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2020 Hyundai Venue: First Look

  • All-new compact crossover.

  • Updated Smartstream Gamma 1.6-liter engine.

  • Offers a 6-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.

  • Available suite of safety/driver-assist technologies.

As illustrated by the all-new 2020 Hyundai Venue, Hyundai may not be abandoning passenger cars, as some other brands are, but neither is it content to stay stationary in the wildly popular crossover segments. What will be its entry-level crossover is following close on the heels of Hyundai’s new crossover flagship Palisade, bringing Hyundai’s CUV count to eight (Including alternative-fuel models). The new Venue (recently shown at the New York Auto Show) will introduce Hyundai’s value story to the small CUV segment. In addition to what should be a very affordable price, the Venue will blend solid fuel economy with a wide assortment of connectivity and safety technology. It’s what Hyundai does.

How Does It Fit

To call the 2020 Hyundai Venue a pipsqueak would be misleading. You are probably thinking bigger than what it is. It’s not as big as “pipsqueak” might lead you to believe. It’s smaller (more than five inches shorter) than the Kona, which did hold the title of Hyundai’s smallest crossover. Hyundai, no doubt, is aiming the Venue directly at smaller crossovers like the Nissan Kicks and the Mazda CX-3. It’s ideal for urban streaking, parking and plain, old getting around. Hyundai is billing it as playful, as well as empowering the urban entrepreneur lifestyle (whatever that is) of many consumers.

The Wrapper

If the Venue was narcissistic, it would insist on being photographed from the rear. “Take my good side, please,” it would insist. The front is somewhat wacky. It’s not scare-buzzards-off-a-meat-wagon ugly, but it seems somehow odd. Similar to the Kona (also a tad weird looking from the front), snake-eye daytime running lights squint over larger cube-shaped headlights. The grille occupies most of the Venue’s face. The rest of this tiny crossover is more traditional. All things considered, the Venue manages to look more substantial than it is. And, that’s a good thing.

In all but its stature, its measurements closely mimic those of the Accent. It’s notably smaller than the Kona in every dimension except height, where the Venue towers over the Kona by a whopping half an inch. Standard wheels are 15 inches with 17-in wheels optional. The exterior color palette offers a few edgy choices like Intense Blue, Green Apple and Denim. Denim can be paired with a jeans like interior.

The Guts

No one will ever accuse any of these diminutive crossovers of being speed mavens. It’s not what they are about. They are about moving folks around busy city streets during the week and maybe heading to the shore on the weekend. None of that requires much in the way of get-up-and-go. Motivating the Venue is a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. It also generates 113 lb-ft of torque. There’s no all-wheel drive available, as it’s front-wheel drive only. On the other hand, you can move the engine output to the wheels via either a 6-speed manual (yes, a manual) transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT includes a Snow mode.

There aren’t any government-verified mileage figures yet, but Hyundai’s in-house calculations put the combined city/highway number at 33 miles per gallon.

Interior Space

Although the 2020 Hyundai Venue is smaller than the Kona, it provides almost the same cargo capacity with the second-row seat up. By the numbers the total interior volume is 110.6 cu ft. With the backseat up there is 18.7 cu ft of cargo-carrying room. Folding down that rear seat balloons the cargo area to 31.9 cu ft. This is substantially less than the Kona’s 46 or so cu ft.

Gee Wizardry

Standard and available technologies include a navigation system, Bluetooth connectivity and hands-free operation, a fast-charging USB port, a rearview camera, forward collision avoidance assist, lane-keeping assist, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and driver attention warning. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both grades: SE and SEL.

When and How Much?

We think Hyundai is going after Nissan Kicks. If we are correct, expect Venue pricing to begin around $20,000 when it goes on sale fall of this year. Find a Hyundai for sale

Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps
Russ Heaps is an author specializing in automotive, financial and travel news. For nearly 35 years he has covered the automotive industry for newspapers, magazines and internet websites. His resume includes The Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald, The Washington Times and numerous other daily newspapers through syndication. He edited Auto World magazine, and helped create and edit NOPI Street... Read More about Russ Heaps

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