The Hyundai Venue range has been tweaked for 2021, and the most popular model in the line-up – rather surprisingly – is the one we’ve got here: the Elite top-spec variant.
It’s the most expensive of Hyundai’s new cheapest model range, with the Elite model running a list price of $26,490 (MSRP – before on-road costs), but we know there are strong drive-away deals being done. That is $500 more than the 2020 model, because there are some changes compared to the previous version.
The 2021 Hyundai Venue Elite, for instance, offers customers the choice of a solid roof colour matching the body and the inclusion of a sunroof, or a two-tone roof finish like you see on this car. Plus there’s newly added smart key entry with unlock buttons on the exterior door handles, and push-button start, which is certainly a nice convenience to have – you don’t get that on a Ford Puma unless you’re spending $35k!
Also new for the 2021 update of the Venue is a sliding type console box lid, which is nice. The lower grades have seen some changes, too – read our pricing and specs story for the 2021 Venue range here.
That two-tone paint finish could be enough to get some customers across the board and into a top-spec model, because it isn’t offered on the newly renamed Venue (formerly Go) and mid-spec Active variants. And if my local area is anything to go by, that look is something a lot of customers desire.
We wanted to delve deep on which is the most appropriate spec of Venue for us to be testing, and we asked Hyundai to let us know - thinking that, you know, the Venue essentially plays the part of the old Accent in the range: it’s the new small hatch (with all the sell-ability of an SUV), and it starts at about $20,000.
But no, it’s not the base model people are flocking to. That new Venue entry-level grade does account for a fair share and so does the Active, but the Elite model is very popular with private buyers.
Aside from that two-tone paint or sunroof being available in this grade, there are some other interesting features that the Venue Elite has over its cheaper siblings. There are distinct interior finishes available for this paint finish (The Denim) or Typhoon Silver. Those two hues come with a denim interior trim which, as you can see from the interior images, is a very distinct finish. If you choose the Elite with any other colour option - two tone roof or not - the cabin scores a black cloth trim, which isn’t quite as exciting.
The interior also has a nice cream on blue finish (with some silver highlights in this colourway), which really is something unique in this segment. And if you’ve sat in any modern Hyundai or Kia, you will know the brands are pretty reliant on black plastics as a norm. Like in my old long-term Kona Active, which was a boring black-plastic fest inside. But don’t go thinking the Elite has leather seat trim - the brand calls it “cloth and premium finish”, so it’s vinyl-like.
And if you’re choosing the Venue Elite over the other grades, you also get rear privacy glass, LED rear combination lights, single zone climate control, a second USB port, smart key entry and push-button start, and single zone climate control (rather than just standard manual air-con).
That all makes it stand apart. But sadly, unlike some rivals like the Kia Stonic and even the Hyundai Kona, the powertrain is the same across the entire range. So you don’t get any better grunt if you spend the most money.
Nope, under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 90kW of power (at 6300rpm) and 151Nm of torque (at 4850rpm). If you know what those numbers mean, you will have already deduced that this engine needs revs to get the best out of it, and if you choose the Venue Elite, you have to have it with the brand’s six-speed automatic transmission - the other grades are available with a six-speed manual.
The official combined cycle fuel consumption for this front-wheel drive light SUV is 7.2L/100km, which is what the company reckons you should see across a mix of driving. That’s okay, but not nearly as eye-catching as some turbocharged rivals that offer official consumption in the 4s.
Over the coming months we will see how close I get to that claim, with my driving geared more towards highway commuting. I live 70km from the Sydney CBD, and will be heading in to work and meetings while also using the car as a grocery getter and all-round runabout. One of its first jobs was to deliver a large (32-inch) computer monitor to the office, which it did without me needing to adjust anything in the boot. The cargo volume is 355L.
My intent is to also rig up a dash cam for any unexpected moments, as within the first month of my ‘ownership’ the car has already been car-park christened with a door dent from a neighbouring vehicle while I was at the local pool.
Otherwise it has been so far, so good with the Venue Elite. I’ll share some driving thoughts in the next update, and also on the connectivity - an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav and USB-connect Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (the other grades have wireless smartphone mirroring, but it doesn’t work with in-built navigation).
Stay tuned for more!
Acquired: 18 January 2021
Distance travelled this month: 1143km
Average fuel consumption for Feb: 7.54L/100km (measured at the pump)