- The Hyundai Venue is the smallest in a lineup that already has four crossovers in it.
- The Venue is about the same size as the Hyundai Accent and is more than five inches shorter than the Kona, previously Hyundai's most compact SUV.
- Although pricing has not been announced, we expect the Venue to come in just under $20,000 to compete against the Nissan Kicks.
Kona. Tucson. Santa Fe. Palisade. These are the names Hyundai uses for its current lineup of crossovers, and every single one of them takes after an actual place. Hyundai's newest, smallest crossover puts a weird spin on this naming convention by being named not after a place, but after the description of a place: Venue.
Maybe the name "Noun," which feels nearly as vague and open-ended, was trademarked. Or maybe we're overthinking this noun-vs.-adjective thing. What should matter to you is this: The 2020 Hyundai Venue is a handsome-looking li'l crossover. Hyundai's new corporate SUV face is applied nicely here, with eyebrow-like running lamps hovering over boxy headlights mounted low in the bumper on either side of an egg-crate grille. Meanwhile, the detailing around the roof pillars is interesting, and the pronounced shoulder line running the length of each body side gives the Venue a substantial appearance despite its size.
Speaking of, in case it wasn't clear, the Venue is tiny. As in, Ford EcoSport and Mazda CX-3 tiny. It lives at the small end of the already small subcompact-SUV segment and is 5.1 inches shorter in length than Hyundai's Kona, which also competes in this class; its 99.2-inch wheelbase matches that of the EcoSport.
In every dimension save its height, in fact, the Venue is roughly the same size as Hyundai's Accent sedan; since that model's hatchback sibling was discontinued two years ago, the Venue more or less fills in for it, albeit with a more appealing pseudo-SUV appearance and a more usefully shaped body that affords 19 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the rear seats down, and that cargo volume expands to 32 cubic feet. Both figures fall in the middle of those quoted for the Mazda CX-3, Ford EcoSport, and Nissan Kicks and a few cubes shy of the Kona.
This, Unlike the Kicks, Can Have a Manual Transmission
Unlike the Kona, the Venue only comes with front-wheel drive and a single engine option, a 1.6-liter inline-four-a configuration that throws the Hyundai into direct competition with Nissan's Kicks, which also uses a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine to power its front wheels. Hyundai will offer a six-speed manual transmission as well as a continuously variable automatic (CVT)-which is the only transmission Nissan sells the Kicks with. Hyundai is targeting a combined rating of 33 mpg on the EPA's fuel-economy testing cycle.
The Nissan also provides a useful blueprint for understanding how the Venue fits into Hyundai's lineup, which as we pointed out already includes a subcompact crossover (the 10Best Trucks and SUVs–awarded Kona!). What the Kicks is to the larger Rogue Sport-a less expensive, barely smaller alternative that lacks optional all-wheel drive-the Venue is the Kona. Jeep has similar overlap between its Renegade and Compass models. The point is, people are flocking to small crossovers, so the more an automaker can offer, the better. Or so, we assume, the thinking goes.
Hyundai has seemingly copied Nissan's approach with the Kicks, loading the Venue with content and streamlining its trim-level structure to only SE and SEL variants. Every Venue plays host to an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto phone integration, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and a driver-fatigue monitoring system. The SEL adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert to that roster and also unlocks an optional package with front and rear heated seats, proximity key with push-button ignition, automatic climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
Pricing is forthcoming, but Hyundai isn't known for pricing its vehicles on the high end of any segment it competes in. The Nissan Kicks starts at an aggressive $19,585, an MSRP we assume Hyundai will bogey for the Venue. Given how popular Nissan's Kicks seems to be-not to mention the Kia Soul, which is similarly priced on the low end of its range-Hyundai has realized that the hottest venue in the industry is the under-$20,000 crossover space.
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