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Hyundai Venue 2020 review: Active

Hyundai's Venue Active delivers a great value small SUV package

After a small SUV with a decent amount of interior space? The new Hyundai Venue Active fits that bill. It's smaller than Hyundai's other small SUV, the Kona, but doesn't feel it on the inside. It will fit a family of four with younger children comfortably.

I was in the Venue Active, which is in the middle of the range and sells for $23,490, before on-road costs. Well priced, it competes with small SUVs like the Mazda CX-3 and Ford Ecosport, as well as small cars like the Kia Cerato.

I test drove it for seven days for this week's family review.

What does it look like?

On first glance, it looks like a miniature Range Rover, with a sloping roof line, angled back windows and a similar shape - only a lot smaller and less refined.

On first glance, it looks like a miniature Range Rover. On first glance, it looks like a miniature Range Rover.

There's even some black panelling on an otherwise all-blue car, and if you go up a level you'll qualify for the two-tone paint job which makes it feel quite premium. The exterior gets a big tick.

Inside is not so flash, it's more about standard finishes and a fair amount of plastic. Still, it does the job, and for the price it's good.

In this model there are fabric seats which don't look so great but aren't scratchy on bare legs which is the important thing.

The centre console has a simple design and if you don't want to work out where things are on the touchscreen, there's a bunch of buttons underneath which are shortcuts for main functions.

The centre console has a simple design. The centre console has a simple design.

It also comes with a leather steering wheel which feels nice and is a step up from the base model.

How spacious is it?

For a small SUV, it doesn't feel cramped, which is refreshing. I have been in some small SUVs where you feel like driver and front passenger are rubbing shoulders, but the front seats in the Venue have ample space with just enough leg and headroom for taller occupants.

The back easily fit my six and eight year old children, and I was also fine at 161cm, but there wasn't much room from my knees to the seat in front, and head space was limited so I think taller folks may not be as comfortable as my little family was.

  • For a small SUV, it doesn't feel cramped, which is refreshing. For a small SUV, it doesn't feel cramped, which is refreshing.
  • The back easily fit my children, but there wasn't much room from my knees. The back easily fit my children, but there wasn't much room from my knees.
  • Boot capacity in the Venue is smaller than the Kona, but still decent at 355L. Boot capacity in the Venue is smaller than the Kona, but still decent at 355L.

The boot is interesting because on paper it's smaller than the Kona (marginally, the Kona is 361L and the Venue is 355L), but this boot actually fits the bulky CarsGuide pram, while the Kona's does not.

Sure, it has to go up on the side and you won't fit much else but at least you'll get a pram in. Without a pram, it will fit groceries or school bags and kids scooters should be fine as well.

How does it drive?

It's a fairly cruisy ride in the Venue Active, with a 1.6L engine which gets around on the suburban route without any trouble. If you're driving between the school run, work and weekend activities, this car does well.

The Venue Active has a 1.6L engine, and gets around on the suburban route without any trouble. The Venue Active has a 1.6L engine, and gets around on the suburban route without any trouble.

You won't be the fastest car coasting along highways and I found myself having to stick to the left lane on a long drive this week, but it gets the job done.

Being a small car, there's a very conveniently sized turning circle and the steering wheel turns nice and easily, so fitting into parks is also fine.

Being a small car, there's a very conveniently sized turning circle. Being a small car, there's a very conveniently sized turning circle.

There's a reverse parking camera (not super high res but still works well) with parking indicator lines to guide you into parks.

How easy is it to use everyday?

There's not much in the way of automation but may I direct you to the price point: that's to be expected. The front seats are manually adjustable and it's not an arm workout to do so.

There's a decent amount of storage for a small SUV. There's a decent amount of storage for a small SUV.

There's a decent amount of storage for a small SUV. Two cupholders in the front, a large-ish space for keys and a phone, a good size centre storage bin and storage in each door.

The back does miss out though - no cupholders, but there are pockets on the back of the front seats.

There are no air vents in the rear either, though this is not not unusual for small SUVs, they rarely come with adjustable air vents in the back. On this particular week where temps reached 36 degrees however, my children did miss them.

How safe is it?

What's the tech like?

I always think any lower price car where Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard is fantastic, and the Venue is no exception. You're getting top level tech for a good price and the screen is large for this car.

You're getting top level tech for a good price. You're getting top level tech for a good price.

Plug your phone in and the screen syncs with the main apps so you can use maps to navigate and Spotify to listen to music or podcasts. Plus it has voice control, so you can tell the tech where to navigate or who to call for you. Look mum, no hands!

How much does it cost to own?

The Hyundai Venue Active costs $23,490, before on-road costs. Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.2L/100km, and for me this week the car did 7.5L/100km.

The Hyundai Venue Active costs $23,490, before on-road costs. The Hyundai Venue Active costs $23,490, before on-road costs.

It's covered by Hyundai's five year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required every 12months or 15,000km.


The Wrap

The Hyundai Venue Active is a good family car choice if you've got a young family and you're looking to up-size slightly from a small car. The good thing is it's about the same price as a small car, but you get the all important height off the road which makes it easier to do kids seat belts up, there's a good amount of interior space and the boot fit our single pram. Plus it drives well.

I gave it a family rating of 7.3 out of 10 and my kids also give it a 7.3. They missed the air vents in the back seat.

Likes

Exterior design
Good city driving
Interior space

Dislikes

Works hard to go fast
Modest rear head and leg room
No rear cupholders

Scores

Nedahl:

3.7

The Kids:

3.7

$23,490

Based on new car retail price