Shopping for a midsize SUV? Guess what? The Hyundai Venue is a subcompact SUV that is going to meet your needs, save you a lot on the bottom line, and demonstrate day after day that bigger isn’t always better.
It’s an American problem of buying more than we need. As the father of a family of four, would it be great to own a Hyundai Palisade for all its room? Of course, but after spending a week with a Hyundai Venue, do I need a Palisade? Nope, the Venue consistently met our needs in all areas.
Keep in mind this is basically a $23,000 when bought with most of the bells and whistles. Compare that with the average price of a new vehicle in the United States being $38,077, according to The Detroit Bureau.
So, the Venue is inexpensive. Yet, Wards Auto said the 2020 model has one of the 10 best interiors. The examiners praised Hyundai for the premium materials, fit-and-finish, and great ergonomics with an easy-to use-infotainment set up.
The Venue also has a roomy interior for taller drivers. It gets a little cramped in the back for passengers over 5’6” inches tall if the front seats are all the way back. Two average-size males should be able to use the front and rear seats comfortably.
One potential knock against the Venue is cargo space is not great when the second row is up. Fold it, though, and the space is competitive against the Nissan Kick for example. No subcompact is truly capable of hauling four people and luggage and the Venue is no exception.
Among the safety features offered are Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) w/ Pedestrian Detection. Cyclist detection is added on the top SEL trim. Blind-Spot Collision Warning (BCW) with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning is an option.
The most important safety feature is Driver Attention Warning. The driver's attention level is displayed on the scale of 1 to 5. The lower the level, the more inattentive the driver is. The level decreases when the driver does not take a break for a certain period of time. The level increases when the driver attentively drives for a certain period of time. When the driver turns on the system while driving, it displays “Last Break time” and level.
The system will send you a warning on your dashboard when it believes you are drowsy. This is technology first introduced on Mercedes-Benz’ models costing more than $100,000 just a few years ago.
This is important technology. The Insurance Information Institute says an estimated 21% of fatal crashes, 13% of crashes resulting in severe injury, and 6% of all crashes, involve a drowsy driver.
Also, the entire Hyundai lineup is a Top Safety Pick, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Bigger is not better when it comes to vehicle safety.
The Venue earned good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Those are most important in our daily drivers.
Is the Venue underpowered? One might think so because the Venue has a 1.6-liter, dual overheard cam, fuel injected engine that produces 121 horsepower and 113 lb. ft. of torque.
Could it use more zip on the highway? Sure. Did it fail to get me where I was going? Never. Once underway, it contentedly cruised along at 70 mph. A more powerful engine may have got me to my destination 30 seconds faster. The Venue gave me what I needed just not always what I wanted.
- Wheelbase: 99.2 inches
- Length: 159.1 inches
- Width: 69.7 inches
- Height: 61.6 inches
- Curb weight: 2,738 lbs.
- Engine: 1.6-liter, dual overheard cam, fuel injected
- Horsepower: 121 @ 6300 rpm
- Torque: 113 lb. ft. @ 4,500
- EPA estimated mpg city/highway:
- Base price: $18,750
- As-tested price: $23,280
- Also consider: (a comparative vehicle) Nissan Kicks, Mazda CX-30
So, what do you think? Are Americans buying too many full-size SUVs when subcompacts will do? Paste your comments below.
Keith Griffin covers Hyundai and Kia at Torque News. He has been writing continuously about cars since 2002. Keith used to be a researcher/writer for US News & World Report, as well as numerous car sites, including Carfax and Car Gurus, and a contributor to The Boston Globe. Most recently, Keith was the managing editor for American Business Media. Follow Keith at @indepthauto on Twitter, on @LinkedIn and on his Indepth Auto Facebook page.