely get 34 mpg. 

The Hyundai Venue offers quite a bit for a small SUV, and it costs less than $25,000. Not bad for an entry-level offering in the SUV market. Just don’t expect too much to come with it like AWD. But even that doesn’t matter to some drivers as the price point is probably one of its strongest features.