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Hyundai Venue 2020 review

The Venue marks the new (and more expensive) entry point to the Hyundai range. So is it worth the extra money?
EXPERT RATING
7.5
The Venue marks the new (and more expensive) entry point to the Hyundai range. So is it worth the extra money?

Hyundai’s Venue is a step up from the Accent. And we mean that both figuratively and literally - not only is the brand's newest SUV a taller vehicle than the entry-level hatchback it's essentially replacing, it is also a better vehicle in almost every way.

It's not all good news, though. With the Accent not long for this world, the Venue will form the new entry point to the Hyundai family. And with a starting price of $20k for this smallest of small SUVs, it's an entry point that is around $5k higher than it has been for years. 

Which leaves us with one big question for this small SUV, then; is it worth it?

Hyundai Venue 2020: Go
Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$19,990

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   8/10

The Venue might well start at a touch under twenty grand, but it still represents a sizeable step up from the cheapest Accent, which, as it enters its final months on sale, you can still pick up for around $15 grand.

Happily for Hyundai, the Venue is also a literal step up from the Accent, and so places the brand's newest and smallest SUV into one of Australia’s fastest-growing new vehicle segments. And while that won't make up for the Accent’s soon-to-be-missing sales volume entirely, it will go some way to filling the void. 

The Venue will form the new entry point to the Hyundai family. (Go model shown) The Venue will form the new entry point to the Hyundai family. (Go model shown)

The Venue arrives in three trim levels; the entry-grade Go, the mid-spec Active and the top-spec Elite.

By Hyundai’s own admission, not many people will land on the Go ($19,990 manual, $21,990 automatic), which does arrives with niceties like an 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto equipped, automatic headlights and cruise control, but also makes do with 15-inch steel wheels.

Inside, the Venue scores a 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Elite model shown) Inside, the Venue scores a 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. (Elite model shown)

The step to the Active ($21,990 manual, $23,490 auto) is $1500, and it’s one Hyundai thinks most people will happily make. Doing so will earn you 15-inch alloys, LED DRLs, nicer leather interior treatments and a better six-speaker stereo. 

Finally, the top-spec Elite ($25,490 auto only) adds navigation and digital radio, single-zone climate control and  17-inch alloy wheels, plus a more funky look courtesy of its contrasting two-tone roof. 

The top spec Elite model is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels. (Elite model shown) The top spec Elite model is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels. (Elite model shown)

Is there anything interesting about its design?   8/10

Let's start with the obvious; the Venue looks better and more modern than the Accent it essentially replaces, both inside and out. 

How much better depends on how much you spend, of course (the steel wheels on the Go grate like a dentist drill in 2019) but it is a sharp-looking SUV no matter what you spend. 

More a hatch on stilts than a genuine SUV, Hyundai has done well to hide its light-car credentials behind a wide, strong grille, lightly bulging wheel arches and standard roof rails, even on cheapest Go model. It gives the front-wheel-drive only Venue a kin of ready-for-anything look, even if that anything is unlikely to include anything more challenging than the ramp at your local shopping centre. 

  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown.

Inside, though, does hint more strongly at its position at the beginning of the Hyundai range, with cloth seats and manual air-conditioning (in all but the most expensive model), as well as a key you have to insert and turn to start the engine (remember that?). 

As you expect at this price point, there is no shortage of hard plastics, but the design is clean and simple, and the huge touchscreen dials up the wow factor somewhat, as does the moulded dash element that doubles as a kind-of grab handle. 

  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Go model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Active model shown.
  • 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown. 2020 Hyundai Venue Elite model shown.

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

It’s worth remembering that, while the Venue feels more substantial than the Accent it replaces, it is actually slightly shorter, and rides on a smaller wheelbase. So, it’s no behemoth. In fact, at 4040mm in length, 1170 in width and 1592mm in height, it is just 20mm longer than a Mazda2.

Clever packaging unlocks a very usable 355-litre boot space, but that's slightly smaller than you’d find in the Accent, and lower than the 361 litres on offer in the Kona.

Boot space of the Venue is rated at 355-litre, which is only a fraction smaller than what the Kona has to offer. (Elite model shown) Boot space of the Venue is rated at 355-litre, which is only a fraction smaller than what the Kona has to offer. (Elite model shown)

Inside, though, you’ll find the space on offer surprisingly generous. Front-seat riders can travel with no awkward shoulder rubbing, while in the back, there’s definitely room for two adults (well, as long as they’re my 175cm, that is), with enough clear air between your knees and the seat in front, and your head and the roof lining, to ensure you don’t feel overly claustrophobic. 

  • Up front, you’ll find the space on offer is surprisingly generous. (Active model shown) Up front, you’ll find the space on offer is surprisingly generous. (Active model shown)
  • In the back, there’s room for two adults. (Active model shown) In the back, there’s room for two adults. (Active model shown)

That said, there aren’t much in the way of niceties for backseat riders to enjoy. The touchpoint are all trimmed in hard plastics, and there’s nary an air vent, charging point or cupholder to be found, even in the top-spec Elite model.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

It's a pretty straightforward engine line-up on offer in the Venue. And that’s mostly because there’s exactly one engine to choose from, no matter what you spend - a 1.6-litre petrol unit good for 90kW and 151Nm.

That engine can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission in the Go and Active trims, or with a six-speed automatic in the Go, Active or Elite. 

All spec levels of the Venue are powered by the same 1.6-litre four cylinder making 90kW/151Nm. (Elite model shown) All spec levels of the Venue are powered by the same 1.6-litre four cylinder making 90kW/151Nm. (Elite model shown)

The Venue also gets a tricky traction system that, using throttle mapping and ESC settings, can be configures for mud, sand or snow. A true off-roader this front-wheel-drive SUV ain’t, but some light stuff should be possible.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Happily, the Venue accepts cheaper 91RON fuel, and should sip around 7.0 litres per hundred kilometres on the combined cycle, regardless of transmission.

Emissions are pegged at 160g/km with the manual, and 165g/km with the automatic. 

The Venue’s fuel tank will hold 45 litres. 

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   7/10

The Venue arrives with six airbags, camera-based AEB, a reversing camera and lane keep assist as standard right across the range.

Stepping up to the Active, however, adds rear parking sensors, while shelling out for the Elite buys you blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Venue is yet to be officially crash tested, but Hyundai says it expects a four-star result, owing to the lack of radar-based safety systems.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   8/10

It's the full five-year, unlimited-kilometre Hyundai treatment here, with service intervals pegged at 12 months or 15,000 kilometres. 

Hyundai’s capped-price servicing program prices the first five services at $259, $259, $339, $459 and $259, for a total $1575 over the warranty period.

What's it like to drive?   8/10

What you make of the Venue largely depends on your, erm, venue. And yes, that is the kind of terrible pun that makes a dad joke seem like champagne comedy, but stick with me for a moment. 

The Venue, you’d have to think, will be driven almost exclusively in Australia’s urban centres, and it’s here that it seriously shines. The engine is smooth and unobtrusive as you climb to city speeds, and the six-speed automatic shuffles through its gears with minimal fuss, too. 

The Venue is a step up from the Accent in more than just its ride height. (Go model shown) The Venue is a step up from the Accent in more than just its ride height. (Go model shown)

More good stuff? It’s quiet in the cabin, and the centre screen is not only big, clear and easy to use, but also makes the Venue a nicer, more modern-feeling place to spend time than the more basic-feeling Accent. 

Some of the shine does start to wear off away from town, though, where the 1.6-litre engine’s 91kW need to be strong-armed into action, with flat-footed acceleration adding an unwelcome harshness to the drive experience. 

The engine is smooth and unobtrusive as you climb to city speeds. (Elite model shown) The engine is smooth and unobtrusive as you climb to city speeds. (Elite model shown)

Steep hills are a natural enemy of cars like these, too, and so expect the usually sorted automatic gearbox to jump from third gear to fourth, then back to third, as it tries to squeeze every last ounce of power from the engine. These are mere foibles, though, and in town you won’t even notice them.

The ride is sublime, even over sudden rough spots or mid-corner bumps. In fact, the steering and handling setup is so surprising that you will genuinely find yourself grinning on a twisting road, and longing for more power from that engine.

Flat-footed acceleration in the Venue adds an unwelcome harshness to the drive experience. (Active model shown) Flat-footed acceleration in the Venue adds an unwelcome harshness to the drive experience. (Active model shown)

Short answer? The Venue is a step up from the Accent in more than just its ride height. 

Verdict

With small SUVs still selling like high-riding hot cakes, there’s no doubt the Venue is the right car at the right time for Hyundai. It won't make up for all the sales lost by the Accent's demise, but those who do buy one will end up with a much better car for their money. 

Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.

Pricing Guides

$19,990
Based on Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)
Lowest Price
$19,990
Highest Price
$19,990
EXPERT RATING
7.5
Price and features8
Design8
Practicality7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Safety7
Ownership8
Driving8
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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Pricing Guide

$19,990

Lowest price, based on new car retail price

This price is subject to change closer to release data
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