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Hyundai Venue 2021 review: Elite long-term

Matt has the Hyundai Venue Elite for the next six months.

Part 1: February 26, 2021

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.

That two-tone paint finish could be enough to get some customers across the board and into a top-spec model. That two-tone paint finish could be enough to get some customers across the board and into a top-spec model.

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.

The Elite model runs a list price of $26,490 (MSRP – before on-road costs). The Elite model runs a list price of $26,490 (MSRP – before on-road costs).

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.

Don’t go thinking the Elite has leather seat trim - the brand calls it “cloth and premium finish”, so it’s vinyl-like.  Don’t go thinking the Elite has leather seat trim - the brand calls it “cloth and premium finish”, so it’s vinyl-like. 

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 has a nice cream on blue finish. The interior has a nice cream on blue finish.

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).

There's LED rear combination lights. There's LED rear combination lights.

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.

Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

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.

The cargo volume is 355L. 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.

There's an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav and USB-connect Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's an 8.0-inch touchscreen with sat nav and USB-connect Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

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

Odometer: 2080km

Average fuel consumption for Feb: 7.54L/100km (measured at the pump)

Part 2, March 2021

Own a car? You’ll know the pain I felt when I walked back to the Venue, parked at the local swimming pool, only to see some inconsiderate so-and-so had dented the door with their own door.

I hate car park dings. I didn’t even have to shell out my hard-earned money for this car, but it still made me utter some unrepeatable words when I saw the oh-so-recognisable dent from the sharp edge of another car’s door.

Of course, the offender’s car wasn’t there anymore, so there was no chance to retaliate (not that I would) nor leave a note. And this happened before I got the dash cam set up in place - the one I’m using is the Nextbase 322GW that won our recent comparison test, and it has a G-force meter that would have recorded a bump this noticeable.

The Nextbase 322GW has a G-force meter that record noticeable bumps.
The Nextbase 322GW has a G-force meter that record noticeable bumps.

So it is then that the front passenger door of Ron the Hyundai Venue has been christened. Oh, and yes, our car has Ron as its name now, because he’s a bit magic in terms of the way he packages so much into such a small space, but he’s not too fancy. According to my partner Gemma, that’s a reference to Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter books/films. Dunno, haven’t seen or read them.

Aside from the swimming pool incident (we haven’t gone back), Ron has been keeping out of trouble. As mentioned, the dash cam being fitted is surely going to add some interesting footage to my farewell video. It’s amazing how often you see stuff happen on the road that’s hard to believe, and a few times in this past month I’ve been driving other cars when that has happened. 

  • We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions. We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions.
  • We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions. We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions.
  • We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions. We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions.
  • We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions. We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions.

We’ve been to the shops and failed to fill up the boot with shopping bags on several occasions, and that’s one of my favourite things about the Venue - the size of the boot is at odds with the size of the car. It’s huge, and the dual floor setup means you can adjust it to what you need.

On a recent trip to Cowra to Gemma’s parents’ house for a weekend away, we managed to fit our weekend bag, pillows, two dog beds and a few other odds and ends without even needing to worry about the boot space. 

Zig can be a wimp, but he has no qualms in the Venue. Zig can be a wimp, but he has no qualms in the Venue.

Our dogs - Joey and Ziggy - were both comfortable and happy in the back. Zig can be a wimp, but he has no qualms in the Venue, and even knows that he has to run and jump in the back when I say “in the car!” to him now. 

The drive over the Blue Mountains, past Lithgow and Bathurst and along to Cowra was a pretty good one. The cruise control system - though not adaptive - was okay, though there is some variance of up to 10km/h from the set speed, meaning you could find yourself sluggishly sitting at 90kmh/ in a 100km/h zone up a hill. The transmission logic just isn’t aggressive enough in the Normal drive mode, but Sport mode does help. 

The ride and comfort was mostly good on the way there, but on the way back from Cowra to Bathurst, the east-ward lane is rougher and bumpier, and while it wasn’t unsettling or too fidgety, it wasn’t as serene as the trip there.

The drive over the Blue Mountains, past Lithgow and Bathurst and along to Cowra was a pretty good one. The drive over the Blue Mountains, past Lithgow and Bathurst and along to Cowra was a pretty good one.

I’ve also had some non-furry, actual human friends test out the back seat during the past month, and despite both being taller than average, both Deon and Marine were happy enough in the back. They were very impressed with the quality of the materials - the denim seat trim, and blue/beige plastic both stood out.

When I asked them what they thought it cost, both were amazed when I told them it was a $26,490 car. “It doesn’t feel that cheap!” Deon said.

And while the perceived value is high, there are little things that are starting to grate on me the longer I spend with the car. The hard plastics mark quite easily inside the cabin - I may have left a couple of marks on the edge of the dashboard when fitting the dashcam, and there will no doubt be a couple of bumps to the boot plastics after our time together is up, too.

I've had the media screen black out on more than one occasion. I've had the media screen black out on more than one occasion.

I've had the media screen black out on more than one occasion, too. I'd started the car, plugged in my phone to the USB port for Apple CarPlay, but the screen simply blacked out. I disconnected the USB and it came back to life, and a few minutes later the CarPlay was working fine again. But I can't really understand how these built-in systems continually bug out.

Plus the two-tone paint is definitely an interesting look, but as Deon pointed out, there’s a bit of a crook line at the rear on one side, where the white roof paint looks like it wasn’t taped off well enough. I guess that adds a “handmade” vibe to it, but it also adds a “what other shortcuts have been taken here?” feel.

The two-tone paint is definitely an interesting look, but there’s a bit of a crook line at the rear on one side. The two-tone paint is definitely an interesting look, but there’s a bit of a crook line at the rear on one side.

My time driving the car has been the typical deal: duck to the shops; head to Bunnings to buy a tool you didn’t know you needed; commute to work in horrible Sydney traffic. And while I wish the engine and transmission were better - a turbo 1.0-litre unit like you get in the Stonic GT Line would be perfect here - I’ve largely found the Venue to be a nice little thing to live with, apart from excessive road noise on the highway.

Still, the Venue’s size made it the only choice for parking in the city. A recent trip saw me head to our old office and park on the street in Surry Hills, and I was glad I took the Venue given the space I squeezed into. I also went and saw Andrew Chesterton at his house, and his cute little Ford Puma ST Line long-termer insisted on a quick photo.

Andrew Chesterton's cute little Ford Puma ST Line long-termer insisted on a quick photo. Andrew Chesterton's cute little Ford Puma ST Line long-termer insisted on a quick photo.

Ron the Venue was also a great fit at our new office carpark. The space has limited height and the car spots are slim, so the Venue’s stout size made it a perfect pal for that. It even looked quite at home there, don’t you think?

And on his way back to Sydney from the launch of the facelifted Hyundai Kona, Stephen Ottley showed up with the very closely priced Kona base model, which required a quick photo shoot as well. Interesting just how different these two look when you see them alongside each other, but they're so close in terms of interior space it's well worth sitting in both if you're considering spending up on the Kona.

  • Stephen Ottley's Kona base model is very closely priced to the Venue. Stephen Ottley's Kona base model is very closely priced to the Venue.
  • Stephen Ottley's Kona base model is very closely priced to the Venue. Stephen Ottley's Kona base model is very closely priced to the Venue.

Plus, in one of those "I never thought that would happen!" moments, Gemma and I parked directly alongside her old Mini Cooper Cabriolet at the Penrith Westfield. It was great to see the old purple cutie parked alongside our current dark-blue bootie.

It was great to see the old purple cutie parked alongside our current dark-blue bootie. It was great to see the old purple cutie parked alongside our current dark-blue bootie.

In my next installment there’s another trip away to contend with, and even more commuter duties. Stay tuned, and be sure to let me know any questions you might have in the comments section - likewise, read our 2021 Hyundai Venue FAQ review, because we might have already answered them!

Acquired: 18 January 2021

Distance travelled this month: 1041km

Odometer: 3121km

Average fuel consumption for Mar: 7.70L/100km (measured at the pump)


The Wrap

Likes

Great size
Interesting looks inside and out
Well packaged

Dislikes

Not as punchy as it could be
Two tone roof OR sunroof
Rivals are really competitive

Scores

Matt:

The Kids:

$26,490

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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