2020 Hyundai Venue, a car that literally just debuted at the 2019 New York Auto Show. The newest and smallest CUV in Hyundai’s lineup, the Venue is slightly smaller than the Kona that went on sale last year and it will serve as the entry-level crossover in Hyundai’s lineup. While the prototype we drove on Hyundai’s Namyang, Korea test facility was camouflaged, we were able to preview an uncovered version of the crossover at the design center. And of course, there’s the undisguised example sitting on the floor of New York City’s sprawling Javits Center, if you need an even closer look.
The 2020 Hyundai Venue has all of those things in spades. Or at least I think it will. After driving an Australian-spec car outside of Brisbane and along the stunning Sunshine Coast, there are still plenty of questions about this subcompact crossover SUV. One thing to be sure of, though, is that it’s a smart, stylish package that should easily attract entry-level, new-vehicle customers to the Hyundai brand.
Based on preliminary sketches, the Venue shares some of the Kona’s design elements in front, from its aggressive cascading grille to its cubelike headlamps. It’s approximately 5 inches shorter and 1 inch narrower than the Kona, however.
To differentiate it as the fun sibling, Hyundai is offering the Venue in eight colors: Ceramic White, Black Noir, Steller Silver, Galactic Gray, Scarlet Red, Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be coupled with denim cloth and a leatherette interior with a white contrasting roof.
Forbes revealed that the Venue has a lot of features and also a day was spent behind the wheel of a new Venue in the rural landscape outside of Noosa Head, Australia last week, I couldn’t stop thinking about how Hyundai has managed to package so much into what they promise will be a “so little” MSRP. This entire review might be different if we knew exactly how much money Hyundai is going to charge for the Venue in the U.S., but all that company representatives would say Down Under is that it “will definitely be the most affordable Hyundai SUV.” For the record, Hyundai’s current cheapest SUV in the U.S. is the Kona, which starts at $20,100.
The Venue is already on sale in some countries, like India, which is the market where Hyundai expects to sell the most Venues. The small CUV launched there in May and is currently selling around 9,500 units a month, mostly among its target audience of young families there, Hyundai said.
Cargo room is listed at a respectable 18.7 cubic feet with the rear seatbacks up, expanding to just 31.9 with them folded. Down nearly 14 cubes on its Kona sibling, maximum cargo room is the area where the Venue’s tiny footprint becomes most apparent. A dual-level rear load floor and a clever storage slot for the rear parcel shelf make the best of an otherwise tight situation.
A new, 1.6-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder powers the Venue, providing 121 horsepower, while Hyundai’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (a fancier name for a CVT) sends that power to the front wheels. Hyundai claims its engineers worked to make the IVT feel more like a traditional automatic. At this time it appears that CUVs sporting the Venue badge will be FWD-only – you’ll have to step up to the Kona if you require all-wheel drive.
The Venue will come in two trim levels: SE and SEL. Standard features on the SE include an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus automatic emergency braking and lane-departure steering assist. It also comes standard with an array of typical entry-level conveniences: power windows and locks, remote keyless access, cruise control and steering-wheel audio controls with Bluetooth. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a continuously variable automatic transmission optional.
The SEL is CVT-only, and it also adds more stereo speakers (six versus the SE’s four), roof rails, single-zone automatic climate control and another USB port. Optional on the SEL are heated front seats, a moonroof, keyless access with push-button start, and 17-inch alloy wheels.