To refresh, the Venue hit the scene late in 2019 with an expectation of being a sub-$20K replacement for the Accent, but that low pricing didn’t pan out as planned.
Nonetheless, our $22,710 Venue with a 90kW/151Nm 1.6-litre auto is on the cheap side of the burgeoning light/small SUV brigade, though it is substantially undercut by China’s larger $23,490 D/A MG ZS with a listless 84kW/150 1.5 auto and soon-to-be-succeeded $22,990 D/A Haval H2 Premium and its zingy 110kW/210Nm 1.5-litre turbo/auto combo.
The Hyundai does cost less than the other sub-$25K contenders, including the related, recently-released $22,990 Kia Stonic S with a breathless 74kW/133Nm 1.4-litre auto, enduring Mazda CX-3 Neo Sport from $24,890 with a gutsy 110kW/195Nm 2.0-litre auto and $24,990 Suzuki Vitara with a revvy 86kW/156Nm 1.6 auto. The rest – including the base Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos and bestselling Mitsubishi ASX autos – cost more.
On the safety front, the Venue includes six airbags, Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as part of Hyundai’s Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist driver-assist suite of features that includes pedestrian detection, vehicle stability management (stability control and traction control), anti-lock brakes with Emergency Brake Distribution and Brake Assist, hill-start assist, lane-keep assist, driver-attention warning, auto on/off headlights and tyre pressure monitors.
The cheapest Venue also ushers in wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto tech, reverse camera, an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control, power windows, remote central locking, heated door mirrors, centre console box with sliding lid, cloth seats, 15-inch alloy wheels and a space-saver spare. Metallic or mica paint costs $495.
One omission is digital radio. For rear-parking sensors you’ll need to climb up to Active spec (from $24,640), while blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert are found on the flagship Elite for another $2K extra. And the Hyundai’s warranty is five years compared to the Kia’s and Chinese brands’ seven-year items, while Mitsubishi offers a conditional 10/non-conditional five-year warranty.
So, yes, the entry-level Venue does provide much of what you need and a bit of what you want, in a truly compact, very square and practically designed light SUV, for less than most. And, frankly, it’d be our pick over the ageing ZS and H2.