SEATTLE — To say that Hyundai is an automotive force to be reckoned with by its competitors would be to completely understand things. In a relatively short amount of time, it has positioned itself to be one of the premier auto brands for value, and for good reason. While we’ve always enjoyed checking out their vehicles, they didn’t have anything on the lower price points that many buyers are looking at. They do now. Enter in the Venue.
What lies beneath:
Built on the same chassis as its cousin, the KIA Soul, the Venue starts off at just over $17,000 for the SE version and offers a lot of value. No, it’s not a speed demon, in fact, you could easily make the case that it really does need more power. However, when you contrast it to the competition, it’s meager 121 horsepower and 113 lb-ft of torque are in-line with its price point.
There are two available transmissions for the Venue. A six-speed manual (our fav), or a six-speed CVT (continuously variable transmission). It literally pains me to report that a Hyundai product has a CVT as it’s been the pain of many auto journalists to see how CVT has infiltrated so many of the Japanese autos these days. The reason we hate CVT? Simple. It’s like driving an outboard motorboat where you just have a throttle handle and essentially no gears. It’s a numb driving experience that gives virtually no driver feedback at all from the powertrain.
Power delivery goes to the front wheels and there is an available snow mode as well. This goes to help assist with power delivery on slippery roads to help ensure the best possible traction. Fuel economy is good as the EPA rates this car for a combined average of 33 miles per gallon or up to 34 on the highway and 30 around town.
15-inch alloy wheels are standard as well as rear disc brakes. You go up to a 17-inch wheel with the Denim trim-level or Premium package on the SE.
On the inside:
Getting inside the Venue, you’ll find standard cloth seats that have a nice microfiber finish that looks great and remains relatively cool, even on hot days. It’s a sporty interior that is both contemporary and slightly upscale. Its sporty feel is in lock-step with the overall sporty look of the Venue.
There are no fancy seats here, only manually adjustable front seats and a rear bench-style that will seat up to three and yet still has ample legroom back there. Front heated seats are included with the
Its infotainment system provides a mediocre audio performance compared to the higher-end offerings found in other Hyundai vehicles but does have native support for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It has a standard 8-inch touchscreen display that is easy to use and has very little lag while flipping between screens.
A good deal of standard safety systems are included with the Venue, including Lake Keeping Assist, forward collision avoidance, driver attention warning, airbags for both the front and rear occupants, adjustable front seat belt anchors, seatbelt load limiters, electronic stability control, braking assist, tire pressure monitoring, crumple zones and body side reinforcements.
On the road, the Venue feels predictably pedestrian. There’s nothing special about it but that’s okay. It’s a compact car that allows you to sit up high, have a good deal of storage capacity, and looks different enough from the KIA Soul to make it cater to a different buyer.
Wrap this up with the best powertrain warranty in the industry at 10 years / 100,000 miles and you have the makings for a very serious budget condenser.
Hyundai has done a fabulous job knocking this one out of the park for the money. Could things be better? Sure. But at what adds to its price? As stands, it represents a great value in a world of expensive new cars.