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It’s fitting that Hyundai took the wraps off the tiny Venue SUV at the New York International Auto Show, because it’s small enough to park on crowded city streets where few other vehicles would fit.
It’s the seventh SUV in the automaker’s lineup, and Hyundai has no qualms about calling the Venue “entry level.” It is destined to replace the Accent hatchback.
Although pricing has yet to be announced, Hyundai says the Venue will start below the $19,990 sticker price of its sibling, the Kona. Despite its small size and low price, the Venue promises fashionable looks and the latest technology. We plan to buy one and test it when it goes on sale late in 2019.
At just 158.9 inches long, the Venue is one of the shortest cars on the market. Only a handful of vehicles—including the BMW i3, Fiat 500, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and Mini Cooper—are shorter. It’s about 5 inches shorter than most other compact SUVs, including Hyundai’s own Kona.
The Venue is boxier than the Kona and has a bolder grille pattern. The overall shape is reminiscent of the new Toyota RAV4 or Volvo XC40, and available two-tone paint helps to cement that resemblance. 15-inch wheels come standard; 17-inch wheels are available.
Hyundai is known for straightforward interiors, and the Venue’s is no exception. The controls are simple, featuring buttons and knobs, and there’s a traditional gear selector between the front seats. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility come standard, as does an 8-inch touch screen. Navigation, heated front seats, and remote start with Amazon Alexa and Google Voice compatibility are available.
Despite its diminutive exterior dimensions, Hyundai claims the Venue will be almost as roomy as the Kona when it comes to space for people, although it has nearly 14 cubic feet less cargo space with the seats folded down.
One unique feature is an available denim-and-leatherette interior. Volkswagen and Volvo both offered denim trim a few years back, but the most famous small car to sport seats made from jean cloth was the AMC Gremlin.
What Drives It
The Venue is powered by an updated version of the 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine used in many current Hyundai models. The automaker says it has made a ton of engine-efficiency and cooling tweaks to maximize power while also improving fuel economy. We tested a Hyundai Accent with an older version of this engine, and we hope these improvements also address how loud and sluggish that car was.
All-wheel drive is not available, but a six-speed manual transmission is—and the ability for drivers to choose their own gears might give the Venue a sportier feel.
Safety & Driver-Assist Systems
We’re impressed by the Venue’s standard list of advanced safety features, including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic warning. These features are very often optional on entry-level vehicles.
If you need to park in small spaces and want hatchbacklike versatility but still enjoy the high-up driving position of an SUV, you might be interested in the Venue. Design aside, we’re interested in testing one to find out just how much we can fit in such a small car and whether it’s as enjoyable to drive as it is to look at.
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